Summer’s End

Hi everyone. I apologize for the lack of blogs for the summer. It was a very busy summer and the fishing was fantastic! So now we are at the end of summer and the month of September really is the beginning of the best fishing of the year.

The annual Mullet run has started and this year is a good one. What’s a Mullet run? Every year as our water temps increase and decrease, mullet migrate from Florida up and down the Atlantic coast, following food and comfortable water temps. During the spring this run is an important food source but, in the fall, it is unmatched by any other event of the year. Mullet are a valuable food source and by fall they are big enough and numerous enough to attract all types of predators. These predators range from the largest, being sharks, tarpon and bull redfish, to the trout, flounder and slot sized red fish.

Fish of all species use this bountiful food source to “fatten up” for the long winter that they know is coming. What does this mean you ask? Typically, this means that these fish are turned on and aggressive. The bite for the next month or so will be fast. This is not the time to throw the anchor and wait on the bite. THE BITE IS HAPPENING SOMEWHERE! The key to taking advantage of this spectacular fishing is to not settle for a few fish.

When I’m fishing these types of conditions I know that fish are aggressive and that all I must do is find them and they will eat. Not only will they eat, they usually are not picky. Seldom will I fish in a spot more than ten minutes without a bite. Remember, these fish are feeding. Now that’s not saying you can pull up to your old fishing hole and wear them out. They may not be there. Fish are following bait. The mullet they are keyed in on is moving.

As the tide comes and goes, it will wash them in and out of an area. Look for large amounts of bait in the water. Ambush points for Redfish, Trout and Flounder are the first areas I concentrate on. Moving water with a lot of activity and some type structure are the areas you want to focus on. This a good time of year to get out of your “comfort zone” and try areas that just look fishy.

My fishing trip yesterday was a prime example. We went to an area on the ICW (Intercostal Waterway) that typically produces for me. These were back creek spots that every year seems to hold fish. What I found yesterday was that the fish just were not there. Looking around and reading the water, I quickly realized that there was much more activity on the ICW itself rather than in the smaller back creeks.

Making the adjustment proved to be the key and we easily landed over 20 Redfish using nothing more than a cast and retrieve technique with soft plastics. The bait really didn’t seem to matter. We caught fish on both Shrimp and Small fish imitations. The big key was finding where the “feed” was taking place. Following the bait as it moves with the tide is really the best pattern I have found while the mullet run is taking place.

Now let’s cover some of our bigger species. Tarpon, Sharks and of course Bull Redfish are probably easier to catch now more than any other time of year. Tarpon are following the mass of larger mullet running down our coastline as they slowly make their way back home to Florida. For the Bull Redfish two things are taking place. They are of course feeding on the large amount of available food and they are starting their annual spawn. This makes them readily available targets for both nearshore and inlet fishing. Sharks are feeding up as well because they too will have to make the migration to warmer waters.

There is no better time of year to beat that personal best Red drum, catch that first Tarpon, or wrestle with some big ole toothy critter. Live or cut baits work well now including mullet, menhaden, blue crab and jumbo shrimp. Channel edges, humps and ditches in passes are all good areas to target. Keep a watchful eye on the surface for exploding feeding or rolling Tarpon. Using a large popping cork or a kite is a good way to present baits to these surface feeding fish.

Get out there and try your luck as the next two months can really be some exciting fishing and will lead to many great fish stories to tell!

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