Windy and chilly conditions are proof that fall is here. Those of us who have avoided the mall probably got some good time on the water. Though a bit breezy lately, fishing has been good.
What's hot: Catch and release trout are abundant in upper Tampa Bay. Rod-bending fun can be obtained in potholes adjacent to grass flats and the areas of fresh water intrusion. Redfish and flounder are also active in the same spots.
Tip: Fish slowly and patiently for best results. When water temperatures start to decline, so does the activity of fish. When you find fish this time of the year, they tend to be bunched up.
Responsibility: Trout are delicate. If their slime layer is breached, it is almost a death sentence for the fish. The "slime" protects the trout from disease. Use a hook remover or bend down the barbs on lures to facilitate easy release. Never use a fish rag to hold the fish. If you must handle the fish, use a wet hand.
Practicality: This time of year it is important to check the weather before any outing on the water. Conditions can change rapidly, and the water is cold enough to kill in just a few hours. If the weatherman says stay home, it is usually good advice.
Captain Dave Walker charters out of Tampa Bay and can be reached at (813) 310-6531 or snookfish.com.