October is here and pumpkin everything is in season. Perfect. You can not beat picking pumpkins at the pumpkin patch and that’s just what has begun in the Mosquito Lagoon. Pumpkins, I mean redfish, have begun to slip into their fall pattern. This process will strengthen as cooler air temperatures cool our waters. Water temps are sitting in the low 80s and will continue to drop as cold fronts move in this winter and with that the redfish will be moving into shallow water flats and shorelines.
Belly crawling is when a fish sits in shallow water, and has it’s back and tail exposed. These aggressive feeders will sit patiently and wait for unsuspecting prey to swim by. This creates an incredible sight fishing experience and with continued yoo-hoo colored water in East Central Florida, having a fish show its position provides anglers a greater hook up ratio.
So what are we throwing? Fish can be caught using both artificial and live bait. For artificial, I prefer a soft plastic swim bait, like a FlatsHQ Flats jerk or Flats swimmer, rigged weedless. White and gold are my colors of choice. Also, plastic shrimp, like a D.O.A shrimp will also present itself well, but watch the grass with that exposed hook. Make the pitch, give it a twitch and hold on.
Another exciting way to catch these fish, is by making a long cast parallel to the shoreline, and past the fish. Remember, casting to close to the fish with a heavy lure, like a top water plug, will more than likely spook the fish. Leading the fish is your best bet. After you cast, work your top water plug past the fish and watch him explode on it. Again, I like to grab that FlatsHQ Flats walker, in white, with the J hooks.
For live bait, I prefer a live shrimp, rigged through the tail on a 2.0 circle hook. Make a soft presentation out in front of the fish, and when the shrimp pops, the redfish will make its move to feed.
This is a exciting time of year to chase pumpkins but lets not forget the trout and snook. For trout, fish are being caught in 1-3 feet of water, using soft plastics, top water plugs, and live shrimps. These fish are holding off the spoil islands and drops offs adjacent to the bars. Slow down your retrieve and you should get a bite.
Snook are holding in the mangroves and working back and forth along the edges along the islands. Soft plastics, and hard baits will get it done. And even better if you can skip your lure underneath the groves. If working mangroves, you may want to tighten that drag and step up to at least a 20lb leader which in some case may still be a little light.