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CAPTAIN'S CORNER

Our first real taste of fall has arrived. The refreshing temperature typically activates lethargic fish and anglers who were avoiding the sweltering conditions. We have one of our last large high tides this week, and the fishing should be solid.

What's hot: Snook are on the prowl and trying to fatten up for winter. Also, Spanish mackerel have become quite active again.

Snook have been clobbering live and artificial baits. They are on the outside of the flats at low tide or in potholes or depressions. As the tide flows in, they move closer to the shoreline. Backwater areas are becoming inundated with snook because those fish do not like cold.

Mackerel can be found from the beaches to north of the Howard Frankland bridge.

Tip: Never ignore birds. If a bunch is swarming over a particular spot, a pretty good bet usually is that mackerel are there. People have been known to chase frigate birds offshore for miles. Those birds do not fish for fun. They are really good at what they do: eat fish.

Bonus tip: This is also the time of year that all fish - baitfish to game fish - start their migratory pattern and tend to change their whereabouts and behavior. This is especially true after dramatic weather changes. Therefore, patience is sometimes needed to find fish consistently in the fall.

Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at (813) 310-6531 or www.snookfish.com, or by e-mail at captdavewalker@verizon.net.

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