There are fishermen and then there are fishermen. You know you are among the latter when:
The cold fronts that push through during this period can stir the waters and drop water temperatures a bit. If you are planning a trip, watch the weather; if a front is expected, wait until it passes before your next venture.
Offshore activity has picked up considerably with the transition. Active species include snapper, drum, triggerfish, blackfish, flounder and reports of scattered mackerel fishing have shown while en route.
All in all, this is a great month to fish, and inshore fishing has been the most stable. Spottail bass are running in tight schools along structured shell banks with mud rises. Your bait choices should include artificials as well as shrimp.
Trout are tight in and around grass over waters of 4 to 6 feet. When the sun is high they will move further into the shallow waters and flats.
I stumbled across something on my last outing that will be used on trial during the colder days. I found that darker lures seem to attract trout more than lighter lures during outgoing tides and cold-water conditions. Dull browns and root beer/black combos have shown promise. If you try the technique, let me know your results.
CHARTER BOAT MATES
Wherever you charter a boat, hire a captain or a fishing guide, there comes a time when you enter a sort of unofficial conclave of sensitivity: How much to tip the mate.
Tipping has always been a reluctant issue of discussion. Given the cost of the trip, often times the mate is overlooked. It is an amusing situation, since many of the people who hire or charter trips are the sort who will spend hours scrutinizing payroll or budget figures, yet at the end of the day they huddle together and wonder what a fair rate should be.
A good captain knows the value of a first-class mate and will often include a gratuity reference when booking a trip. The angler/client may not realize the services provided by such an individual, but they can become one of your greatest assets -- part friend, confidant and counselor, someone with whom you can share frustrations as well as accomplishments.
A top-notch mate can, and often will, make a huge difference in your success or failure. What is relevant is keeping them happy. Now, don't get me wrong; I want to make my own mistakes, and I want a teacher only when conditions dictate one is needed. Where tactics and species are perhaps new, their knowledge is indispensable, but I don't want someone running and fetching for me.
At the end of the day, I prefer to acknowledge the mate with my choice of payment rather than something predetermined by another.