Movement and Depth

by Capt. Rachel Cato

Action fires up this month on the grass flats with snapper, trout, and bluefish.  The preferred bait size tends to be smaller, so it’s not always worth searching for bigger baits. Best net is the 1/4 inch to prevent gilling the small bait. When the bite is hot, it’s hard to keep a bait in the water.  Focus on finding current and deeper water for the most action. Definitely have some longer shank hooks to prevent bluefish or mackerel from cutting your leader. I’ll continue to use my homemade 2-4 inch wire leader with a haywire twist to the hook and a haywire twist loop to connect to the leader. This short piece of wire is still really light and fine enough to not spook the fish and make them hook shy.  If you don’t have wire, try using a 30# fluorocarbon leader, as it can withstand some break-offs. My favorite spots are on the grass flats where you can cast and drift parallel to an edge with little effort. Sometimes wind or other conditions don’t set up perfectly, therefore, as long as your bait has time to drift along, but not drag down current, it should work. Look for grass in 4-6 feet of water with white bottom. Begin your efforts up tide and work sections, to find the best zones. One of my techniques is to use small handfuls of live bait chummed and it will show where fish want to feed. I try to avoid using floats just due to high numbers of cutoffs, but they are a great bite indicator to prevent trout from swallowing hooks. If the heat is too much, try to stay in areas with a breeze or fish early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the overhead heat of the day.

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