Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Chances for inshore slam on the rise

Redfish are schooling as part of their fall migration and spawning patterns.

In our southern range, the flats behind the barrier islands are classic spots for reds. The fish are easily spotted pushing water on the edges of the flats at low tide. These fish are often "nervous" in the ultraskinny water, so what appears to be hundreds of fish in a school may only yield a couple of fish even with a stealth approach. The fish tend to be less wary with higher water. My favorite approach has always been to ambush the fish as they travel across points on the change of the tide.

On the shallow flats to the north, my pattern is the opposite. Here the water is very shallow and very clear. I prefer to fish the last third of the flood tide, favoring creek mouths and points. The bottom consistency is made up of hard sand, limestone flat rock, and oyster bars.

Snook are scattered as they return from their spawning ritual in the gulf. For now, we have caught a few on the first oyster bars outside of creek mouths and in the potholes adjacent to oyster bars and deeper water sloughs. As we move through October the fish will stage together in areas just outside their winter haunts. The fish will feed well in attempt to restore body fat lost during the rigorous activity of spawning.

Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jacks, small sharks, cobia, ladyfish, and "subkeeper" grouper are all over the deeper grass flats and shallow rock piles. Any of these species are a possibility when pulling alongside the bait schools just offshore. Check deep water "salt n' pepper" grass flats, springs, troughs or low relief rock piles. I start with floating a frozen chum block, then "sweeten" the drip by chumming with live bait.

The most reliable action with tarpon has been in the rivers and residential canals. These fish are juveniles, which run from 8 to 40 pounds. In the river, we occasionally hook fish of more than 80 pounds.

There is no better time for a shot at a flats fishing "grand slam." Snook, redfish, and trout are readily caught — often on the same spots. A little extra effort may produce the fourth "grand slam" prong, the tarpon. On days when it is "not happening," you are waiting on the tide, or you just want to have some nonstop fun, the nearshore migratory bait run is just a 10-minute run away.

Chances for inshore slam on the rise 09/18/08 [Last modified: Thursday, September 18, 2008 8:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule


    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]
  2. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans


    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  3. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?


    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  4. Rays at Twins, 2:10 p.m. Saturday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Today: at Twins

    2:10, Target Field, Minneapolis

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  5. State baseball: Unbeaten Calvary Christian makes it 29 straight wins, reaches final


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian is one game from season-long perfection. And its first state championship.

     Calvary Christian players celebrate their win after the FHSAA class 4A semi-final against American Heritage on Friday May 26, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary defeated American Heritage 7 to 1. Calvary takes on Pensacola Catholic in the championship tomorrow night, at Hammond Stadium.