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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
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!
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Past Florida Fishing Report