Predawn low tides are the focus this week due partly to the cooler water temperature first thing in the morning. Also playing a big role is the massive amount of baitfish in the area. Juvenile threadfin herring and Spanish sardines are thick throughout the Intracoastal. During low tide, these baits are pressed along the outer edges of the grass flats where redfish, snook, trout, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel and jacks are able to cash in on the buffet. Fan cast top-water plugs until the fish stop responding, then switch to small subsurface twitch baits or spoons to prolong the action. Live baiters will find it easy to fill live wells with these small baits along bridge shadow lines before sunrise. Be careful to avoid overcrowding the well with these fickle baits. A 12-volt recirculating pump that infuses oxygen helps keep threadfins alive; it costs about $40 and can be found at most tackle shops. Fish are in a better feeding mood when the water is 85 degrees than when the tide comes in and the shallows begin to virtually boil. End an inshore fishing trip when there’s more than 2 feet of water on the flats and it’s later than 11 a.m. The fish are in no mood to eat at that time.

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