Slightly drier air and shorter days have provoked many different species to eat in the north Pinellas region. Although redfish are still the main attraction on the flats, eating cut baits thrown into mullet schools and along the mangroves at higher tides, nearshore species are also starting to turn on. Just a couple of miles offshore from Clearwater and Dunedin are several manmade artificial reefs that are holding good numbers of mangrove snapper as well as all the Spanish mackerel you can catch. Snapper are sometimes very cautious and need to be chummed for several minutes before they decide to eat a bait with a hook in it. I like to bury a smaller #1 or #2 hook in a cut piece of bait and drift it back into the swarming mangrove snapper. If the mackerel begin to cut off your baits, change to some longshank hooks or light wire and have fun hooking mackerel for some quick action.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and captbrian.com.