Fall offers some of the best fishing of the year. Kingfish are starting to show up off the beaches offshore, Snook are starting to move up on the flats, Red fish continue to school up on the flats and Trout fishing really begins to take off. Whether you’re an offshore fisherman looking to catch Grouper and king fish or you like targeting Snook and Reds on the flats, this is some of the best fishing of the year!
King fish has to be the featured fish to talk about this month, as water temperatures ease into the perfect range for them. Look for big King fish to run up the coast in search of bait. There are numerous ways to target King fish. My favorite is to anchor up and chum them in. Look for the fish to be as just off the beaches cruising around the hard bottom areas. My favorite method to use when King fishing is to anchor up and chum a bunch of Scaled sardines to draw them in. The tackle of choice is very simple, I like to use a Stinger rig with 30 lb wire. Just bring your Tarpon Spinning gear and you will be ready for King fish. Snook fishing will also improve as we head into the later part of fall. Look for fish to stage in the creeks, river mouths and deeper mangrove cuts, as they get ready for winter. Remember Snook are ambush feeders so finding areas with good tidal ow makes a good starting point, as the bait will flush in and out with the tide. Greenbacks are, by far, the best bait to use when targeting Snook in the Tampa Bay area and you can find vast schools of them around the flats and markers. There are several ways to get bait, but the easiest and fastest way to ll your well is to throw a cast net. Having a quality net that will open and have the adequate weight to get down is a must. I have found both of these characteristics in a Humpback net. Look for the BIG Snook to start making the journey into the rivers and residential docks.
Trout have been excellent all year, but fall is when the trophy fish move up on the flats. Throwing artificial baits for Trout is one of my favorite’s ways to sh. Tossing the Zman pearl white paddle Z hooked to a 1/8 once jig head is a deadly combination that will put the big one in the boat. If you are fishing thick grass it is essential to go to a weedless rig like the 5 inch scented jerk shadz rigged weedless with the Trigger hook. If live bait is your gig, then try a greenback suspended under a Cajun Thunder popping cork. Not only are Trout fun to catch, but they are a great table fare. Remember only keep what you are going to eat.
Last but not least, is the red sh. It has been a great year for red fish and while most schools have split up, you can still find plenty of Reds on any given day. Look to target creek mouths, river edges and docks. These areas will all hold good numbers of sh. A live shrimp on a #1 Daiichi wide gap circle hook soaked on the bottom is a great way to fish these areas. If you are looking to target them on the flats, I like to go with a Ca- jun Thunder oat and a live Greenback for bait. Whether you are looking to venture Offshore for Kings and Grouper or getting up on the skinny water flats for Snook, Reds and Trout, with a little planning and luck you will have some great days of fishing.
Captain Jason Prieto, of Tampa is owner of Steady Action Fishing Charters. Catch him on the radio by tuning intoTampa Fishing Outfitters Radio Show on Sunday Mornings from 8 to 9 AM on 1040 Sports Talk the Team.