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Date of Issue: October 28, 2009

Temperature change brings fishing change to the good

Burr! It’s cold outside!

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Tarpon? In October?
Dean Franklin, on vacation from London, England, caught this nice-size tarpon while fishing at the Rod & Reel Pier last week. He also caught what he said was a 100-pound ray and a spinner shark that topped the scales at 130 pounds. .

Fall has finally fallen upon us. Low Sunday was 55-ish, and water temperatures are dropping. Fishing has gone from the forever-summer trend to winter.

Look for grouper and snapper to move closer to shore from their usual deepwater Gulf of Mexico haunts to nearshore artificial reefs.

Bluefish, ladyfish and jacks are in the passes.

Snook are lurking in the bays, and redfish are schooling in around the seagrass flats.

Go fish!

Capt. Zach Zacharias on the Dee Jay II out of Parrot Cove Marina in Cortez said “the long-awaited cold front is knocking on the door as I write this report. The heat wave of the past couple weeks did not do much for the overall action in these parts. In fact, things were downright tough. If the front lives up to its advance billing it should start the cooling trend with water temperatures that really kickstarts the fall fishing bonanza.” He took a charter offshore and caught fat mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, red and gag grouper “and a pair of the largest flounder I have seen in some time came aboard.” Capt. Zach said trout fishing has been pretty good, but mostly early or late in the day. “For those looking for a fish fry,” he said, “mangrove snapper continue real strong as they have been all summer and should still be available for at least another month until some migrate offshore and others head to deeper, highly structured areas in the backwater for the winter.”

Danny Stasny at Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina in Holmes Beach said inshore fishing continues to be great for redfish. Catch size ranges from itty-bitty to huge: under-slot limit to up to 45-inch monsters, and the fish are in either schools on the seagrass beds to lurking under the piers and around the canals. Gold spoons and top-water plugs work the best for the best catches, Danny said. The snook bite is so-so, he said, with best bet at potholes in the seagrass meadows. Mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish and jacks are thick around the passes — fun to catch, not so fun to eat. Gag grouper are starting to move closer to shore, with some catches reported even in the shipping channels at the mouth of Tampa Bay and within the 80-foot depths in the Gulf. He added that the kingfish run may or may not have happened: the mini-cold front a couple weeks ago spurred a catch, last weekend’s front may have started it again, king mackerel are still out there, somewhere, but the real “run” hasn’t hit so far this season … yet.

Capt. Mark Howard of SumoTime Charters said he’s finding fishing to be “excellent right now, with many opportunities and species available. The snook bite has picked up as linesiders are moving off the beach and into the mangroves. Speckled trout are chewing hard, with 30 fish per trip, with many keepers. Redfish are schooling. The Spanish mackerel are off the beach and a lot of big fish up to 24-inches common. Sharks are all over and easy to catch.”

At the Rod & Reel Pier in Anna Maria, Carl Carter reports good catches of snook, redfish, lots of mangrove snapper, plus those tasty flounder.

At the Anna Maria City Pier, Rocky Corby said fishers there were dealing with the wind but still catching big mackerel, redfish, snapper and flounder.

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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