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Moons & Weather

Only A Few More Weeks To Go

Just a few more weeks of the dog days of summer are ahead. While the weather will remain warm into October, the ratio of daylight to darkness will spark fish movements and feeding habits.

Snook are on the return from the beaches. The action will be spotty until the first fronts of fall cross the state in September. Efforts will be best placed in the passes around deepwater structures and drop-offs. In particular look for areas that feature grass flats that are 3 feet in depth and sandy "potholes".

Redfish will start to school the next few weeks and will last well into October. Flats adjacent to passes that feature mangrove tree lines, oyster bars and hard grassy bottom are top spots. Cul-de-sacs, small islands or keys and small bayous that are fed by creeks are sure to host reds as well. The water is stained this year with tannic acid from all the recent rains and approaching these fish should be easier than in gin clear conditions. The temptation to chase these fish is always great, but there are better ways to catch these fish. Generally speaking they are moving to a specific location. This maybe an oyster bar surrounded by potholes on the rising tide or a rocky shoreline just outside a point on the outgoing. If you patiently ambush them in these types of scenarios, you will catch far more fish then chasing them all over a flat.

Tarpon are holding strong in the upper reaches of Tampa Bay. They have been somewhat of a challenge this year for those of us who like to plug and cork them on the deep flats of the Bay. Simply put they are present, yet refuse to roll for any length of time. They have been showing best at first light and the action is over by 11AM most days. While there has been written reports in the local paper of 6 to 12 fish being jumped per day as of late, those of us who spend countless hours looking for and fishing these fish know that is not so. Further, I am willing to bet such writers have not even landed a tarpon in the Bay yet this year. The truth of the matter is much more than hype. A well-presented bait (threadfins have produced best for me this year) in front of a lazy finning tarpon at dawn will get the bite. After 45 minutes of landing a 100-lb. fish and returning to the theater of production, the fish are showing less frequently. A second fish is doing well; a third is great, and a 4th a near impossible feat. The big bridges are producing around the strong tides of the moons when the weather allows you to fish them.

Mangrove snapper fishing will peak over the next 8 weeks. Mangos are one of my favorite species to fish and to eat. They can be found on inshore rockpiles, channel edges and oyster bars to nearshore reefs, wrecks and ledges. They are notorious bait stealers and offer fantastic finesse fishing while casting at these structures on the flats. Small scaled sardines freelined on a moving tide get the nod.

Fall fishing is right around the corner…book early!

Screaming Drags and Tired Arms!

Robert McCue

Past Reports

1999 Report Archive  11JANOO  19JAN00 29JANOO 11FEB00

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