I was pleasantly surprised last Saturday when Steinhatchee Capt. Rick Davidson told me he’d been reading water temperatures in the 70s all day. The day was cool and there were pods of bait everywhere, but I didn’t think that the temps had dropped that much in the past few weeks. That’s a good sign, and based on the fact that we found seatrout striking those bait pods was an even better one. The air temperatures are going to stay in the 80s all week, so I’m predicting a good weekend for anglers wanting to fish our Big Bend flats. What cooler air and water mean is that fish, especially trout and redfish, sense the onset of fall and winter and are interested in only one thing—fattening up.
Other observations are that the easterly winds and cooler water temperatures have slowed the production and distribution of floating sea grass. There are still some big patches out there, but it’s time for topwater lures again. Last Friday, I headed north and left the Sea Hag Marina in Steinhatchee about noon and fished the last of the rising tide and the first of the fall at 5 of my favorite Taylor and Dixie county spots. In all those places, which are within casting distance of shore, I was able to successfully fish topwaters.
I found that the numerous bait pods were being attacked by all sorts of predators, and each cast brought a different fish to the boat. There were seatrout, small reds, Spanish mackerel, jacks and ladyfish all in the mix!