Seasons change. Fall is in the air, and the cool, crisp morning air has made gathering bait less than comfortable. Combine the cool air with the relentless northeast wind, and change is definitely in the air. Bait schools on the flats are attracting the predatory fish like cobia, mackerel and trout. Recently I took my clients to the gathering of the bait: one toss of the net and they were deploying sardines at the happy mackerel. Happy Macks are busting and scattering baits from sun up until about 9 a.m. A long shank hook and a minimum of 40 leader is a must.
Trout also out. While mackerel fishing, we have been getting into some nice sized trout — from 16- to 19-inch fish. Like the mackerel, they gorge on the smallish baits in the schools. Cobia are not a sure bet, but we have caught and lost some over the last couple of weeks. The cobia prove fun on the medium action tackle.
Reds and mullet. Redfish are mixed with the mullet. Look for the jumpers and fish there; the more jumping mullet the better the reds seem to feed. Cut baits like mullet and lady fish have been the hot baits. Live chumming has been somewhat effective, but right now the dead stuff is working better.
Snook are back. The docks are a top choice as well as deepwater canals for snook. Heavy tackle is needed to pull the big dogs away from the structure. Live sardines, free lined and cast into the shade of the dock, have produced many snook over 30 inches and a handful over 40 inches. You have to be quick on the draw and reel hard and react fast. Bring your A game to the docks if you're looking for a shot at a trophy.
Events. The Trey Curry Foundation holds its annual TreyFest fishing tournament with the captain's party on Nov. 1 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at O'Brien's Irish Pub and the tournament on Nov. 2 beginning at 9 a.m. at the Circles Marina, 1212 Apollo Beach Blvd. For info, contact Mary Beth at (813) 655-0269 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Durant High Key Club sponsors Fishing For A Cause, a Nov. 3 catch and release tournament at Medard Park to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House at All Children's Hospital. Sign-in will be 7:30 a.m. For information, contact Durant High at (813) 757-9075.