AS OF SEPTEMBER 12TH - “Conditions are slowly improving in the bay,” says Capt. Dave Lear of Tallahassee. “Water quality is getting a little better and the decreasing daylight hours has the fish paying more attention to feeding. Yard grass isn’t growing as fast, dogwood another tree leaves are starting to turn and yellow butterflies are fluttering in increasing numbers. All point to the start of the fall season, with fingers crossed the Forgotten Coast is spare any tropical activity.”
Redfish are prowling the usual haunts along flooded shorelines, oyster bars and patches of rock grass. Aqua Dream or Capt. Mike’s weedless 3/8-ounce spoons in gold or pink are the top search baits to locate hungry reds. Floating grass remains a problem for those throwing plugs with treble hooks. The bars in the St. Marks River are historic red zones for the next couple of months.
Trout are still mainly holding in deeper, saltier water in depths up to eight feet. Feed cleaner water and you’ll generally find cooperative trout. White DOA shrimp with pink or chartreuse tails, Sureketch jigs and Z-Man minnows hopped slowly along the bottom will pique the appetites of trout. Some quality fish are being caught, but the numbers are still on the summer-season slower side.
Flounder action is picking up, too. Jigs bounced slowly along the bottom will produce these tasty flatsiders. Live mud minnows or finger mullet on Carolina rigs are effective as well. Work the edges around oyster bars, at pinch points and creek mouths. The nearshore artificial reefs are holding good numbers of flounder also.
Still plenty of action if you’re looking for a mixed bag. Spanish mackerel are getting active again in anticipation of the long swim south. Same for pompano and cobia. Be on the lookout for rolling pods of tarpon as well, but gear up accordingly to handle these game fish.
The weekend forecast is looking decent, providing Hurricane Florence doesn’t make a major meandering trek south. Winds will be from the west and northwest at tolerable levels. The waxing crescent moon won’t generate a lot of water movement. The strongest high tide will come well before dawn with a very high solunar feeding period ushering in before daylight for a couple hours into the early morning hours. An average period will commence as the tide starts flowing back in following the early afternoon low.