What's hot: Inshore fishing has been great this October and a cool front this week should only help. Targeting flats' edges and drop-offs among many spoil islands in the Dunedin/Clearwater area has produced nearly non-stop action for a variety of fish. Live chumming with pilchards (cast netted before dawn along the bridge shadow lines) lets us see fish busting on the surface. Spanish mackerel, trout, ladyfish, bluefish and redfish have all been taken from the same spots once the fish were worked into a frenzy.
The setup: Like most inshore situations, finding clean water is a must, even if that means moving only a couple of boat lengths to find a piece of water more protected from the wind. Low incoming tide is best; this allows you to accurately see where the depth goes from ankle deep to two or three feet, creating a drop-off. Determine which way the tide is running and place your casts as well as your chummers uptide of your potential target zone, allowing for a natural drag-free presentation.
What else: Near-shore beach fishing was as good as it gets last weekend; light east winds had the waters calm, clean and full of fish. Spanish mackerel and kingfish were working huge bait schools just outside the passes and along the beach. Diving birds as well as large patches of muddy water in the beautiful, clean Gulf indicated bait and predators below. Slow troll with big baits such as shad, ladyfish and/or mullet to get hooked up with a big king.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.