With the remnants of summer still beating down on us, it may be hard to believe—but fall is just around the corner. Most folks have spent their sweaty summer banging the banks, rattling the flats and inshore haunts searching for cagey trout and redfish. For those on a quest for trophy-sized fish, make no mistake, prime time is quickly approaching. As water temperatures begin to recede and the fishing pressure goes slack, the really big fish become susceptible.
Location, location, location. As nights become brisker, fish begin bunching up. This, in direct contrast to those warm water fish who spend much of their time cruising the shallows in search of food. Cooler temps drive big fish deep, into holes and pockets where they stack tightly.
Key areas to search include the deep ends of canals and creeks, where current or tidal seams are created. Big trout and redfish gather here, taking advantage of the moving water conveyor which delivers dinner right to their doorstep. Here, they expend little energy searching and gathering tasty goodies.
Best Bait. Artificial baits dominate summertime fishing as they simplify locating cruising fish with efficient, rapid, multi-cast presentations. As the temperature drops and fish begin to chill, live bait becomes more attractive to fat, slobby fish. However, live bait typically heads south for the winter, so it can be difficult to find. For those who can locate it, the effort is well-worth the quest.
Backup Bait. As mentioned, as temperatures fall, fish slow. Larger baits are more productive as big fish dine less often. Sizey topwater baits are best, particularly early in the morning and late in the evening. Spook-style hard baits work well as they can be "walked" slowly in place, offering a large profile and plenty of opportunity for lethargic fish to wallop one.
Chubby profiled plastics work well when the nip starts to set it. To up the ante with plastics, add a large profile head. Blakemore's Roll 'in Runner, with its onboard spinner, increases flash while allowing the bait to be "slow-rolled." This presentation increases strikes by keeping it in fishy water longer.
Additionally, curly tailed grubs offer more for a fish to look at, while sending out more vibration than traditionally minnow-shaped soft plastics. And for the adventurous out there, tie on a twin-tail grub for substantially more fish-attracting water displacement and bigger strikes