Florida Fishing forecast

Florida Fishing forecast
Saltwater: Beach and nearshore anglers anxiously await the annual fall migration of baitfish along the Space and Treasure coasts. Mullet, greenies and glass minnows make up the migration, which starts in late August and continues often until November. Following these baitfish will be all manner of predatorial species, such as snook, redfish, tarpon, jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, sharks, barracuda, bluefish, ladyfish and others. Right now, small groups of bait are being found between Port Canaveral and Cocoa Beach, and south of Sebastian Inlet. Larger schools of baitfish are still farther north, near Ponce Inlet, but are moving slowly to the south.

While tarpon are not yet very active along nearshore beaches, some anglers are starting to find snook, although the season does not open again until Sept. 1. Anglers are finding snook just past the whitewash along beaches between Melbourne Beach and Vero Beach. Live baits, especially finger mullet, Atlantic croakers and pigfish, are working best on a sliding sinker rig with a circle hook. Early mornings and late evenings are the best times to find these snook, especially if baitfish are in the area.

Freshwater: Outside edges of grass, lily pads and reeds at Lake Kissimmee are holding decent numbers of bass to 3 pounds. Most anglers targeting these fish are venturing out before sunrise because the activity period is generally over by 9 a.m. Top-water plugs, poppers and buzzbaits are effective very early, then most anglers are switching to soft plastics. Bluegill and occasional crappie, also known as speckled perch, are being found along edges of vegetation and over shellbars around Rabbit and Storm islands. At times, crappie may be staging just off these islands in open water, where anglers drifting or slow trolling with small jigs can find them.

— Beth Sinclair, for FLORIDA TODAY

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