While air temperatures are still in the upper 80s and low 90s during the day, the lower nightly temperatures in the 70s means Tampa Bay fall fishing is right around the corner. With snook still present along area beaches and passes, you would think we're more in a summer pattern, but their biological clock is telling them to start moving to the fall spots such as the back side of Weedon Island or all the residential docks in the area. The best times to fish for them are still the early morning and evening until the water temperature gets down in the low 80s. Fishing for redfish is starting to get better on the flats. I look for mullet schools in 1 to 3 feet of water on the flats; use your trolling motor to get in position and set up. If you just chase them, like what has happened over at Weedon Island, nobody will catch them. The best baits are live baits such as sardines or pinfish. Fall always means big schools of mackerel in the bay and off the beaches for some drag-screaming fun. It's some of the best fishing fun. I use a 2X long shanked hook in a 3/0 and a short piece of 60- or 80-pound fluorocarbon leader, then hold on.
Jim Lemke charters out of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater and can be reached at (813) 917-4989 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.