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Tampa bay Fly fishing / Inshore Report - October

Capt. Ethan Kiburz
November 2, 2020
Tampa Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report

October is an incredibly fun time of year because it seems as if everyone is firing on all cylinders. The amount of bait off the beaches, on the flats, and around the bridges is prolific and everything is getting in on the action before the cold fronts force it into deeper water or south. As our days get shorter and we get closer to changing our time clocks, the fish will be in full feed mode until mother nature decides to shut it down.

Snook are scattered throughout the intracoastal waterways, flats, and there are some fish still in the passes this month. It's not uncommon to see them blitzing on hoards of bait along the shorelines inside the passes. The most consistent action has been first thing in the morning with any kind of tidal movement. The larger concentrations of fish will have begun their trek back to their stagnant winter haunts where they will be able to use the deeper water to acclimate to the changing environment. Enrico Puglisi style flies are my go-to because they can be placed relatively close to the fish without spooking him and have a slower sink rate which allows the fly to swim above the bottom/grass (preventing it from disappearing). Docklight fishing has been productive around the new moon phase when the wind has kept us from sticking to our original plan. The canal systems that have dead ends will be receiving a lot of attention from Mr. snook the next couple months as they do a better job of retaining water temperature.

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

Redfishing will be getting better (in my opinion) this next month as the fish break out of their schools and spread out. The cooler temperatures are going to diminish any remaining algae in the water, making the water clear, which leaves us with some great sight fishing opportunities. The big negative low tides have already started occurring in the early morning and as the temps drop, they will be more inclined to stay out on the open flat, rather than rushing to the bushes for shade (cooler water = more oxygen). As we get deeper into winter, the fly choice will go to primarily a crustacean imitation but if the temperatures stay above 70, baitfish patterns still work really well in areas with heavy turtle grass bottom. Mantis shrimp and crab imitations over a sand/mud bottom are a must for our fish in the Tampa bay area.

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Bonita or False Albacore made a showing this year after being absent the past couple! They were plenty of fish caught inside of the Skyway Shipping channel and large schools all the way up to Clearwater Beach. Small white flies stripped as fast as possible is the ticket and spin anglers had success with small spoons. Don't take your time with a stealthy approach either, as the school will move away and pop up outside of casting range within seconds. "Running and Gunning," is the tactic here.

Click to Enlarge Photo

Spanish mackerel are here in full force and are a ton of fun for the angler looking to catch a lot of fish! Working the bait schools in the morning by looking for the birds is the best way to do it without dealing with bait. Otherwise, anchoring your boat over an artificial reef and chumming with live sardines is the most productive way to keep the fish around and feeding!

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

Tarpon fishing was phenomenal this past month as they gorge on everything in sight before the water gets too cold for their preference. Fishing at night for them around the moon phases has been the best but look for the best fishing to be just before cold fronts and a few days after the temps have stabilized.

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

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Captain Ethan specializes in Fly Fishing and Light Tackle Fishing all of Tampa Bay from Sarasota to Tarpon Springs. Fishing the flats, back country or at night for tarpon, snook, redfish and more. All experience levels are welcome and expect to have a great time on an instructional trip aimed to up your game!

Contact Info:

Tampa Fly Fishing Guide
59 Valencia Circle
Safety Harbor, FL 34695
Phone: 727-278-4707
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