What's hot: The swift shift to fall has resulted in incredible action for a wide variety of species. Inshore baitfish schools are incredible and the predators are very active. Trout and redfish are solid targets in the shallows but other options are Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, pompano, drum, flounder, jacks and ladyfish.
Tackle and techniques: King mackerel require bigger rods and reels than the other species, and a wire leader to prevent cutoffs. High line capacity of the larger reels for their blistering long runs is crucial. For all other species, medium spinning tackle is adequate with 20-pound fluorocarbon leader for most species (exception: 30- or 40-pound for Spanish mackerel). The same lures will catch a majority of these species. Flashy, bright lures are best for Spanish mackerel, pompano, ladyfish and jacks.
Spanish and king mackerel are most likely to be found around the mouth of Tampa Bay and any other hard bottom areas around the region. Pompano and black drum are under area bridges. Flounder are on nearly every sandy patch of bottom in the bay. Ladyfish and jacks are anywhere there are baitfish schools. Trout and redfish are roaming the shallows, reds in less than 2 feet, trout in about 4 feet.
Neil Taylor charters kayak fishing trips in the Tampa Bay area and can be reached at strikethreekayakfishing.com and (727) 692-6345.