Inshore- The snook are a little in shock from our recent front, but should be recovering by the time you read this report. The cooler weather shocks the inshore fish just like it does to you when you walk out of the house on a cool morning. Due to this, the fish hangout in shallower areas where the water has had time to warm up, in deeper areas where the water is still warm at the bottom, or in the warm currents inside the passes as the warm gulf waters pour inshore on the incoming tides. This is true of all inshore species not just snook. Trout have been finicky due to the pressure and temps plummeting following last weekend’s front. Red fish didn’t seem as affected since John Mark, a St. Pete local, and his buddies were filling up on them with cut lady fish from the north jetty of Johns pass this past week. They also reported getting a few flounder on live shrimp while using weights to get to bottom. Sheepshead should be picking up soon around the structure inside the passes and bays. They love small pieces of shrimp on a 2ot hook with 15-20lb fluorocarbon. If the tide is ripping sometimes a few split shots are needed to get the bait in range close to the structure.
Near shore- The kingfish and mackerel have started to trickle in but we expect the full moon to bring in the rest of them! They are thick on the bait schools that are holding 3-9 miles from shore. Recently, these bait schools have come pretty close to the beaches with the full moon tides. This should lure in the mackerel and kings closer to shore. Also, Stone crab season starts October
15th this means there will be hundreds of small chum blocks sitting out in our near shore waters that will not only lure in the bait, kings, mackerel and others but it will also bring the gags closer to shore. The cooling water helps with this as well so expect nice grouper bites through October and November. November is Captain Mark’s favorite gag grouper fishing time of the year. They get plentiful on near shore ledges and structure. Gag grouper stay in specific holes; because of this you must anchor fish for these grouper. It’s much different than our red grouper drifting that we do all summer long.
Offshore- Our recent 39 hour ran straight into a cold front head on that wasn’t expected to hit till much later. Due to this they had poor weather and poor fishing. We hoped the fishing would be HOT on this trip thanks to the cold front bearing down but not hitting quite yet. Before fronts like this typically the fish feed like crazy, but due to the front coming 14 hours earlier than forecasted it really threw a wrench into our plans. We did however get some nice mangroves, a few gags, and kingfish. The amberjack weren’t so bad this weekend, but now that they closed red groupers they seem to know it and are feeding like crazy. Our recent trip threw back tons of keeper red grouper due to our recreational season being closed.
By Hubbard’s Marina
Dylan and Capt Mark Hubbard