Well it is fall again and we’ve been waiting and waiting for the water temp to get below the boiling point… Guess all that wind cooled it down like a spoon full of hot soup! Now if only the wind would let up. Just this past week Kelly and I have had quite a few reds and really nice trout bending our rods in the back country. But in order to find any of the fishing that’s going to be worthwhile, you have got to put in some time and do some scouting. Most times you can tell when there are fish in the area by how long it takes for that first fish to be caught. If your shrimp and popper cork hit the water and before you can get the bail flipped back over your line is blistering off the spool… you’re in the right spot. Keep in mind there are wafts of red tide in our area so keep an eye out for that. Make sure to keep an eye on your bait as well. It will only take a minute and all of those little silver fish catching gems will be flat on the bottom doing their best impression of a mirror.

All that hard work and time spent catching bait for nothing. The best thing for the inshore bite right now is catch more bait than what you think you’d need so you can chum a little or toss out a hand full if you want to see if there are any fish around. If  you’ve found a schools of reds, position yourself up current and place some cut bait on 7″ – 8″ circle hooks. Stick that rod in the rod holder and crack a cool beverage and chat with your fishing buddy until that rod bends over and the drag screams like a banshee. The most common mistake when fishing circle hooks is “setting the hook.” I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve told people that they are over fishing a circle hook. I promise you you’ll pull that hook almost every time.  For the reds, look for them along bars and up on the grass flats. If you’re quiet and have a little patience, they will show you where they are while they’re feeding. There’s a distinct difference between a mullet tail and a red’s tail. Mullet are constantly moving and for the most part will not have their whole tail out of the water… only a tip or a bit more. Reds barely move their tail and will range from just the tip to the entire tail out as they root around in the grass for food. This is the fun part… because you can stake the boat and sneak up on them… pitch that bait… and boom! Fish on!

Keep your eyes open for some really good snook fishing.  Linesiders are making their move inside after that last cold front and will start fattening up preparing for the winter slow down.  Find moving water and you will find snook.  Look in areas like creek mouths, troughs, docks, and other structure. More than likely you’ll find live bait works best, but still keep a few topwater baits handy.

Other than live bait, fish soft plastic on a lead jig head around the edge of the grass flats and pot holes. I like to throw Mirrolure’s scented 3-3/4″ Lil John soft plastic twitch bait rigged with 1/8th oz jig head and with the wind howling you’ll still be able to make very respectable casts.  Water clarity is going to dictate which color you want to use and these are a few of my recommendations for our area…new penny, root beer and lastly  gold and glitter.

Out on the beaches and out several miles be on the lookout for bonita, black fin tuna, spanish and king mackerel. Mackerel are making their fall run and are in big numbers and offer a great opportunity to bend a rod. Scoop up a few nets of big threadfin herring and see why we call them “smoker kings”. Just look for the birds and keep your head on a swivel while running from one spot to another and I’m sure you’ll spot them with ease.

If you’re ready to get out and see how Kelly and I do it, give us a jingle at 941-698-0323. You may also find us on Facebook, Instagram or our web page www.FloridaInshoreXtream.com. Well folks, you know the deal…gotta get on out and get my FIX on! So … tight lines and y’all stay safe!!

Capt. Jesse McDowall
Florida Inshore Xtream Charter services