• Anthony Watson

Fall Pattern Inshore


My step-son Jacob Wright and I went out Sunday to watch the redfish pattern as we have the Emerald Coast Redfish Circuit championship the second week in November and the fall pattern is in full effect. We decided we were going to check on some spots we like, but pay more attention to some new spots we found on Bing maps.

We headed to spot number one, which was 1.5 feet deep over a grassy bottom. In the past, we have had excellence luck from here on a high tide or when the water was pushed up. High tide was peak at 7:36 a.m. and we arrived at 10 a.m. I was throwing the usual Matrix Shad Blazing Hornet on a 1/8th ounce jig while my son was throwing a Gulp! 5-inch Jerkshad on a 1/16th ounce Owner weighted twistlock hook.

We were moving the shoreline and my son hooked up and brought in a 24-inch red. We continued to move, look, and cast, and I hooked up on a 23-inch red. We spent about another hour there and moved on to a new spot. The new spot was 2 feet deep, mixed bottom (sand and grass), point, stacked mullet, and cord grass; it had everything I look for in a spot. We started casting. First cast, I got slammed but missed the hookset. I threw back in the same area and got slammed again but this time set the hook, fought it and landed a toad of a redfish that was 26.5 inches and weighed more than 6 pounds.

We threw in the same area and caught two more. The next two cast were 25 inches and weighed in the high 5′s and low 6′s. We pulled the anchor pole and moved to another spot to look at.

The second new spot was 2 feet deep, grass bottom, point, and stacked mullet. Upon arriving, we immediately started seeing gator trout cruising the bottom. As we worked this area, we caught some rat reds and a couple small slots. Nothing too exciting, but by this time the tide was a strong outgoing and things were moving a little deeper.

We decided to head back to the landing. We had a very successful day fishing and knew it wouldn’t get any better than it was.

Some of the year’s best inshore fishing on the Florida Panhandle is from mid-September through October. The shallows that have been in the 90-degree temps since June are now in the high 70s to low 80s. The shallow bite is happening in the better part of the day on a moving tide. The abundance of fish pushed up on the flats in the middle of the day right now is unreal.

The trout are slamming top water on the flats in the 2 feet to 3 feet range from sunrise until 8 or 9 a.m. I like to throw the Matrix mullet or the Heddon Spook Jr.; both are quality top water baits and produce. After 9 a.m. if you move to broken flats and move slowly and just watch, you will see the reds cruising usually in schools of four or more. I throw a 3-inch or 4-inch soft bait such as Matrix Shad or Bass Assassin on a 1/8th ounce or 1/4 ounce jig head when sight-fishing the reds.

The fall pattern with the cooler air temps is the time to be on the water with your best chance of being successful.

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