Florida Fishing Report: Florida Fishing Charters

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The Bounty Shines in Autumn Unconfined

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Adam Bresovits released this oversized snook last week aboard the Bounty Hunter.

A series of mild cold fronts passed us last week. We have had strong and pesky north to east winds for a solid 10 days. Strong ridges of high pressure lasting more than a couple of days have had adverse effects on fishing anywhere in the northern hemisphere. Yes, there is much truth to “east is the least”. Nonetheless, we took advantage of what the fish gods gave us and made our days into whatever we could. Over all, the fish are spread out – few and far between, but what they are lacking in quantity has been made up for in quality.

Already temperamental snook are just downright maddening under blue bird skies and an easterly flow. The fish are staged in the traditional fall areas and the water temperature is right, but they have not turned on to their full fall potential. While we have had some good days with them, it has been serious work fishing under the blue bird skies. Finally, we are forecasted for a weather change tomorrow and more snooky type conditions are in our future. With the strong tides and southerly flow - it should be a productive and welcome change from the chamber of commerce days we have been having.

Rich Hansen (R) and Michael Overstreet with a pair of gator trout.

The legendary snook master himself, Michael Overstreet with a beaut taken in tight quarters and blue bird skies.

Bob Hansen with a hefty cobia taken on light spin tackle. Cobia are migrating south through the area right now.

 Large trout are starting to show on the outside bars along with the oddball redfish and snook. We had several days where we caught over 50 trout in the 2 to 4 lb range on a single drop of the anchor. This typical autumn pattern has not quite fully matured, but there have been several “slams” (snook, redfish, trout) taken the past two weeks off a single spot. The large spawning schools of reds have not been as consistent as they were just 2 to 3 weeks ago, but they are where you expect to find them on any given day. Jacks are terrorizing the same areas. On a recent near-shore trip we caught ladyfish and trout as by-catch while mackerel fishing. Since these species are still in their summer locations, it is a good indication that typical fall species remain spread throughout their ranges. However, with a few quality fish of each of these species being caught on traditional fall spots the past two weeks, it’s a sure sign they are on their way.

Near shore and away from the glamour species of the flats, the same type scenario is being played out. We took keeper grouper in 8 feet of water 3 miles offshore this weekend. Grouper are generally an offshore species that migrate to near shore waters in spring and fall. Best depths now are out in 25 to 35 feet. For those with guarded GPS books, there will be enough fish in less than 15 feet of water to make a successful trip just off the shoreline. A slow cooling pattern is key for the shallow water bite to heat up and peak in November. Thus far-it looks good for 2003


Bluefish are wreaking havoc on the near shore reefs and rock piles. Most are averaging 3 to 4 lbs, though one managed to strip a reel complete of 125 yards of line on Sunday. Can you say bug fish? Spanish mackerel are everywhere; on the deep grass flats, off the beaches, hard bottom and around the artificial reefs. Cobia are migrating back through these same areas as well. Keep your eyes open for the “brown bombers” in your chum slicks while fishing Spanish and king mackerel. Inshore anglers need to keep an eye out while chumming for bait in the early AM as cobia are notorious in the fall for being found near the bait pods on the flats. They can be targeted on the flats by sight casting at them while riding the wings of large southern stingrays, hanging around the channel markers or just cruising salt n’ pepper bottom that make classic trout habitat. There have been some reports of kingfish being taken by those fishing flat lines while anchored over structure for grouper, but as of date-the main run has yet to arrive.
If you look real closely-you can see the houses on the shoreline just three miles east of this keeper grouper Bob Hansen caught in 8 feet of water. Grouper are on their way to shallow water.

We ran into a unique bite the other day with the species known as “houndfish”. For whatever reason, the prehistoric fish were stacked on some live bottom just offshore. When this species reaches the lengths of over 4 foot they offer some sizzling runs and awesome displays of acrobatics. Houndfish are not a species you would want to target on a regular basis, but on this particular day they were invading our spot while light tackle spin fishing for other reef fish. A few years back, the bill of a leaping fish near stabbed me. Over the weekend while I was handling a very large one, it managed to twist back and clamp down on my arm as I reached down to grab it from the deck. This was not a moment of pleasure as you can imagine if you have ever seen their teeth structure. The larger specimens are insane fish that are in need of large quantities of Prozac. Handle them with respect as they can pose a risk of injury to even the experienced. 

Fall is falling into place and it's time to getcha some!

Screaming Drags and Tired Arms!

Robert McCue


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Florida Fishing Report

Last Update 28OCT03
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