With Fall here, we may get some cooler weather. Finally, the water should cool down and the fish should get a little more excited about being fish. As we continue into the Fall, the bite should keep getting stronger. You can expect good catches using live bait and artificial lures all over the Tampa Bay area.
If you’re interested in some exciting early morning action, tie on a MirrOLure16MR MirrOmullet surface walker or Top Dog Jr. and walk the dog across a calm morning grass flat. The anticipation of the next explosive snook strike or the water-pushing swirl of a stalking redfish will electrify even the most seasoned angler. A topwater strike on your favorite lure is so exhilarating it’ll almost stop your heart.
Fishing artificial lures is close to my heart. There is something magical about tricking a fish into striking something that looks like natural food or is completely alien looking.
Over the years, I’ve used everything imaginable to catch fish–live baits, artificial lures and even plastic straws. I’ve even used a strip of old white tee shirt to catch spotted sea trout. I’ve come to the conclusion that, if it has action or looks wounded, something’s going to try to eat it. Try your hand at something man-made on your next fishing trip, and you’ll be surprised at how many fish you’ll catch and how much fun you’ll have doing it.
There are plenty of redfish and snook hanging around the grass flats and mangrove shorelines. You can also expect schooling reds to keep moving around the Bay. It’s also the time of year when some of the biggest reds show up. You never know if you’re going to a catch one in the slot or one of the giants over 30 inches.
You can also expect some good-sized mangrove snapper at the bridges, rock piles and artificial reefs with some topping out around three pounds. Cobia should pop up as usual around markers and buoys. Mackerel, bluefish, jacks and ladyfish will be feeding on bait schools everywhere.