Craig Scott, a regular on The Florida Fisherman 2 out of Hubbardís Marina, shows off a large red grouper in the middle of a large pile of fish from a recent 39-hour trip.
It was a soggy week with the looming cold front. As it finally makes its way out of here, we are due for a bit of a cool down. These first couple of fronts can change the complexion of our fishing in a hurry.
Cooling water temperatures will funnel more bait fish into our area and in turn plenty of fish to feed on them. Kingfish, cobia, tarpon, grouper and redfish will be the highlights in the weeks to come. Plenty of bait can be found around the passes and the grass flats just inside. Find deep grass patches in 4 to 6 foot of water and chum the fish up with live pilchards. When the tide is moving strong, the action has been non-stop.
Speckled trout are also mixed in with the mackerel. Most have been under-sized with a few keepers. The bigger fish will move onto the flats as the water continues to cool.
Redfish have been schooling in good numbers on this latest full moon. Finding edges that are holding bait has been the key. Dipping terns will guide you to the spot within a spot. The terns are following schools of marauding jack crevalle, which can be seen working the surface from time to time. The redfish have been hanging below the jacks and canít refuse a tail-trimmed pinfish. This deep-water pattern should continue for the next couple of months.
Mangrove snapper fishing has also been good during this full moon phase, schools of 10- to 14-inch mangos can be found around pass bridges, jetties and near-shore reefs. Deploying a frozen chum block will bring the mangos up from the bottom. Then itís a matter of downsizing your tackle enough to fool the wary fish. The bigger snapper will come right to the surface at times and can be quite tricky to catch.
Tyson Wallerstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To get a fish photo in the paper, send the photo along with your name, when and where it was caught to email@example.com or mail it to Tampa Bay Newspapers, 9911 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, FL 33772.