Rivers to Bay Report By: Capt. John Rivers

August 2022 is in the books and I for one am glad, as it was a hot month indeed. With water temperatures over 86 degrees, Fall can’t get here soon enough. So, what does September fishing have to offer in Tampa Bay? First, let’s talk about mangrove snapper. These tasty guys are thick in the Bay and, if you find the right rock pile or deep bridge piling, you’ll find yourself with a nice mess of snapper for some ceviche or fish tacos. I like fishing a slower tide when fishing for mangroves. Once the tide picks up, I’ll head off to find redfish or snook to mix things up.

Since I mentioned redfish, let’s talk about these golden beauties for a second. It’s still Summer and the reds will be tucked up underneath the mangroves, so make sure you present your baits either right next to the tree line or underneath. Be ready to get a workout, because these bruisers like to pull back.

When it comes to snook in September, they’re going to be just like they were in August, a bit lethargic. The water temperature is hot, so they’re not as active as they are in Spring. I suggest using cut bait. They will hit live bait but, if you want to have a productive day, get a box of frozen thread-fin or catch some fresh thread-fin and cut them up into chunks. Let them soak on the bottom and, trust me, the snook ought to show up as will some redfish.

Last, Spanish mackerel will still be around on the flats and along the channel markers. I recall last year they were running big, and I’m expecting no different this year.  I like using a 1/0 long shanked hook with a small piece of wire or 50-pound mono leader when targeting mackerel.

As you can see, I did not mention speckled trout at all in this report, as I really don’t target them much in September.  I start targeting them more in mid-October into November. Yes, you can catch them in September, but there are other things to target which are more productive and more fun.  So, if you’ve not gone out in a while, dust off the fishing rod, grab yourself some water or a Gatorade and go have a fun day on the water.

Tight lines, John

Capt. John Rivers operates Rivers to Bay Fishing Charters out of Tampa Bay and Tarpon Springs. With 18 years guiding experience and over 40 years of fishing knowledge, he can assure you a professional / fun fishing adventure. Single or multi boat trips available. www.tampabayinshoreguides.com