John Rivers

Start of Fall Fishing Report covering Tampa Bay, Clearwater & St. Petersburg

Fall has officially started, although it doesn't feel like it as it's still pretty warm and humid out.

Over the next couple of weeks, we're supposed to get some north winds and lower humidity which will make it much more comfortable and make the fishing even better than it has been and it's actually been pretty good. Let's talk redfish for a bit; there are some big schools of redfish in Tampa Bay and the bite has been good, but the fish are getting a lot of pressure pushed by boats. Here's a tip, when you see a very large school of fish, stop, then Power-Pole down, start to chum the area, and let the fish come to you and don't chase them down with your trolling motor. This will relax the fish and you'll catch more and have more fun.

Not only has the redfish bite been pretty good, but so has the snook bite. I've done pretty well with snook on an outgoing tide. A tip is to work points and exits where water flows out to a pinch point that will bring the fish to you. Live pilchards (white bait) are bait the bait of choice. If you like artificials like I do, then have a few different baits tied on. I like top-waters along with some soft plastics. Bass Assassin makes a great bait for Snook, it's a 5" Jerk Shad in a couple of different colors; I prefer Bad to the Bone, Golden Brea, and Chicken on a Chain. Rig one with a 5/0 keel weighted worm hook 1/16 to 1/8, and if it's windy, then step it up to a oz weight.

Spanish Mackerel are all over the bay, at the Skyway and just off the beaches. Spoons, Gotcha Plugs and Tsunami weighted lead jigs are awesome for catching Spanish. I don't use wire, instead I use 50-60 lb leader, and when it gets frayed a little, I just retie.

King Mackerel are along the beaches and off the beaches a few miles out.

Tarpon are still around off the beaches as well and at the Skyway and a few other bridges. Live pilchards and fresh live crabs are great baits. If you can't get live bait, they will still eat chunk baits like cut mullet and cut ladyfish.

Over the next two weeks the water temperature in Tampa Bay is going to be perfect and the fishing is going to fire off. This is a great time to get out on the water.

Hope this report helped some.

See my Facebook page for more pics and reports and my website.

Tight Lines.

Capt. John

Fish Species: Redfish, Snook
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Ben is all smiles after landing this nice redfish
Ben is all smiles after landing this nice redfish

Ben with his first ever snook
Ben with his first ever snook

John Rivers

About The Author: Captain John Rivers

Company: Rivers to Bay Fishing 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 !

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