Captain’s Corner: Fall Fishing in Tampabay Area

Capt Jim Lemke Times Correspondent

With the first cold front that roll in a few days ago it got everything fired up and with the Mackerel run is in full swing on the beach and up in Tampabay area. With the water and air temperature dropping down to the mid to upper 70’s at night. This cold front will have the bite fired up inshore and offshore.

The Snook fishing is on fire with these cooler temps at night. We have been finding them around and up the major rivers, creeks, and residential docks. A ton of smaller snook along with some over slot snook mix in. the best bait is still a scaled sardine or whitebait fished under a cork.

The Redfishing is in full swing on the flats and off the beach with the big schools of breeder Redfish out there. I look for mullet schools in the 1 to 3 foot of water on the flats and use your trolling motor to get in position and setup. If you just chase them like is what’s happened over at Weedon Island no buddy will catch them. The best baits are live baits like Sardines or pinfish for artificials a Jerk Baits or paddle tail jigs.

Fall always means big schools of Kingfish and Mackerel in the bay and off the beaches along with some drag screaming fun. It’s some of the best fun fishing around and just not for the kids but for the adults to. There are plenty of ways to catch Kingfish, some of the most popular ways are using live bait like Ladyfish, Blue Runners, and my favorite for a smoker Kingfish a slow trolling a Mackerel. Other ways are trolling big plugs or spoons on downriggers and or flatline.

Capt Jim Lemke charters out of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater and can be reached at (813) 917-4989 and at

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