September and October bring the start of
fall. This means cooler weather, shorter days, and great fishing! September is
still a very hot month, but it is the turning point for many species as they
head into their fall patterns. This is truly one of my favorite times to fish.
Snook are one fish that I normally start
targeting in September as they are just getting done with their spawn and start
their journey from the beaches and spoil islands to the backcountry and flats.
All that has changed due to the cold weather snook kill. Yes, we still have
plenty of healthy snook, but the population has been hurt. I have targeted them
less this year and tried to let them be so we can have a good stock for the
years to come. I must stress that if you do catch these great linesiders, make
sure you only have them out of the water for a minimal length of time, and that
you handle them with care to ensure they will live to see another day.
One of my favorite species this month,
which was not hit by this year's record cold temperatures, is the redfish.
September and October are the prime months to catch big trophy reds. They are
schooled up on the flats by the hundreds in search of just about any food you
throw at them. In most cases, a trolling motor is a must for a stealthy
approach. Good places to start looking for fish are at oyster bars, points,
potholes, or good mangrove lines. Always try different techniques and bait.
Fish are a lot like us because they don't eat the same thing every day. They
like to eat a variety of foods, so make sure you try throwing more than just
My preferred tackle for redfish is a Daiwa
Tierra 2500 spooled up with 10-pound Fins Windtamer braided line. Match this
with an eight-foot Daiwa Coastal spinning rod for longer casts, and a 25-pound
fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 Daiichi Bleeding circle hook and you'll have the
right tools for the job!
Going into the latter part of October is a
great time to start sharpening your artificial skills for trout fishing. Once
we see a few cold fronts and the water temperature starts to hit that mid
70-degree mark, the trout fishing in Tampa Bay really starts to go insane.
Trout fishing is some of the best fishing there is. They are easier to catch,
limits are laxed, and they love to eat artificial bait. If you're a novice with
artificials then this is a great fish to start with. Two of my favorite baits
to throw are DOA Shrimp and DOA TerrorEyz. DOA CAL is another great one.
When looking for good spots, just find a
healthy grass flat and good tidal movement. I also like to target potholes.
Remember, trout are very slimy and this slime is critical in protecting the
fish, so try not to handle the fish you intend to release. A de-hooker makes
this really easy to do and you should get one if you don't already have one.
So, whatever you decide to fish for this time of year, I believe you will have
a tight line and a bent pole.
Capt. Jason Prieto