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October Fishing Report for Tampa Bay

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t share with you all that October just might be the best month to fish in our area. The water begins to cool down and the first few cold fronts begin to seep far enough south to trigger some tremendous feeding action for both snook and big trout!

Also without a doubt, this is the month hard baits start getting a real workout in my tackle bag. In particular, the new Clear Eyes Pro Series Top Dog Jr. from Mirrolure… my new favorite! This one plug creates several opportunities to catch an “inshore slam” in our region, from back bays to flats, trophy fish love to blast surface walkers in October.

Here’s some of the action you can expect in the shallows:

Trout- Begin looking for trout in areas where the shallows are adjacent to deeper water access. Places near the inter-coastal waterways where flats get a good flow of clean water and have healthy sea grass. Also, plenty of bait needs to be present look for birds like Royal Terns and Brown Pelicans and you’ll be on the right path. Don’t be afraid to utilize reaction baits such as topwater or swim baits all day! The Z-Man Diezel Minnow in pearl white or a variety of surface walkers from Mirrolure will help you score some big trout in the 1′ to 2′ depth range.

Redfish- Big schools are still intact but will begin breaking up soon. These big schools love grazing on the outside of big flats in 2′ to 3′ of water and are easy to see from a great distance. Flats holding plenty of sharks and large stingrays are typically where you are likely to encounter these big schools of redfish… again they are easy to spot! Lures that excel and are hearty enough to pull on the brutish school reds are Aqua Dream’s New Crab Spoon and Z-Man Scented Jerk Shadz (Bad Shad color) on a 5/0 EWG Rigging Hook. And don’t be afraid to throw that top water either, big redfish love striking them in October!

Snook- The action on the linesider’s starts to heat up this month with the daylight hours getting shorter. Mangrove lined shorelines with good current and a little depth more than 2′ will often produce plenty of snook action. Naturally action is best this time of year around river and creek mouths but docks are great plays as well. It’s hard to beat a Mirrodine right now or a well placed topwater plug, these snook are looking to eat and fatten up for the cooler weather so expect good action on the bigger moons all month.

Here’s a quick reminder, don’t forget about my two fishing schools this month! The first school is my new Flats Class “Work Shop” on October 11th at Bill Jackson’s in Pinellas Park and my second school is the Flats Class V2.1 at the Strike Zone in Jacksonville, FL on October 25th! These classes fill up fast so please register on my School Page here on my website or email me at to secure a seat soon.

Until next time, keep them rods bent!