Changing weather conditions have really stirred the pot, so-to-speak. Fish are on the move with this past weekend’s drop in temperatures. The weekend ahead may find us in for another round of cooler weather and perhaps the coolest so far. Expect more movement of fish from the changes.
Last weekend’s blow was perfect for anglers fishing for kingfish. Perfect may not be the right word for it, but for certain it was typical ‘kingfish weather”. The result of the cool front that passed through was to drop water temperature to 72-degrees, prime water temperature for kingfish and Spanish mackerel. The results from the Old Salt Fall King of the Beach Tournament sure proved that. While there were no real record-breaking fish, there were good numbers of fish weighed, with the top honors for a 40.67-pound kingfish going to Team Pro Marine. The second-place kingfish was caught by Team Salt Rock and weighed slightly less than a half-pound under the winning fish.
Scores of Spanish mackerel were caught in that division with the winning mackerel coming in at just over 6-pounds. Quite a few very respectable macks were weighed-in.
Quite a few bonito were caught along the beaches out to a couple of miles offshore from Sarasota to Palm Harbor. Schools of bait were on the beaches but with the blow head, look for bait schools to scatter and go deeper.
The changes this week will continue to see temperatures fall, with the coolest weather ahead for the weekend. Rain is in the picture again as another cold front moves through the West Central area. Strong winds could accompany this incoming front. Rough water conditions will move offshore fish like gag grouper tight to some structure with high relief. If the blow arrives on Saturday, you may not expect to see much action before Monday or later. When you do go, you may not find fish where you left them. Keep your eyes on your recorder and watch for shows of baitfish pods throughout the water column.
This next push of cooler air will undoubtedly send another wave a kingfish and Spanish mackerel south. If trolling is your thing, when the winds and seas subside, it’ll be a good way to pick up some fish for the smoker.
Fishing exploded this week on the inshore scene. Anglers working lower Tampa Bay and the South Shore of the bay caught double-digit snook and redfish on both topwater lures and jigs. Live pinfish have been one of the top baits for snook and reds, but live shrimp were tops on many areas. Water temperatures dropping 10-degrees since a week ago could likely be the reason. Snook moved up on the flats to feed with the goal of putting on body fat in preparation for the upcoming winter weather. With incoming tides this week, fish chewed from morning to noon as water levels rose.
Mullet are schooling in areas around Tampa Bay and that means redfish will be on the move along with these schools of mullet. We had some excellent successes catching numerous redfish using CAL Jigs with Shad tails and with the new DOA Sna-Koil rigged on a wide gap worm hook from DOA made by Eagle Claw.
On windy days, look for shelter from the winds. The cooler water temperatures that fall quickly may shut the bite down temporarily but if you are on fish that aren’t eating, take your time, as they will eat with a rise in water temperature. If the water is stirred up, look for fish to be close to the bottom and eating slow-moving baits like a live shrimp or the DOA 3-inch Shrimp. In open flats, using a popping cork may help fish find your bait. Whether you are using a live shrimp or a sardine, the popping cork will help fish find your bait.
Bass love this cooler water. Area water temperatures were sitting at around 72-degrees through mid-week, but that should change as our next front rolls in for the weekend. Shallow ponds and lakes will see the greatest drop in temperature. Expect high 40’s on the Nature Coast with 60’s to near 70 from Sarasota to Pinellas.
Slower presentations with lures like soft plastic worms or creature baits will get fish eating. Suspending crankbaits can also put fish in the boat. Right after the front passes, fish might get finicky, but suspending twitch baits worked erratically can get fish chewing.
FLORIDA SPORTSMAN FISHING EXPO
The nasty weather predicted for this weekend may not be the best for being on the water but will be perfect for attending the Florida Sportsman Show at the Florida State Fairgrounds and Expo Hall in Tampa. A discount coupon for the show is in your current magazine issue. Lines will form for the opening of the show on Saturday and Sunday, November 16 and 17th by about 10 a.m. Whether it’s hunting or fishing, inshore or offshore, it’s all there and this is the show you won’t want to miss. Loads of boats, tackle, discounts, seminars, and more await attendees. I’ll see you at the show. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!
Capt. Ray Markham