Fall not far off Tampa Bay Inshore Fishing
Let's talk about what is in the forecast for the next 4 weeks and then I'll report what has been happening the past two weeks.
Starting in October the water temps will start to drop, and it will be like someone flipped a switch and the fishing will fire off. That means the snook, trout and redfish bite will only get better. But I am happy to say that the redfish bite has been pretty good over the past two weeks, but I'll get into that later on in the report. Over the next few weeks, the kings will start to show up along the beaches and in the bays. Mangrove snappers will be stacked up on the bridges chomping on your offerings. You'll also find them throughout the mangroves, hence the name. My bait of choice for Mangroves is live shrimp, but if you want to save some money, go toss your bait net out and get a live-well full of white bait, and use small chunks or even a small greenie and hold on. Snook are also going to be stacked up along the mangroves and on the flats mixed in with the reds and trout.
Speaking of trout, I also love tossing artificials for trout as they are more eager to eat an artificial than most fish. Of course, you can catch Snook and Reds on artificials, but trout just seem to be more easily fooled than the other two species. Work depths of 3 to 6 ft with suspending twitch baits. I like MirrOlure's 17 MR in a variety of colors, and 20 to 30 lb leader, just in case you hook up a healthy snook or good sized redfish. I also like Bass Assassin's Jerk Shad in Bad to the Bone, or Golden Bream color rigged on a 5/0 – 6/0 weighted worm hook. These have done consistently well for me in the past.
Like I mentioned earlier, the redfish bite will only get better as fall arrives, but it's been very good the past few weeks. Live greenies have been producing some nice catches, and I prefer to use a 3/0 circle hook as it doesn't hurt the fish and typically you get a perfect hook up. But if artificials are your thing, try a 1/4oz jig matched up with a Matrix 4" Paddle Tail. I've found that the reds can't resist this bait. Work it past the fish and he'll pounce on it.
Next let's talk snook, because fall weather and snook go together better than fall and pumpkin lattes. The snook start to feed more as the water cools, and although white bait free-lined out works great, if you like a challenge, toss artificials, and make it more of an achievement. I like top-water plugs for snook along with MirrOlure's Catch 2000; this bait has produced some very nice fish for me over the past few days.
Now let's talk about what's been happening in Tampa Bay the past 10 days. We've definitely had our fair share of rain, more perhaps than we'd like. The water is muddied up, so to catch fish, try to find cleaner water.
White bait in depths of 3-7 ft have produced some nice redfish catches along with some snook. The trout bite has really started to fire off just in the past week. Like I stated earlier I like artificials for trout, but keep some white bait in your live well, so you have some backup.
Thanks for stopping by, hope this report helped you some.
If you're looking for a professional inshore guided charter fishing trip, give me a ring and we'll get you set up on a fun inshore Tampa Bay Fishing Trip.
Capt. John Rivers
Snook caugth in Tampa Bay Flats
Jacks like topwater plugs
About The Author: Captain John Rivers
Company: Reel\'Em In Inshore Charters
Area Reporting: Tampa Bay, Clearwater, St Peterburg
Bio: I have a lifetime of fishing knowledge and over 8yrs of experience fishing the northern gulf coast and our local water ways. I have enjoyed fishing all my life. While living in the Midwest, I fished Kentucky & Barkley Lake for years along with the Ohio River and many local water ways. My first passion was bass fishing, but when I came to Florida, I found my new love Salt Water Fishing !