This time of year is a transition period for fishing. Some species are moving out to deeper water while others are moving in shallow. Most anglers are waiting for the season to change and fall fishing to begin. The abundance of baitfish this year shows promise for a great fall season. Many tourists and locals alike are searching for just the right bait, rig, and location to fish during these changes.
Working in a bait shop gives one a lot of information as to who is catching what, where, and what they are biting on. Hopefully this information supplied by fellow anglers, will help everyone have a great day of fishing.
Snook season began the first of this month and they are very active. Pier anglers are hitting them early morning and during the evening on live shrimp, pinfish, green backs and finger mullets. Most anglers are free-lining their baits. This is done by simply using a hook for your bait with no weights or bobbers and allowing your bait to swim free on its own. Many snook will hide under docks and attack its prey. Fishing pros have told us that most snook will avoid bait thrown right at them. Keep your bait a short distance away from the dock so the fish can do what’s natural to them. Steel leaders scare snook. If you need to use a leader due to light line, always use monofilliment. Surf anglers have been hitting snook in the shallow water of the beach. We watched a young lady at Indian Rocks Beach hit several by wading out about chest deep in the surf and casting minnows out. The drawback to this method is all the jellyfish that we are experiencing during high tides in the area. Johns Pass has also produced many keeper snook. Remember, size limits on snook are 28” min. and 33” max.
Honeymoon and Caladesi Islands have been hot spots lately for Spanish mackerel, redfish, snook, blacktip shark, and hammerhead shark. The mackerels are being caught on minnows of all kinds or casting spoons. A local tournament redfish angler said that he has been using cut up ladyfish to catch redfish here. Most shark anglers have been telling us that they are using frozen chum bags to attract the sharks and cut up mullets, sardines, and ladyfish as bait.
Local piers have been seeing snook, redfish, Spanish mackerel, spotted sea trout, groupers, mangrove snappers, crevelle jacks and catfish being caught. Sea trout are being caught at night with live shrimp. A light on the pier helps attract them. Anglers wishing to avoid catfish should keep their bait off the bottom by using a bobber. Also, bait such as live pinfish are usually left alone by the catfish. Kids love catching pinfish off of the piers. These can be easily caught using live or frozen shrimp and frozen squid. If your child is getting bites but not catching the fish, try changing to a smaller hook.
When getting ready to head out for a day of fishing, don’t forget your local bait shop. Besides the bait and tackle you need, the information we get from other anglers may help you have a successful day on the water. Good Luck Out There!
Jim can be found daily at the Bait House - Clearwater Municipal Marina
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