Being on the water the the last couple of weeks has been a bit of a challenge at times with the passing of a couple tropical systems as well as the season’s first solid cold front. This has added some wind and rain into the equation but it has also resulted in a lower air and water temps that has the fishing on fire right now. Tampa Bay is
still loaded with bait of all sizes from large threadfin herring and mullet down to the billions of glass minnows that have the fish, dolphins and birds all eating well. On the flats, the late summer/early fall push of redfish into Tampa Bay has continued. We are finally getting the numbers of fish we are accustomed to seeing, as opposed to the last couple of “lean” years when it seems most found a better deal somewhere else. They can be picky though, especially with the pressure they get at the more well known spots. It’s best to just wait on these fish rather than chase them around the flats like you’ll see many inexperienced anglers do. We are still catching some solid snook too as they congregate in preparation for their moves into the backcountry. At lower tides the deeper mangrove edges and docks have produced well for us but it takes a skilled angler to wrestle a decent redfish or even a medium sized snook out of these barnacle encrusted structures. There have been some great catches recently but also more than a few broken hearts. Still some tasty snapper and now starting to see some sheepshead around these same docks.
Out in open water the mackerel bite has been on and off but they have been good sized and when mixed in with some voracious ladyfish, it makes for some great rod-bending, poop-slinging fun! We’ve had a couple of cobia come around to investigate the action as well. The kingfish have also started their return trip south but the incessant winds have made it tough to fish for them. Last but not least the juvenile tarpon have been stacked up in their usual late summer spots. It takes a little patience at times but the payoff is well worth it as these tough, aerial acrobats take flight almost instantly when hooked and usually put on a quite a display. Still have some dates available so if you’ve been thinking about getting in on the action…make it happen!! You owe it to yourself to take advantage of the great weather and excellent fishing!! There is no better therapy.
Tight Lines, Capt. Chris
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