TS Eta dampens fishing a few days, then the bite takes off

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Donald Lewis of Parrish shows off a 26-inch yellowtail snapper he caught Nov. 15 using a pilchard for bait in 110 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico on a charter trip with Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters.
August Mrozowski, vacationing on Anna Maria Island from Springfield, Illinois, shows off a bonita caught and released Nov. 6 a couple of miles from the AMI shore on a charter fishing trip with Capt. David White.

Before we start fishing, I hope everyone fared well during the tropical development we experienced Nov. 11-12.

Now that all the chores of cleaning up in the yard are finished, it’s time to get back on the water — there is plenty to do and much to catch!

Whether you fish inshore on the flats or offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, the bite is good.

Catch-and-release action on the inshore trio — snook, redfish and trout — is going to fire off as we experience a new cold front. These fish are already feeding heavily trying to pack on the pounds for winter. This means the next cold spell should finalize the deal — triggering them to gorge themselves one last time before the winter chill drops the water temps.

Migratory fish — kingfish, mackerel and bonito — are feeding heavily along the Gulf beaches. With vast amounts of bait present, these fish will remain in the area. As the bait leaves, you’ll notice these fish will, too, as they follow the bait south and offshore.

Fishing offshore is yielding similar results — there are plenty of migratory species present. You can add cobia to the list, as well as bottom fishing offshore for mangrove snapper and gag grouper.

Capt. Aaron Lowman is working the Gulf beaches within a couple of miles of shore with good results. Anchoring and chumming in depths or 20-30 feet is yielding excellent action on migratory fish — kingfish, bonito, Spanish mackerel and sharks. Moving inshore to the flats of Tampa Bay, Lowman is finding great catch-and-release action for his sport fishers. Snook, redfish and spotted seatrout are reacting to live bait offerings quite nicely, according to Lowman.

Targeting the reds around mullet schools on shallow flats in the bays also is proving to be especially good. Casting live baits or fresh-cut chunks of ladyfish is attracting these fish to the hook.

Capt. Jason Stock is targeting migratory species along the beaches, as well as offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Kingfish are the most apparent and are ranging 30-40 inches with some larger fish in the mix. Big macks and plenty of bonito are being caught in the same waters as the kings.

Bottom fishing while offshore is yielding good results for Stock, especially on keeper-size gag grouper. Examining floating debris in the Gulf is worthwhile, too, as Stock is putting clients on numerous tripletail in this fashion.

Lastly, congratulations to Stock for recently taking 11th place in the King of the Beach tournament Nov. 7 in Madeira Beach.

Capt. David White is patrolling the beaches with his clients in search of migratory fish. Spanish mackerel, kingfish and bonito are obliging and keeping his anglers happy. All three species are great action on medium spinning tackle as they are capable of making long, drag-screaming runs numerous times prior to being brought boat-side.

Moving inshore, White’s anglers are catching and releasing many snook, redfish and spotted seatrout.

Send high-resolution photos and fishing reports to fish@islander.org.