Rhiannon Iannotti, 11, of Seminole shows off a 20-pound kingfish she reeled in Oct. 7 about 2 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico off John’s Pass. Rhiannon was fishing with her dad and reeled in the fish with no help.
Well, just like that we’re in cold front season. As of last week we only had a couple of brief cool downs from some very weak cold fronts.
Now we’re starting to see a good progression of a declining water temperature, if that makes any sense. mid-70 degree water temperature is perfect for our fishery; fish offshore and inshore feed well in that temperature range.
Offshore, the stage is set for some amazing kingfishing. Up and down the beach, schools of small fry bait are being ravaged by a combination of Spanish mackerel, Bonita and small jack crevalle. This activity has brought the kingfish to within 100 yards from shore. Slow trolling blue runners, small mackerel or ladyfish around these feeding frenzies have been producing some good kingfish. However, my personal favorite method for capitalizing on all the predators is to anchor and live chum with pilchards.
Using long shank hooks with a small trace of wire will help prevent cutoffs. Also have a rod ready with a stinger rig so that when a small legal mackerel is caught you can quickly transfer it to the stinger rig and slide it back out in your chum slick. Kingfish spend their whole life chasing mackerel and there is no better bait for this situation.
The clock is ticking on a very short gag grouper season. The fishing has been very good for gags in 50- to 80-feet of water. With the declining water temperatures, look for more and more of the quality sized gags to show up in even shallower depths. Big pinfish are still the bait of choice for the hard fighting gags. Remember, that the season closes at the end of the month.
Inshore, redfish numbers are on the rise. Some of those flats that looked good last month but didn’t produce might have a few fish on them now. Find those clean water flats with good concentrations of mullet and you’re on your way. Speckled trout fishing has also improved. Target those deeper flats just inside the passes and with a little help from some live pilchards you should stay busy with trout, Spanish mackerel and ladyfish, a situation tailor-made for taking a kid fishing.
Until next week, get bent!
Tyson Wallerstein can be reached at email@example.com. To get a fish photo in the paper, send the photo along with your name, when and where it was caught to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to Tampa Bay Newspapers, 9911 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, FL 33772.