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Tides and Summertime Pattern Changes

September 12, 2018
Redfish caught in St. Petersburg

eptember marks the pre-transition period where the summertime pattern ends and the tides change.  To the untrained eye not a lot has changed as it is still hot humid and rainy every day.  However, if you know what to look for you will notice that many things in our estuarine environment are changing.

What to Look For with the Bait

The first change that occurs this month is evident in the bait size.  In late summer the spawn of the sardines and herring invade the coast and bays.  This is an event that comes with mixed emotions.  On the one hand the plethora of bait gathers fish for feeding frenzies.  Happening upon one of these episodes can be a blast.  I have seen just about every predator that swims jumping through dense schools of “fry” bait.  This can occur just about anywhere from the middle of the bay, to bridges, to the flats and mangroves.  On the other hand it makes for some frustrating times too.  Catching bait big enough to cast can be a challenge during this period.  One of the biggest obstacles to avoid is catching too many fry baits, clogging both livewells and nets.  The good news is that all the bait big or small makes for increased feeding for a wide variety of fish including snook, redfish, trout, tarpon, grouper, sharks, snapper etc.

What to Look For with the Tides

The other subtle marker for the summertime pattern ends is the tides.  This is what the experts notice, as it is crucial to staying on the bite.  The summertime tides that included an astronomical high around mid-day are replaced with more equal tides day and night.  This increases the fishing opportunities through the 24 hour period.  One of my favorite times (and most productive) are this month during the strong early morning outgoing tides.

My next post will include all that is coming up this fall.  Meanwhile, playing the tides during the transition period can offer some of the best fishing of the year.

Capt. Kyle

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