What's hot: Fall brings a variety of seasonal travelers, but giant bull redfish, some measuring more than 40 inches and 20 pounds, are schooling up. They are a far cry from the 3- to 8-pound specimens we typically see in the shallows.
Tactics: Jetties, pass bridges, mitigation reefs and areas of hard bottom will attract bull reds. Aside from heavy current bridge fishing, you can often target these fish with the same tackle you would use on the flats. For jetty fishing, anchor outside the pass. Using a live pinfish, chunk of ladyfish, mullet or a piece of blue crab for bait, put out a spread of rods near the point of the jetty. Depending on current, use anywhere from a half-ounce to a 11/2-ounce egg sinker to hold the bottom. When anchored up fishing shallow reefs and hard-bottom areas for mackerel and kingfish keep a cut bait or a live threadfin or pinfish on the bottom, as it will likely attract the attention of these aggressive feeders brought in by all the chum and cut bait behind the boat.
What else? On those windy low-tide days, target grass flat edges right where the sandy bottom meets the patchy grass for trout, bluefish, jacks, mackerel and ladyfish. Larger trout are a much better prospect now than they were a couple of weeks ago. The go-to bait for all species would be a small pilchard fished a couple of feet below a clacker-style float.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.