Good Start to Fall Fishing
Capt. Fred Everson
September 30, 2009
Tampa Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report
The first week of fall fishing was a good one on the Southshore flats. Travis Akroyd reported hot fishing for snook and trout in the early evening using live bait. He told me he caught and released 10 short snook and a limit of trout.
Bottom fishing for snapper and grouper around the ship channel buoys continues to be a best bet, with grouper trolling a close second. Capt. Larry Malinoski told me it took only a few minutes of trolling last week to put two limits of grouper in the box. He said he also did some bottom fishing the next day with equal success.
Other good news is that I found some good sized white bait on the Southshore flats last week. It was around for most of the summer, but disappeared for a couple of weeks. Threadfins remain a mystery. The bay is usually covered with big schools of threadfin herring until the first cold front drives them out, but in recent weeks they have been hard to find. There are plenty of pinfish around, and of course they will catch most everything that swims. The real beauty of pinfish is that they keep well, and you can net them in very shallow water over grass.
I did a wade trip on the flats north of the Simmons Park boat ramp looking for snook or redfish last week. The tide was low, but the water was warm and murky. I had only one hit, but the fish spit the hook after taking a little drag. I saw a few short snook, a lot of mullet, and no redfish. It was a good tide to fish, but it was late morning. Until it cools down some, sunrise and sunset will remain the prime time for shallow water.
Keli Emery told me she had another good day of bottom fishing in the middle of the bay. She caught several very big mangrove snapper, and a bunch of grouper that were just short. She also said she saw the biggest tripletail swim by the boat that she has ever seen. It spooked off the boat before she could put a cast on it.
It's getting to be that time of year when you start to see cobia on the flats. Water clarity will have to improve a bit, but that will happen as soon as the water temperature drops and it stops raining every other day.
This is also getting to be prime time for pompano. I like to look for them by idling across the flats while keeping an eye on the wake. Pompano will skip out of the water as you pass by. When I see a few fish, I shut the motor down and probe the water around the boat with a pompano jig. These are perfect light tackle fish, and the fight is way out of proportion to the size of the fish.
We will have a full moon for the weekend, and the last time that occurred, Keli Emery and I had a great day on mangrove snapper. Slack tide is usually best, with live bait fished on the bottom.
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