As temperatures begin to chill, fish start easing into their pre-winter pattern. Cooler temps bring occasionally unstable weather which can turn the bite on like no other time of the year.
One of the hottest spots in early Fall are “flushes.” Flushes are aquatic features where freshwater is infused into salt following heavy rains. These include spillways, run-offs, seeps (i.e., where water seeps in through an ill-defined, flat, generally weed infested natural drain), man-made drains, ditches, culverts, and the like.
Florida’s Captain Rich Thomas, tackle manager at Bitter’s Bait and Tackle fishes flushes often. Here’s a few of his insider tips.
1. Early bird. As the flush ages, the amount of bait pushed through and drawn-in diminishes exponentially. Hit them soon after the rain.
2. Outsider. Plenty of folks make the mistake of motoring in too close. Begin your search around the perimeter and move slowly toward the flush. In most cases, the best bite is on the outside where the salinity is most stable.
3. Duplicity. Base your bait selection on the predominate bait in the flush. Determine what the fish are feeding on and offer them something in the same size, shape, and color.
4. Got rhythm? Work baits fast with an erratic, crippled cadence to differentiate them from the live stuff.
5. Fast lane. Typically game fish avoid faster water; it’s simply too much work. Fish the slack or slower moving water first. If biteless, migrate toward faster water.
6. Flow master. Work baits with the current. Fish orient themselves facing into the current waiting for easy meals to come to them.
7. Itty bitty. When given a choice of several flushes in an area; fish the smaller ones first. For some unbeknown reason—fish check these before moving on to larger flushes.