It is finally starting to feel like fall outside. Hopefully this slight cooldown will activate the fishing in Tampa Bay, as well as stimulate humans to enjoy outdoor activities.
What's Hot: Spanish mackerel are still buzzing drag systems almost everywhere with good water movement. It has been a banner year for the toothy speedsters. The good news is that they should stick around for a while.
Good eats: Redfish are plentiful on the flats. Look for large schools of mullet and start there. There are many theories as to why both species mingle together, but the truth is that when there are large aggregations of mullet, redfish are sure to be in the same area. Gag grouper are in season now and a few are being caught well up into the bay. Port Manatee and the skyway channels are a good place to do battle with one of the most expensive fish in our waters. Deep diving baits can be trolled along the edges or live bait dropped onto deep structure. Every now and then, the grouper wins the battle and are notorious for breaking anglers' lines and hearts.
Tip: When fishing on busy weekends, bring an extra dose of patience to the boat ramp. Everyone is stoked to go fishing and they are usually in a hurry. Try to prepare for launch in the parking lot instead of in one of the stalls. Several people can launch in the time it takes to "get your stuff together." This simple step can streamline the whole procedure and help keep tempers from flying first thing in the morning. Being nice and helpful to other anglers out there is not only good karma, but that same individual you helped might be the same fella to give you a tow in when things turn sour on the water.
Captain Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at (813) 310-6531 or at fishontampabay.com/captains.aspx.