Take some downtime to go inshore fishing for fun.

My favorite time for inshore fishing is finally upon us, the fall season. The fish are moving, fat, hungry and the water is gin clear. Besides everything I listed above, my favorite part of this time of year is getting on a tower and sight-fishing reds.


This past weekend, Jake and I took a little bit of down time to R&R after building a privacy fence after work every day, to go sight-fishing. Jake just bought a step up 3-foot sight tower for his Sterling and we wanted to try it out.


We launched in North Bay and ran to West Bay. I had received some good intel there were schools of reds on certain flats in West Bay. We arrived at the flat, deployed the trolling motor, and slowly worked down the first flat.


I was on the bow sight tower and Jake was on the poling tower. I was rigged with a Zman EZ shrimp and Jake was rigged with a Zman Minnowz on a 1/8th-ounce Eyestrike head. About 5 minutes down the flat, there was a solo red pushing, I cast to it, and it turned away. Jake cast to it, and it turned on his bait and then spooked off.


No worries. Must not have been interested in what we were throwing, or it was spooked. We kept moving down the flat and came across two more reds — same thing. So I switched to my favorite Minnowz by Zman on a 3/16th head. The buoyancy of the ZMan and the Eyestrike being zinc, it takes forever to sink with a 1/8th-ounce.


We worked into a cut, and I saw a red in front of the boat. I let Jake know I saw one and he said get it. I cast in front of it, jigged once and the red rolled. I felt thump, set hook, we were hooked up. It was only a 19-inch red, but the rush of watching it — there’s no words.


As we kept through the cut, we started seeing a bunch of small to rat reds. We would pitch to them but no luck. We were heading out of the cut on the opposing bank and just fixing to put the big motor down and move, and I spotted a school of 12-15 mid- to upper-slot reds.


We both pitched to the school. I pitched to the rear and Jake pitched to the lead. They kept swimming, so we pitched again. Apparently my bait hit too close, because when the bait hit the water, they all spooked and ran deep.


We decided we would continue to work our way out of the cut and maybe find more schools or that school would resurface shallow. We found a pocket in the cut that led into a creek or a pond. As we were heading into the pocket to get to the creek, I spotted another school of about 10 reds.


I cast, jigged the bait twice and saw a red’s head come up on the bait. I let it drop and felt thump. The red was 25 inches and we didn’t bother weighing since we weren’t tournament fishing or prefishing. I gave slack and Jake unhooked it so I didn’t have to get off the tower again. While waiting, I watched the water and noticed flounder moving.


When the red was unhooked, I cast where I saw a flounder go, jigged one, thump and reeled in a 16-inch flounder. We made it to the back of the pocket and bottomed out trying to get into the creek-like pond. We decided to beach the boat and walk the shore and check out the pond.


While walking down the shore, we noticed millions of fiddler crabs, deer tracks, raccoon and bird tracks. We started seeing a lot of finger mullet and small white bait but weren’t seeing any reds.


I saw something swirl behind the mullet and I cast at it. As soon as it hit the water, I never felt thump but saw my line moving. I set hook and had a fish, and landed an 18-inch red. We fished the pond for about 30 more minutes with no luck, so we went back to Jake’s boat and left to check the other side of the bay in some cuts that usually hold.


It was interesting to get back into the cuts, but you could see the reds sitting with their backs and tails sticking out of the water. We spent about 30 minutes back there and found about 12 stud reds but had to go due to time change; it was getting dark so early.


That was one of the most fun days of fishing I’ve had in years. No pressure, sight-fishing with Jake was a great time. We caught maybe 10 fish all day, but it was a blast.


Anthony “AJ” Watson shares his local fishing adventures each week in the Entertainer.