Winter's coming. Fishing the East Bay area has been interesting. Bait seem to be thinning out on the flats and the fish are moving into their wintertime haunts.
Snook. Snook are feeding well at the end of the incoming or the beginning of the outgoing tide. Sardines are the bait of choice, but a well-placed artificial that mimics the size and action of a sardine will score nice catches. Look near the creek mouths and the entrances of the backwater areas since snook have transitioned into these areas. They allow for a quick escape into the creek or back bays following a northerly blow. As soon as the water begins to warm, look on the out side again.
Redfish. Redfish are doing their thing. On the low tide, look on the outer bars with the mullet. During the higher tide stages, some of the fish seem to move all the way to the mangroves while others transition into potholes between the mangroves and the outer bars. Again, mullet is the key. Top live baits include shrimp and pinfish, with white bait in that order. If you like tossing artificial baits for reds, walk the dog topwaters, shad tails and most scented baits work well.
Mackerel. Mackerel seem to have all but left the bay. There are a few stragglers, but not many (could be because I have not targeted them this week). Trout are running in the 14- to 17-inch range on the flats. The bigger fish are singles (not schools) and some are mixed in the redfish and will be caught while fishing for reds.
Capt. Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 774-0889 or [email protected]