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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Autumnal Equinox

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Video Clips




.Patrick Baltmiskis hefts a whopper cobia. Cobia are revisiting the area on their way south. 

The summer doldrums are near behind us now. What Mother Nature has in store for the fall of 2003 will be a tale told soon by Father Time. The natural variables of the weather patterns have been that of the likes we have not seen in recent memory. It was a long, persistent and pesky winter/early spring. When summer came so did the rains. Most of the area has seen nearly 60 inches, nearly twice the average annual amount. Throw in a nasty red tide during the peak of tarpon season and fishermen have become a little frailed. Our first cooling front of the year is forecasted to pass tomorrow… right on time. The water has cleared considerably. As aqua farmers we have become seasoned the the natural variables of nature and particularly hardened in 2003. A new season is now upon us. We remain anxious and optimistic that everything will now fall into place.

In shore, the snook remain scattered about. Trips this week produced fish in classic fall spots that were barren just two weeks ago. As the days grow shorter and the water temperatures fall into the mid 70s, they will once again stage just outside their winter spas. Fish reluctant to bite in the dog days of August will now fire up in effort to store body fat to survive winter much like a hibernating bears. Efforts at night will be most productive in keeping up with the changing habits of one of Florida’s most sought after gamefish.

Bob Greenwald with a typical fall slot snook. Snook are now showing
up in fall locations.

Emre Umar and I had a good laugh with this backcountry tarpon. While Emre was having lunch and commenting on rolling tarpon that would not bite-a live bait being fished in an aft rod holder doubled over with this fish- Emer's first tarpon.

 In between snook encounters, the mango snapper will provide plenty of action for anglers skilled in finesse of catching these wary baiter thieves. A lot has changed in Florida fishing over recent years. Some of most fond memories of flats fishing will always be these night trips of yesteryear. I did them for fun and after my day trips with some of my closest friends and family. Many simply would never believe the fishing we had shared together on these outings if I documented them here. Or perhaps I am protective and guarded as they are just too special to share.

There have been several nice schools of reds in the area. While it has required some hunting, patient waiting on the flooded points and bars outside the creek mouths has produced some awesome results on most days with ample water. As we cool, trout and snook will share the same or similar locations. Something we have all been looking forward to all summer.

Tarpon are still worthy targets. In addition to still being present in late summer theaters of probability, they will be taken along the beaches and just offshore around migrating bait pods. In this southward migration, the fishing is anything but predictable. For those fortunate enough to have experienced this phenomenon, having the proper tackle available and rigged is standard protocol on all nearshore expeditions at this time of year.  The resident juveniles are in place and will prove the final ingredient on many fall grand slam (snook, redfish, trout, tarpon) days.


As the fronts push the bait south in fall, along with it comes a whole host of opportunities. Most often the nearshore fishing of fall is a better bet than the modern day flats. World class Spanish mackerel, cobia, bonita, and the largest king mackerel of the year will be found frenzied in the potpourri of bait. The density and close proximity will easy pickings by marauding gamefish and anglers alike. A few jumbo grouper are starting to join the legions of plentiful undersized gags inside of 45 feet. We are expecting them even closer and just a few miles off the shoreline with this weekend’s passing front. 
Chad Buckner with a nice school red. Reds are schooled up now in relation to their fall spawning patterns.

The Autumnal Equinox passed on the 23rd with the hours of light and dark now virtually even and progressively moving toward less hours of light. The biological clock of game fish has now chimed. A much welcomed cool front is on the way. 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 28SEP03
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