Keeping an eye on the weather is always a good idea when you’re on the water, but when planning a weekend on the water, particularly offshore, it’s paramount to know what you can expect ahead of time so you can take all the information you have when making your plans, including your float plans.
This coming weekend may not include offshore fishing if the prediction of a 50% chance of a tropical depression forming in the Gulf makes its way up the coast. As always monitor up-to-date weather to ensure your safety.
Anglers fishing Gulf and the adjacent nearshore waters are reporting good action continuing for mangrove snapper. Areas of hard bottom are most productive. There has been plenty of bait near shore and these fish along with kingfish; Spanish mackerel and gag grouper are following the schools of bait in to feed. Gags are being reported not only in the Ship’s Channel leading out of Tampa Bay but also along the pipeline that heads out into the Gulf. Good numbers of keeper gags can be targeted.
Two more weekends, the 19th and 20th, and the 26, and 27th of this month remain for recreational anglers not fishing on a for-hire vessel to legally catch and keep red snapper. For those who have found one of the allowable days to get offshore, the catching has been good, particularly in depths over 100-feet.
Hogfish action has been picking up. While anchored off the Pinellas coast in depths ranging from 40-to 80-feet of water, a variety of snappers and some black seabass have been caught along with some hogfish. Live shrimp have been the top bait over the past week for the hogs.
Tripletail action has increased since stone crab season kicked off this week. With all the traps in the water bringing these fish in to hang around the structure, anglers have been targeting them more frequently and finding a few nice trips to take home. The minimum size now is 18-inches.
The action for snook and redfish continues along the Suncoast, but for those fishing the schools of these fish, live bait has been the key to successfully holding the schools in a location. Whitebait has been the top producer for both snook and redfish but for anglers fishing away from the mattering crowds of sardine slingers, a number of artificial lures have been crushing fish.
Redfish have been hammering several lures lately. We’ve been dragging DOA Softshell Crabs and the DOA 3-inch Shrimp more often when we are seeing multiple fish in a location. When broadcasting lures for covering water, the Eppinger Rex Spoon, MirrOlure Lil’ John, and the CAL Shad have outperformed all others on my boat.
Snook have been pounding the New Mullet pattern in the Skins Series of MirrOlures. The Catch Jr. has been amazing as has the 27MR MirrOdine in that mullet pattern.
Air temps have fallen a bit this week and fish are slowly beginning to respond. Better action on surface lures has been the result of the change. Some excellent hits from chuggers and poppers have made for some exciting mornings fishing Lake Manatee down in Bradenton. The Rapala Skitter Pop and Rebel Pop-R both have been tough to beat.
As we get more into fall, you can expect crappie and panfish to really turn on. Small crappie jigs work well for both but for anglers who fly fish, a small foam spider or popper can be deadly. Get your fly rods out and get ready, because some of the best fishing days are ahead.
FLY FISHING SCHOOL
If you’re one of those who would love to learn more about fly fishing, CB’s Saltwater Outfitters, 1249 Stickney Point Rd, Sarasota, FL will hold an Orvis-Endorsed fly fishing school on Sat, Nov 16, 2019. The course, designed for beginning and intermediate fly casters, will focus on basic fly casting principles, improving casting skills and correcting faults. Instructors Capt. Rick Grassett and Capt. Ed Hurst will also cover saltwater fly fishing techniques, leader construction and fly selection. Cost for the class, which will run from 8:30 AM to 2 PM, is $195 per person and includes the use of Orvis fly tackle, workbook and lunch. Optional instructional guided fly fishing trips are also available for an additional fee. Contact CB’s Saltwater Outfitters at (941) 349-4400 or email@example.com to make reservations.
Capt. Ray Markham