Fishing Tips for Cooler Weather

Jerry Kornmann with a Readfish
Jerry Kornmann with a Readfish

The recent cooler weather was a curtain-call for summer, and the fish were paying attention. Snook moved on that front and on the full moon on October 8th, pushing them into backcountry areas and out on the flats away from the beaches. Short-term, the fishing slowed after the front passed. Redfish, trout, snook, and flounder all moved in shallow by Sunday following the front, but moved back to deeper water by Wednesday.
Tides for the weekend after the full moon were cranking hard, especially as it fell out in the morning. Spanish mackerel are being caught in lower Tampa Bay on hard bottom areas. Gotcha plugs, CAL Jigs with Shad tails, and Diamond Jigs are catching Spanish to about 22-inches. Trolling Clark silver Spoon Squids on flat lines will get you limits of mackerel around the Skyway Bridge. Sizes #0 and #1 are working best.
Larger speckled trout are moving in on deep grass and on bars near Emerson Point and on the Bulkhead near the mouth of the Manatee River. Tandem rigged CAL Curly tail jig rigs and tandems tied up of MirrOlure Lil’ John jerk baits tied on 1/16-ounce jig heads are catching doubles. The DOA Deadly Combo has also been effective for trout to 4-pounds. Pompano have moved into the area this week and are providing some action. They’ve been caught at the 10-cent bridge at Tierra Verde, at the Skyway, and along sand bars in the lower bay. Doc’s Goofy Jigs in the G2 model in yellow or pink both are working well. Weight of the jigs is determined by how hard the tide is running. As the tide slows, a lighter jig will be used. Whatever weight it takes to quickly get the jig to the bottom is the weight we use, varying from 1/8- ounce to ½-ounce.
Flounder are increasing in size and numbers lately. CAL Jigs with Shad tails in glow/gold color are producing flatties to 18-inches near passes and along the edges of channels and oyster bar swashes.
Redfish are getting more active and schooling again lately, but with this most recent front, these fish may scatter again. Look for big improvements as the water temperature drops again and the weather clears.