The September forecast looks red. We have already seen our fair share of red on the weather radar with a few more weeks ahead if I had to guess but it’s also time to start looking for redfish. Like always, as we approach fall things begin to change around the bay. Our estuary becomes alive with bait being plentiful and gamefish staging up for the colder months. This transition period is a great time to get out and do some fishing. Generally, the weather is favorable for several types of fishing in our area, but always keep an eye out. The redfish schools are showing up in common places and the snook will push into the backcountry in droves as soon as the water temps start to drop. Bait has been easy and can be found on any grass flat along the south shore and areas alike around the bay. The smaller pilchards make great snapper bait and there will be plenty of 3” baits for fishing snook and reds in most areas. If you can’t find the larger pilchards, don’t be afraid to use a live pinfish instead.
As we approach the full moon this month, expect for fishing to be pretty good. Towards the end of the month, we will start to see some strong tides that will bring high water followed by some of our first negative tides leading into fall. For me, I like the lower tides for finding the redfish schools. The shallow water makes it incredibly easier to locate tailing fish or “v-wake” pushes on the flats. A good thing to pay attention to is mullet. If there are none, you probably need to move. The mullet schools are close allies with aggregations of redfish on the move or scouring for food. Often times, you can locate a couple schools of mullet (jumping or making disturbances) and sit back and watch. Identify the area they are staying in and begin searching for reds. Depending on the area, a trolling motor will be just fine to approach a school but if they get “spooky” – don’t chase them. A push pole would be a second choice, otherwise anchor up (or power-pole down). More than likely they will come back. If you have live bait, chumming the area will help get their attention and possibly keep them around while you catch a few. If you are lucky enough to get them to settle down in a deep pothole or shoreline, that’s the best situation. Don’t be surprised if you also catch a few jack crevalle in the mix. In fact, look for them. It’s not uncommon for big schools of jacks and reds to be found feeding together.
If you like throwing artificial lures, it can sometimes be more effective when fishing schools of fish – especially when they are feeding. It gives you the ability to make multiple casts quickly at an approaching school and you don’t have to worry about throwing your bait off. By keeping a bait in the strike zone, you will catch more fish. My favorite is soft plastics. I recommend the D.O.A CAL Jig in #313 gold glitter. Any ¼ oz wide gap jig head will work just fine in most situations. Another go-to is the trusty ol’ gold spoon. I like the johnson sprite (weedless). This is a great bait especially in grassy areas or if you need to make really long casts.
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