Chantele Oaks of Casper, Wyo., holds an amberjack she caught while on vacation to Anna Maria Island. Oaks was fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire and used a live pinfish in about 150 feet of water depth.
The Rev. Greg Dumas of The Crossing Church in Brandon shows off the cobia he caught on a live pinfish about 130 feet from the Anna Maria shore while fishing with Capt. Larry McGuire.
Redfish to begin spawn; beach action heating up
With this week’s full moon, redfish, which have already invaded the local bays in large numbers, will begin to spawn. Many will head to the Gulf and passes.
Already some large schools of redfish have swarmed local bays, making them the primary target of many inshore anglers.
Capt. Scott Moore said his anglers have been catching lots of oversize redfish, trout, Spanish mackerel and a few snook. But don’t forget about flounder. “They’re scattered, and the best place is probably in the passes,” Moore said. “And don’t forget about docks. There’s always flounder lying around docks.”
Moore said anglers should be careful when catching redfish because porpoises have been gobbling up hooked reds. “Not much you can do about that but move,” he said.
Moore said there is Spanish mackerel in the Gulf reefs, and anywhere there are bait pods in the shipping channel and the passes. There are still some tarpon around, and one reportedly was caught around the Rod & Reel Pier. “All we need is a little cooler air,” he said. “Another week or two, hopefully it will cool down.”
Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me the Fish Charters out of Cortez Fishing Center said his offshore anglers are catching gag and red grouper, and nice mangrove snapper, but anglers will have to head to at least 130 of water depth. He added there also have been some cobia, amberjack, sharks and barracudas in those areas. He said there are more cobia showing up, which is typical in the fall because they tend to migrate to the Panhandle to cool off when it’s extremely hot, then migrate south in the fall before spending the winter where it is warmer. “Kind of like kingfish,” McGuire said.
Capt. Warren Girle said offshore there are a lot of mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel. Girle also reported a 31-pound barracuda. Inshore, he reported a 32-inch snook, a few large schools of redfish in north Sarasota Bay and lots of trout that are especially hot in the morning on top-water plugs.
Capt. T.J. Stewart of Cast Away Charters said there had been some tarpon around the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. He said in addition to a phenomenal redfish bite, there had been a lot of trout around 18 inches. He said there are a lot of sharks and Spanish mackerel as well. The full moon will move a lot of fish around, which he said will make locating some species tricky. “Even though it’s catch-and-release, snook fishing at night might turn on,” Stewart said. “That’s a good time to catch redfish on the flats sometimes on the full moon. I’ve had some pretty wild night out there redfishing … and on trout, too.”
Jonny Keyes from Island Discount Tackle at Catchers Marina said inshore anglers have been fishing off the beaches for a lot of ladyfish, jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel. He said if he’s using artificial, he sticks with top-water MirrOlures, Yo-Zuris, and Rapalas. “I’ve been getting a real good bite in the morning off the high tide,” he said. “That’s better than in the afternoon because the water’s cooler.”
In the bays, he reported the morning high tide also is ideal with top-water lures. He said anglers are getting some big redfish and trout. “Really you can target the reds going into Sarasota Bay and target them with that top-water stuff,” he said. “There’s a lot of ladyfish hanging out with the reds. They seem to be the bycatch.”
Offshore, Keyes received reports that around 1- and 3-mile reefs there have been some nice mangrove snapper, flounder, Spanish mackerel and keeper gag grouper. He also had luck farther offshore, 20-80 miles, and said any changes in the bottom can be holding mangrove, red, hog and lane snapper, triggerfish, amberjack, blackfin tuna, decent Mahi-Mahi and a variety of grouper.
Capt. Mark Howard of SumoTime Fishing Charters said the summer-to-fall transition has begun. He said the water temperature is averaging 83 degrees, a drop from 89 degrees a few weeks ago. “Look for the water temperature to trend downward, which is fantastic for fishing,” Howard said. “The bait schools are thick in Tampa Bay and off the beaches. These actions are causing the fishing in the Anna Maria area to really turn on.”
Howard said on Sept. 16, fishing with Dustin Thomas and Cindy McClure, his anglers fished off the beaches for blacktip sharks, lemon sharks, big Spanish mackerel, bluefish and an 80-pound tarpon. He said the fishing off the beaches of Anna Maria is starting to heat up.
“The pompano are schooling in our area and readily taking shrimp, fiddler crabs, sand fleas and artificial jigs,” Howard said. “The trough just off the surf line has been holding these tasty silver fish. I also have been seeing them skip in my boat wake as I traverse the deeper grass areas. Go to your local tackle shop to get help in choosing the special style of jigs used to catch pompano.”
He said speckled trout and redfish are feeding heavily on all the shiner schools. “I have been catching beautiful speckled trout and nice mixed-sized redfish from Miguel Bay down to Longbar in Sarasota,” he said. “Set up in 2-8 feet of water and chum with shiners to get the action going.”
Capt. Steven Salgado said there has been a load of mangrove snapper in the bay, but he suggests fishing in the early morning for trout.
He said within 10 miles of the beaches, there have been hogfish that have been caught on shrimp. “We really caught quite a few,” he said. “Not real big, but 5-6 pounds.”
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