Tampa Bay Fishing Report By: Capt. Woody Gore

As early fall temperatures approach, it’s a great time to fish. Cooler temperatures make fishing more tolerable. If you want to catch a snook, redfish, trout, mackerel or perhaps a mess of snapper, now is the time.

Redfish are showing up around the grass flats and mangrove shorelines. This is the time of year when some of the big reds show up. As they look for food from area to area, you can often find them by simply watching the water. As they move, the school humps the shallow water. It can be very subtle or very aggressive depending on their speed.

One of the biggest mistakes made by anglers is chasing a school of spooked redfish. Instead of chasing, just wait, let them calm down, and return to feeding. If you immediately jump on the trolling motor and start chasing, that’s all you’re going to be doing for the next hour or so is chasing a school of redfish.

We’ve been catching sea trout on deeper hard bottom grass flats. Frequently, when you catch one, there are others in the same area. We’re having success using greenbacks and small pinfish. Live shrimp always catch trout. I nose hook pinfish and greenbacks. I hook shrimp in the carapace just under the horn. Depending on the water depth, a popping cork will sometimes draw attention to the bait.

Most snook being caught average in the 22 to the 25-inch range. But if you work at it, you could boat one in the slot–especially as fall approaches. We have caught one or two in the 29 to the 35-inch range using live greenbacks. Always released them for next time.


We have been catching good sized grey snapper at the bridges, rock piles and on the grass flats. Some topping out around three pounds. Remember, they are a reef fish and, according to the rules, you’re supposed to use circle hooks.


Cobia are showing up on the flats and reefs. It usually only takes a chum bag over the side to spark their curiosity. If you hook up, be ready with another rod and bait as others often follow the action. Mackerel, bluefish, sharks, jacks and ladyfish are feeding on bait schools everywhere.