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CAPTAIN'S CORNER

Fall always is a good time for fishing the flats for redfish, trout and the occasional hungry snook. While everyone is offshore looking forking fish, Spanish mackerel and grouper, the time is ideal to take advantage of inshore fishing.

Most anglers are chasing silver and the weather is discouraging, so pressure on inshore fish is not quite as intense. Target areas such as oyster bars near mangrove shorelines and docks. These spots should be attracting small groups of redfish. Use the extreme low tides of fall and winter to help find deeper pockets and tidal channels where redfish and trout might hang out during low tides. Low tides make fish move off the grass flats and congregate in deeper water, which makes it easier for anglers to present various live and artificial baits. As the water cools, artificial lures become the bait of choice. Because the larger bait schools are moving offshore, inshore fish are changing their diets to small crabs, shrimp and whatever swims by.

When the tide begins to rise, the fish will move slowly up on the grassflats and stop and feed around sandy and rocky patches. Move in with the tide and work the patchy spots using soft plastic baits that hit the water's surface with little commotion. Weedless rigged worms, soft shrimp and minnow imitations work well when cast and pulled over the spots. Change your bait as the tide increases, blind casting with small topwater plugs, curly tailed jigs and gold spoons. These tactics work well for redfish and gator trout from Tampa Bay to Hudson.

_ David Gause charters out of Ozona. Call (813) 784-2069.

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