September used to be a month when waters might start to cool down a little bit.  Although shorter days will facilitate this to some degree, don't count on daytime temperatures to make a big difference for at least the next several weeks to come.  As a result, many aspects of local fishing in Northern Pinellas county will remain the same. Several recent Tampa / Clearwater Fishing Charters did result in snook, but the fish were smaller, on average, than the summer fish caught from April thru July.  Finding large concentrationss of fish is much less likely to happen as well, although some schools are still present on the beaches.  As whitebait now seems to have turned the corner and is becoming more abundant, loading a live well with these is the best approach.  Many fish have now departed from the beach so look for more to show up inshore and in the back country in the coming months.  Bring plenty of chum if you hope to get these fish in an eating mood.

Snook Redfish Inshore ComboSeatrout are quite catchable now but obtaining a decent trout dinner will require some sorting.  For every ten trout caught, maybe one of two will make the grade.  With that said, large specimens do occasionally show up with a 22 inch fish hitting the deck on the most recent fishing trip. The biggest of these fish may often be caught when redfishing or snook fishing but if intending to really target trout, look for grass flats near the passes that have strong water flow.  With bait now showing up in areas like that just mentioned, trout will be around looking to take advantage of this abundance.

Redfish are affected by the heat but probably the least so of the aforementioned species. Big tides will still entice these fish to move up into their feeding grounds so look to target these hard pulling fish on days with the best tides. With water temps at their yearly highs, there will be many scavengers around to eat redfish baits so cut baits are probably the bait of choice for many Tampa Fishing Captains.  Pinfish and small catfish will fail to get these baits off the hook, giving them extra time to attract a redfish.  Locations that hold these redfish don't change a lot during the warmer months, with oyster bars, mangrove shorelines and deep pockets under docks all representing logical locations to try. On a recent outing, a large school of mullet proved to be the key to locating fish...which were sitting on an open flat covered with potholes.  Most Tampa fishing Guides find it difficult to drive past a monster school of mullet...knowing that somewhere, mixed in with them, are at least a few quality redfish.  

Inshore and Nearshore Fishing AvailableAs summer winds its way down, nearshore options begin to come back into play. Mangrove snapper fishing has been very good for the last 2 years running now and Tampa fishing for this tasty species should continue.  Rumors of quality fish being found within 10 miles of shore have already surfaced so action should only get better as more bait arrives on the beach and water temps drop.  On light tackle, these fish are worthy adversaries, both in terms of the care with which they take a bait as well as for their tenacity to find structure when hooked over reefs on light tackle. Once snapper are located, the game really begins.  What technique will catch fish today? Small to medium mackerel have also started to appear inshore, indicating that nearshore fishing for bigger fish can't be too far away.  Behind the mackerel will come bonita, kingfish and, with a little luck, decent numbers of gag grouper will invade 20 foot depths this fall. As the heat dissipates, the volume and diversity of fish will increase.

With the arrival of September comes a favorite local spectator event, the Clearwater SuperBoat Races.  Be in Clearwater Beach starting on September 29th to enjoy this event. If sampling local beer is of greater interest, come to Tampa for the Halfway There Beer Event, where as many as 50 local breweries will be there to show off their wares.  Good luck and good fishing.





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