What's hot: In a fall bonanza along our coastline, anglers are catching kingfish, mackerel, grouper, trout, redfish and snook on the same day. This is largely due to the excessive bait along beaches in north Pinellas. Mackerel feed on bait schools and migrate south as cooler waters arrive. As the water temperature dips into the 70s, grouper use the hard bottom near passes to forage on pinfish. The inshore bite also has been stimulated by the drop in temperature, making gamefish more aggressive on incoming tides.
Technique: Larger speckled trout are moving into the shallows and holding in the same sandy troughs as redfish. Belly-hooked sardines with a splitshot keep the offering in the strike zone longer. Another key component inshore has been mullet working the shallows as the tide floods. Throwing gold or white spoons works well. Anglers can work all levels of the water column and often get a reaction strike from predators holding in the mass of jumping mullet.
Backcountry: Working bayous, river mouths and creeks are a staple of fall fishing as well as the destination of snook that move off the beaches. All three species of an inshore slam can be caught off oyster bars and docks found in "sweetwater" tributaries.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.