Subtle hints of fall should become more apparent in the not so distant future. Overnight low temperatures are falling into the low-70s consistently, which will help to bring our water temperatures down. Currently, inshore waters are full of bait, sparking a hot action bite for a variety of gamefish.
Mangrove snapper fishing has been excellent over the past several days. This full-moon phase is a major spawning trigger for these fish. Target bridge fenders, rock jetties and near-shore reefs when searching for schools of mangrove snapper. Chumming with small pilchards and threadfins will fire up the fish and pull them away from the structure. Getting the fish to take a bait with a hook in it can be challenging at times. Dropping down in leader size to 10 or 15 pound fluorocarbon is necessary to get bit, as is matching your hook to the size baitfish you’re using.
Redfish, Spanish mackerel, spotted trout, jack crevalle and ladyfish are working the deeper grass beds just off the primary flats during the lower tidal stages. Live baiters can easily chum up these fish with handfuls of fresh caught pilchards while those casting artificials can raise the fish to a top-water plug in the low light hours and work slowly using twitch baits throughout the day.
Spanish mackerel are abundant in our near-shore waters and are the primary target for most pier anglers right now. Pier 60, the Desoto piers and the Skyway piers are all great places to catch Spanish mackerel. Anglers casting trolling sinkers with a small silver spoon in tow have been doing well. Other options include heavy Gotcha plugs and live pilchards fished under a float.