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Date of Issue: October 21, 2009

Why is it so hot, as fall has already fallen upon us?

By Paul Roat

It is supposed to be fall, so why is it so hot outside?

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Real big red
Mark Plemmons, of Naples, caught this big redfish while fishing with Capt. Mark Howard of Sumotime charters .

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Brace-plus of fish
Denny and Gina Duvall of Anna Maria took a day away from volleyball duties at Manatee High School to go fishing with Capt. Mark Howard and caught some nice-size reds and trout. .

Mid-October is supposed to bring cooler temperatures in the air and water. That hasn’t been the case of late, and fish seem as confused as humans about what’s happening.

Kingfish are being caught offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Not in any sort of “run” as yet, but some stragglers or scouts are being boated. Snapper are a good bet offshore as well, plus gag and red grouper.

Snook have apparently moved off the beaches and into the bays and canals, although there still are some hookups off the piers in the passes.

Redfish, trout and snapper are still a good bet in the bays as well.

And don’t forget the sluggish flounder, a tasty treat that is a wonderful catch right now offshore and in the backwaters. It’s not a pretty fish, doesn’t fight a lot, but sure is wonderful on the table. We’re looking at a crab stuffing for ours tonight.

Speaking of crabs, don’t forget that stone crab season begins Oct. 15. Check your local market for fresh crabs for the table at home, or check for local restaurants where they do the work for you.

Capt. Mark Johnston out of Annie’s Bait & Tackle in Cortez said he’s catching kingfish offshore, mackerel and snapper, all off the artificial reefs in the Gulf.

Capt. Sam Kimball, also out of Annie’s, said he’s catching snapper, gag and red grouper plus kingfish in his Gulf charters. He’s also bringing back some blackfin tuna from his offshore ventures.

Capt. Mark Howard of SumoTime Charters said the fall fishing pattern is hot right now. He’s found the redfish bite in the bays to be great, adding he got into a two-hour feeding frenzy of reds last week. He’s found snook moving into the mangroves. Mangrove snapper is good in the bays as well, with best action on the seagrass flats. Capt. Mark also is putting his charters onto speckled trout on the flats, with fish running up to 20-inches.

At the Rod & Reel Pier in Anna Maria, Tom Cassetty reports pier fishers are finding that shrimp and shiners are the best bait for a slew of fish: redfish, mostly oversized but with a few keepers mixed in; snapper; flounder; black drum; and some small snook, a few of them keepers, added to the mix. Mackerel, permit and pompano are elusive of late, Tom said, but things should pick up as the weather cools.

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina in Cortez waxed eloquent last week in his comments, saying “the spate of cool fall weather was a cruel tease. The weather is back to midsummer levels but with no cooling rain. Water temperatures started to moderate but now have jumped right back up to the mid-80s again.” He predicts the kingfish run will indeed happen, but be later than usual “and hopefully longer.” It’s all about the weather, Capt. Zach said, with hot water and hot air stalling the usual fall catch. “One big upside is there is tons of bait around,” he said. He’s put his charters onto a lot of trout, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, mangrove snapper, flounder and a stray pompano, all caught on artificials.

Good luck and good fishing.

Fishing news and photos are welcome and may be submitted to Paul Roat by e-mail at paul@islander.org.

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