October is now upon us and with the fresh arrival of fall, we begin seeing lowering water temps and a wave of bait making its way across the flats and down the beaches. This time of year, we start seeing redfish school up inshore and the nearshore bite turning back on with kingfish and mackerel making their way closer and closer to shore and throughout Tampa Bay. Big threadfin herring have made their way into the bay, which is another signal that fall fishing is kicking off. The amount of snook in the bay, down the beaches, and inside the passes remain steady, although the bite is starting to get more finicky. These big schools of fish stage up at the slower tidal periods and make these fish extremely difficult to get to bite. With the water being so clear, it can be frustrating seeing the fish but being unable to get them to bite. Big shrimp and pinfish are a great way to get these fish to cooperate, as we move into these cooler temps the fish become more lethargic and less interested in chasing baits and expending energy.
Commercial Stone Crab traps have begun to fill the coastline. In a few weeks, once the algae and growth starts to show up on the ropes and underside of the styrofoam, I will begin targeting of my favorite fish this time of year, tripletail. I often drive past miles of traps looking for these delicious fish and once I see one hanging on the rope I position the boat up-current of the fish and freeline a shrimp with a small hook with the current towards the fish. The key is to draw the fish away from the trap before the bite so that the fish doesn’t wrap you up in the rope. I come across the occasional tripletail that refuses to eat any presentation I try and if you’ve had this happen to you, I implore you to try drifting a small piece of cut bait with the same technique. DOA Shrimp and white DOA Cal swimbaits are also great artificial options when targeting tripletail off the beach. Fall King of the Beach is rapidly approaching so make sure you sign up early and get prepared for what will certainly be another awesome tournament!
Capt. Skylar Wilks
The Suzuki Repower Fishing Report is sponsored by Mastry Suzuki Repower
Hi – I’m Captain Skylar Wilks and I am a full-time Tampa Bay Inshore Guide, residing in Madeira Beach. I grew up spending my weekends and summers fishing with my Grandparents who live across the street from the Madeira Beach Marina. In 2011, I moved a bit further south to Fort Myers and attended Florida Gulf Coast University, with a scholarship to play Division 1 soccer. When I wasn’t playing soccer, I was spending my time learning the waters and fishing in Sanibel, Estero Bay, and the Naples area. In 2015, I graduated with a degree in Business Management and moved back to Madeira Beach to launch my fishing business, Inspired Fishing Charters.