It’s that time of year again folks! Time to chase after the inshore slam here in the Tampa Bay area. Fall fishing is just getting started and the bite is really heating up.
From Central Florida on both coasts, all the way to the Florida Keys, redfish, snook, and trout are the prime targets of inshore fishermen. Tampa Bay is especially well suited for all three. As the largest saltwater estuary in the state, Tampa Bay has many attributes that lend it to being one the of best fisheries for the “inshore slam”.
With an average depth of around 8 feet, Tampa Bay is a very shallow fishery. We have many creeks, rivers, oyster bars, grass flats, sand bars, island cuts, canals, docks… all prime habitat for redfish, snook, and trout. These different attributes attract bait, and bait attracts fish.
Starting in October, we begin to get mild cold fronts that lower the water temperature in the Bay. And that, in turn, increases the oxygen level in the water — which feeds the energy and the appetite of our fish. Combine that with the fact that these fish will be preparing for winter so they want to fatten up and it makes for a killer time of year to fish.
Here are a few interesting facts about our trio of prized game fish.
Speckled Sea Trout
The smallest of the three, speckled sea trout are probably the most abundant. They are also one of the most often kept and eaten fish of the three – as they make excellent table fare. They are aggressive strikers and will hit artificial lures as readily as they will live bait. They will feed on the surface just as often as they will feel underwater.
Also known as red drum, puppy drum, and simply “reds”. These are the “bulldogs” of the three. They are primarily bottom feeders but will hit topwater plugs at times. Their primary food source is crustations. They are often found in schools ranging from 10 to 1,000 fish.
Often cited as being the most sought-after inshore game fish in Florida. They are famous for their drag screaming runs when hooked, leaping into the air during the battle, being great table fare, and their lateral line — which gives them the nickname of “linesider”.
If you are planning a trip to the Tampa Bay area anytime soon, don’t miss your opportunity to catch the “Inshore Slam” with Capt. Rick Silkworth.