First Cold Fronts of the Season
Capt. Fred Everson
October 21, 2009
Tampa Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report
After the first cold front of the season passed through the bay early in the month summer weather returned. It was in the low 90's for about a week in Mid October and that actually brought the water temperature back up to 89 degrees. It has been dry for much of the month however, and water clarity is improving.
Snook fishing is an event waiting to happen, and the key will be a drop in water temperature. It was back up to 89 degrees last week, and that's pretty hot for mid October.
Despite the hot weather, there has been a hint of fall in the air, especially around sunrise. I have been catching a few short snook around the docks at the mouth of the Little Manatee River at daybreak throwing a jig tipped with a plastic mullet.
I took my canoe to Simmons Park last week to see if there was anything happening on the flats south of Apollo Beach. Despite a very low tide late in the morning I didn't see much. This flat usually begins to come alive with snook, but I suspect the water will have to cool off a bit before the snook show up.
The grouper bite was hot last week. James Johnigean of Shell Point in Ruskin said he caught 30 fish while trolling deep diving plugs, but all but one were short of the 22-inch limit.
I am seeing a lot of bait on the flats – mostly glass minnows and pinfish, but I also found some good-sized sardines.
Mid day trout fishing hasn't been productive in the heat, but the bite has been better around sunrise and sunset. The deeper grass flats south of Sand Key have been producing big fish all year. Trout season will close for a couple of months beginning November 01 and will reopen on New Year's Day.
Another sure sign of fall is the arrival of big schools of jack crevalles. We got into them on the flats in front of Big Pass last week. These were mostly school-sized fish in the two to three pound class. As the water temperature drops, I expect to see the giant sized schools of jumbo jacks that typically show up around the mouth of the river in November.
I haven't had a cobia report in a couple of weeks, but these fish should start showing up on the flats later this month as they begin to migrate south. Water clarity is a little better, but it will probably take another cold front to clear it up enough to sight fish for cobia.
Best bet this week will probably be the deep water in the middle of the bay where Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, jacks, and mangrove snapper are congregating. Look for the birds to find fish feeding on the surface.
Tampa Bay Fishing Forecast:
Winds should die down and water clarity improves. Look for the snook bite to go off soon.
Snook, redfish, trout, snapper,
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