It's that time of the year when we can gear up for back-country and canal fishing.
The water continues to get cooler, and the cold fronts continue to bring stronger-than-normal winds. This will move the inshore species into the deeper-water havens.
There has been a steady trout bite out on the grass flats in Tampa Bay, so expect them to stay there until we see a real drop in temperature. The choice of bait is still greenbacks and small pinfish.
I am using 10- to 15-pound braid with a 10-pound fluorocarbon leader and a No. 1 circle hook. Use different tactics when fishing for trout. Try putting some lines out with a popping cork and some without. Once you figure out which is working better, you can switch up.
You really want to downsize your tackle this time of year because the algae dies off and the water gets clearer. Deploying a wind sock will slow your drift, or you could go old school and drop out a 5-gallon bucket tied to your boat.
In Tampa Bay, the snook already seem to have made the transition into their winter holes. I am seeing and catching a lot of slot fish in back estuaries, canals, and rivers. Light tackle is producing the most hookups on these fish as well. You may lose a few here and there, but your chances of a hook up are much greater.
Redfish are still traveling around with the big mullet schools. You will have the best luck on the lower tides fishing the outside of a flat. Use cut ladyfish or pinfish to get the scent in the water. Just make sure you are where the mullet are, and you should hook up.
A nice bonus this time of year is that you will most likely catch flounder while fishing for trout and redfish. We are getting them on every trip.
Mike Gore can be reached at Mike Gore Charters, (813) 235-9579 or fishing@ captainmikegore.com.