Fish are jumping. The extended early fall weather is without a doubt keeping the fish active. Redfish and snook are exploding chummers and feeding aggressively. Right now, the water temp is in the mid 70s in the morning, and the water in most areas is very clear.
Tools of the trade. To combat the clear water, I start with a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader. If the fish are popping the chummers but not the hooked bats, I drop to 15-pound leader. That usually will do the trick. I know you're thinking that is awful lean for leader material, but first, you have to get the bite, then battle the fish.
Trout and macks. Big trout have been showing up and are becoming a more regular staple for recent charters. They like a big sardine free lined over deeper grass with sandy spots. Over the last week, we have run into mackerel in some odd places. We recently found a wad of them on the edge of a flat in a deep hole terrorizing bait fish. We sat there for an hour catching them along with ladyfish and trout.
Take note. Keep your eyes open when the bite is good; take time to notice your surroundings: birds, current flow, water depth and clarity. Then on your next stop, try to pick a similar spot, and you should have similar results.
Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 714-0889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.