Fall fishing patterns are very close, yet summer is still holding on. The days are getting shorter, and the water temps have been hovering in the low 80s. Though mid days are still hot, there is plenty of fishing action to be had. Snook are firing off in the morning on any tide, incoming or outgoing. Scaled sardines are very plentiful so filling the baitwell has been easy, especially with bait schools along the beaches in north Pinellas. I anchor uptide of an area holding snook and chum with a good amount of stunned baits. The snook will begin to pop the surface as they chase and inhale the baits in the tidal flow, giving away their location and willingness to eat. On a recent trip using this method, we were pleasantly surprised by a school of redfish mixed in with the snook right along the sandy shore. A few rocks and a patch of grass was all they needed to congregate in the trough near the sunbathing tourists. Trout are plentiful over the grass flats nearest the passes. Trout are also still along the beaches around the rock jetties, devouring the small hatchling sardines and glass minnows clouding the waters near the structure. Spanish mackerel, bonito and mangrove snappers have been a focus for nearshore anglers. Kingfish are just around the corner. Heading into the fall season is always exciting as the flats and the fish begin to come to life with the slight cooling of the waters.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and captbrian.com.