I am Captain Mike Cole and filling in for Captain David Rieumont. First, thank you for using TheOnlineFisherman.com. Here are my suggestions for your fishing quest.
The whole South Shore Area (Apollo Beach North to Joe's Bay South) is an excellent area to fish this time of year. If you could, I would recommend planning your fishing trip around the New and Full Moon Phases. Usually the best days of fishing are going to be 3 days before to 3 days after the new and Full Moon Phases. Also if you have a live well on your boat I would recommend getting live bait.
Especially at this time of year, our game-fish such as snook, trout, and redfish start to really key in on the live bait. Areas you can get bait around the South Shore area are any of the tripod markers next to the channel edges, The Skyway Fishing Piers, and the grass flats that lead out from the Cockroach Bay boat ramp. All of these areas will hold a variety of baitfish like such as scaled sardines, threadfin herring, and pinfish, all of which are excellent bait.
There are a couple of ways of going about to get the baitfish. You can either sabiki the bait or throw the cast-net for them. I prefer the cast-net because you can usually get a lot of bait in a couple of throws. Also, all the areas I mentioned for baitfish are on the fishy-spot bait maps on TheOnlineFisherman.com with GPS coordinates. For the game-fish locations here are my top spots for the snook, trout and redfish in the south shore area.
For the snook, one of my favorite areas would have to be Bishops Harbor. It's a nice little bay with a good amount of Mangrove islands with deep undercuts that make nice ambush points for snook. Look for areas that have good current moving by with some sort of structure whether it is an oyster bar, tree limb, or a shallow rise in the water. This will create an eddy and allow the fish to ambush the prey.
For the trout, all of the deeper grass flats right out the mouth of Cockroach Bay are productive areas. I would just slowly drift across the flat in the 4' to 8' range and wait till you get a bite. Once you catch one I would then put the anchor out and fish that area for a while to see if there are more fish hanging out with the one you just caught. If the bite slows, pull anchor and drift again until you get the next bite and repeat the process.
For the redfish I really like Piney Point. There is usually a large abundance of mullet moving through this area and a good rule of thumb if you find the mullet you will find the redfish.
I would cruise up as shallow as possible and idle down the shoreline looking for the mullet schools. Once you find the mullet school anchor up and cast baits into it. I cut up my live-bait because redfish love fresh cut live bait.
Redfish use their sense of smell more than their eyesight, so dead bait on the bottom sometimes will get eaten before live the bait that is swimming around. Hopefully this information was helpful and your next fishing trip will be a good one! Remember if you catch anything send your picture to use for possibly winning Picture of the Week.
Thank you again Randy for your question and good luck with the fishing!
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