By Michael Murphy
The summer will be coming to a close and intolerable heat should subside some in the coming weeks. We were blessed this summer with some great fishing, both inshore and offshore. Greenbacks are plentiful on the flats right now and pinfish have been ever-present. The waters are still a bit warm, so if you search in the backwaters where the water is warmest, remember to focus more on pinfish for snook and reds. Trout are running a little small on the cockroach flats, but it’s encouraging to see them, as it bodes well to a great population coming soon.
Focus your attention under the mangroves this time of year for redfish. They will begin to school up again and forage together. Cut bait and pinfish will be your best choice for this time of year. You may get surprised with a stud snook in the same areas. A 1/0 circle hook and 25 lb. leader are the better terminal tackle. You will want to get these bruisers out of the bushes.
Mangrove snapper are in right now with good numbers and sizes being caught. Small greenies and threads are great choices for these table delicacies. Cut the larger baits into chunks and use the small baits whole. A #1 circle hook with a 15 lb. leader will work best. They will be in the flats and in the channels and rock piles. Deeper water areas will be easier to fish in before and after the slack tides. They respond well to heavy chumming, and the lighter tides will let the chum stay closer to the boat. Just bury the hook in the bait and let it drift back in the chum.
Always hold on to a larger shrimp or greenback for a surprise appearance from the ‘brown clown,’ or cobia. They are not smart fish and will readily approach boats. Keep a rod ready with a 1/0 or 2/0 circle hook. Be aware that the size minimum has changed to 36 in. at the fork.
Enjoy your day on the water and be safe.