Inshore with Capt. Rachel

by Capt. Rachel

Temperatures will surely drop this month, both air and water temperature.  There are some days I find it nearly impossible to even try to fish.  I’ve learned over the years to not be too determined to fish when the weather is too uncomfortable.  Only when I’m really certain the tide is right and the conditions aren’t too intolerable will I push to go.  I just keep in mind there are so many better days ahead to fish.  If the water temperature is 65 and dropping you need water in structure or deep holes where fish will move to.  Most species will tend to prefer live shrimp this time of year and if the tides are too low you get limited as to where you can fish.  The reefs in open water are a great option for low tides as long as the wind isn’t too strong.  Sheepshead will be a species targeted this time of year due to higher numbers gathering after fronts move through.  These fish can be tricky to catch and may require some trial and error to figure out what works best for you.  Bait will depend on what’s in the water but shrimp is a reliable bait and easy to find.  Redfish and black drum are more cold tolerant than snook, therefore, fish live or cut shrimp around structures with current either weighted or not.   If you can see the fish then they can see you.  Most saltwater species have good eye sight and as the water clears just be sure to reduce the tackle.  Decrease leader and hook size will improve catching rates.  As with any time if your bait is repeatedly taken over and over with no catches then moving is the best option.  Often smaller pin fish, sheepshead or snapper are stealing your bait, moving just a little distance will change your luck.

Captain Rachel Cato has been a fishing guide out of Palmetto since 2005. She is
on the pro staff with Evinrude through Gulf Coast Marine in Port Charlotte and
specializes in catching many species year-round with live bait for up to 6 anglers. To
book your next fishing adventure call (941) 524-9664, go to, or
find her on Facebook at CaptainRachelCharters