Florida Fishing Report

Florida Fishing Report: Florida Fishing Charters

Our Florida fishing report page offers up to date information on fishing in the Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, Orlando and Boca Grande area of Florida's West Coast.For more information on our Florida fishing charters and tarpon fishing charters, please click the link below

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Florida Fishing Report

Fall Falling Into Place

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Shorter days and longer nights, accompanied with plenty of rain have cooled the waters some six degrees in the past week. It has been a long hot end to summer here on the Gulf Coast. While rainfall averages as a whole for the year are still below normal, on the monthly breakdown, we are well above average the past 3 months. 

Becky Muellner shows a nice red on a recent trip with husband Scott.

The cooling rains are welcome in late summer to help keep water temperatures on the flats below 90 degrees, but when the runoff stains the water to a dark tannic and the salinity on the flats changes to near fresh, conditions become very challenging. 

“Spotty” I suppose is the best way to sum up the past couple of weeks. There have been some long days punctuated by some inconsistent flurries of action. Naturally everyone has there own interpretation of good fishing, but as a fishing guide, I am glad the dog days are near behind us. The signs of fall are now falling into place.

It’s a transition time for snook. They now are returning from the outside areas of higher salinity staple to their reproduction cycle. Fish are now beginning to fall back to staging areas just outside of their winter haunts. Until we experience the first passing front of late September-early October, the fish will be spread out from the beaches, passes, areas just inside and all points well inside larger creeks and coastal rivers.

There have been a few schools of reds on the flats, particularly as the last full moon matured. We had several outstanding trips with them, however, with the big tides and added amounts of freshwater, they were difficult to pattern more than two days straight. Early this week we had an outstanding day with them, though we worked from area to area not catching more than two in one spot in reaching the total number of a couple of dozen by days end. Creek mouths and rivers on the last one third of the flood tide were most productive.

A few gator trout have shown around the last bars guarding the larger creek mouths to the north. Its still early, but they are on their way. On the inside of the barrier islands and on the offshore flats, school sized trout, scattered Spanish mackerel, bluefish, small sharks and jacks have been terrorizing bait pods.


Juvenile tarpon are definitely present and active for at least the first hours of light. We hooked two fish on Monday, but overall they were moody compared to the numbers we saw on Sunday. As the water temperatures drop to upper 70’s, juvenile tarpon will become more consistent targets for greater lengths of periods during the day and will be the final ingredient for Gulf Coast grand slams.

The first signs of fall activity are upon us now. Traditionally, Columbus Day serves as the benchmark for the kickoff of peak fall fishing. In this time, snook, redfish, trout and jacks will share the same spots. King and Spanish mackerel, along with a few jumbo cobia will spark frenzies nearshore. With some luck, a decent inshore grouper bite will make last year’s off cycle just a memory. As well, some decent size mango snapper have started to be taken on the inshore reefs and rip raff this past dark moon. That is very encouraging for us in the upper Suncoast, as they too were off last fall from years past.

Screaming Drags and Tired Arms!

Robert McCue


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Last Update 13SEP02
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