Cold Fronts Mean Lower Water Temps -- Better Clarity
Capt. Fred Everson
November 1, 2009
Tampa Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report
What a difference a couple of days make. Water temperature dropped from 89 to 76 degrees two days after the last cold front came through. Predictably, there was some good fishing ahead of the front, and lots of whitecaps behind it.
I went trolling with Capt. Rick Bollinger and we caught 11 grouper, however all but one were short. The one keeper barely made the minimum at 22 and a quarter inches. That day it was still mid summer fishing with water temps in the high 80s, and frightfully hot around mid day. Two days later I was wearing long pants and a jacket as I mowed the lawn.
This precipitous drop
in water temperature should hasten the improvement in water clarity. It was already beginning to get better due to drier weather, and soon it should become tap water clear.
The first cold fronts do several favors for anglers. A sudden drop in water temperature often drives cobia into the warm water outflow at the power plant in Apollo Beach. If the drop in temperature continues or holds steady, cobia get trapped in the bay. If the temperature comes back up, they will migrate south. As soon as the wind permits, I will be taking a look at ling.
We also caught a few Spanish mackerel and ladyfish on our grouper excursion. The fall run of macks is here in force and we saw them on the surface all day. We also came across schools of ladyfish and jacks tearing through schools of baitfish around the shipping lanes.
James Johnigean of Shell Point in Ruskin reported hooking several big snook off his dock at the mouth of the Little Manatee River. He was using whole live ladyfish for bait and said he got freight trained twice and didn't land either fish.
I also saw a school of huge black drum around the docks at the mouth of the river but they refused everything I threw at them. We did catch a couple of smaller drum under the docks. Big black drum can be very wormy, but the smaller fish eat pretty well – much the same as redfish.
The drop in water temperature should also ramp up the action on trout, but remember the season ends on November 01. This could also bring in the fall run of pompano. I like to look for them on the flats around the mouth of the Little Manatee River, and also off Mangrove Point, just north of Simmons Park.
Tampa Bay Fishing Forecast:
Great wadefishing tides for the first few days of November. Snook should be on the edges of the bars, with redfish tailing if there is no wind.
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