The past several days have been a pretty typical representation of fall transitioning into winter flats fishing for our area. Water temperatures in the shallows of Tampa Bay respond quickly to warm periods after passing cold fronts. A nice day with plenty of sunshine and light wind especially with an afternoon incoming tide can fluctuate the water temperature as much as ten degrees. When this happens snook, redfish and trout are much more active. Finding those protected shorelines is most important. Shorelines that have any chop at all wont get as warm as those that don’t.
When the water temperature is close to 70 degrees the fish are much more likely to track down a live sardine. Live chumming and free-lining sardines is standard practice for our area especially when theirs snook around. However With each passing cold front cast-netting sardines for the day becomes more difficult. Live shrimp will more than likely be the bait of choice for inshore fishing over the next month and a half.
Artificial lures have their place this time of year and at times can be more productive than the real thing. Getting out of the boat and wade fishing will allow you to cover more water than anchoring and fishing with bait. Waders should use a combination of weed-less soft plastics that can be worked slow to mimic shrimp and crabs and gold spoons, top-water plugs and suspending twitch baits that can all be worked a bit faster in order to cover water.
Flats Monster Inshore Fishing