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
Bobby Stubbs (R) with a "smoker"
king. Kingfish are migrating on their fall run south.
Nature has offered us a very gradual cooling process and we are getting
some extended fall play. Weather patterns the past two to three years
have left little for me to write fondly of, but I will justly pay homage
to the queen and say we appreciate it. Father Time will again gain the
upper hand with his old pal Jack Frost, but neither is being seen in the
Nearshore fishing is offering the best opportunities. Migrating
bait stacks have the Spanish mackerel in frenzy. Diving birds are
a dead give away of the speedsters below. Mackerel are notorious
for running on the outside edges of the bait. As the baits on the
outer edges move to the middle to avoid the mackerel, the bait
becomes tighter and densely packed. The mackerel slice through the
dark clouds of bait wounding the minnows and then circle back to
feast on the falling morsels of food. Gulls and terns sometimes
get so thick while feeding on the scrapes, they are often found by
fisherman on their radar screens.
Steinbicker took this resident fall tarpon in the
Dr. Diaz hefts a beautiful fall snook. Snook
are staging inside the deeper creeks and major rivers.
If you can keep a bait in the water long enough, school king
mackerel to the mid twenty lb. class can be found in the same
locations. For those specifically targeting kingfish, they are
scattered in all depths and moving daily with the bait. Throw in
the numerous sharks and the occasional cobia and the day will be
busy but made with little effort.
Gag grouper are in shallow now. There has been a lot of
floating grass making trolling plugs difficult. Best bets are
going to your time proven spots in 8 to 35 feet of water and
bottom fishing. To fire up the bite, start of with cut bait. Once
you get a few fish feeding, lower down a jumbo live greenback
while occasionally chumming with slightly wounded minnows. As the
bite slows, cast the live baits in a semi circle behind the boat
to get any fish hanging on the otter edges of your efforts. If you
have not achieved your limit, check the surrounding hard bottom
areas for “spikes” of bait. At this time of year, you often do
not need to move far to get on more fish that often are around
these “spikes”. King and Spanish mackerel are probable species
in these same areas and a flatline fished in a rod holder is the
way to get them
Inshore, snook, redfish and trout are making
up the bags. The tides are now lower than the summer tides. Add in
a northeasterly wind direction and you will have to plan your day
according to how much water you have to reach the fish and whether
there will be water on the structure that holds them. Catching
snook, redfish and trout on the same spots is common now. Most
productive areas are the last oyster bars guarding river/ creek
mouths and the mangrove lines in the same areas at high tide.
Jacks, bluefish, and mackerel all are being
taken on the flats at this time as well. While the giant tarpon
are all but gone, they will remain a possibility just offshore in
the bait pods. Juvenile tarpon are active and feeding in the
deeper holes adjacent to the Gulf as well as deep inside the
Eventually a major blow will sweep the state
and drop the comfort zone of many of these species below their
liking. Florida is not often associated with having “seasons”,
but going from summer to winter conditions all too often can
happen overnight. It will take a short period of time for most of
the fish to acclimate to the changes and then we’ll be in a
typical weather pattern. For now-no complaints from me.
"Gator" trout are staging as we
move into winter.
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Past Florida Fishing Report