“Is Mother Nature ever going to give us a break? Intense thunder storms in spots continue to dump large amounts of rain and the subsequent run-off into the bay is not helping the salinity levels at all,” says Capt. Dave Lear of Tallahassee. “There are still fish around to catch, but the catch per unit effort isn’t too great right now.”
Redfish continue to be the easier target since they are more tolerant of higher water temperatures and brackish conditions. The water clarity is poor, however, so they have to find your offerings. Live finger mullet, mud minnows or shrimp will all entice the scent-oriented drum. Anglers choosing an artificial approach would be advised to add noise or scent to increase the odds. Rattles, chuggers (like a popping cork or cup-faced lures) and Pro-Cure Bait Gels added to plastic shrimp, shad tails or jigs often makes the difference. This is a good time to fish a spinner-bait clothes pin rig as well. The vibration from the blade helps the fish hone in on the lures. A weedless gold or pink Aqua Dream spoon is another proven redfish attractor, but it needs to be worked slowly for the greatest effect.
Trout continue to be hit and miss. Some fish are still in the shallows and back-country. Floating grass is still a problem, though, so use swim bait or worm hooks to conceal the hook point so the lure snakes through the floating salad. Rock grass patches, sandy pot holes and flooded oyster bars all continue to be good places to prospect for inshore trout. Or you can go deep, as in out towards the refuge buoy line and dredge the bottom slowly with 1/2-ounce DOA shrimp or Sureketch touts. The outer edges of the party sandbar off the river channel or the West Flats can be productive, especially on a falling tide as the bait sweeps off the shallows.
There were some good tripletail reports this past week, although a few big ones managed to get away. Use medium tackle and inspect any structure, permanent or floating, to see if any of these strange-looking critters are lying in ambush. Live or fake shrimp, minnows and even strips of squid will fool these hard-fighting yet tasty nomads.
Still tarpon, sharks, jacks and big black drum around. The fast-movers are also still hammering the bait balls in the near-shore depths.
Winds are expected to be tolerable again from the south and southwest this weekend. Moderate high tides thanks to the quarter moon phase will flood right around daylight before falling out by mid-afternoon. The corresponding solunar feeding windows will occur the first couple hours after the morning high has crested and another two-hour window after the tide bottoms out in the afternoon.