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Fall Falling Into Place
The cooling rains are welcome in late summer to help keep water temperatures on the flats below 90 degrees, but when the runoff stains the water to a dark tannic and the salinity on the flats changes to near fresh, conditions become very challenging.
“Spotty” I suppose is the best way to sum up the past couple of weeks. There have been some long days punctuated by some inconsistent flurries of action. Naturally everyone has there own interpretation of good fishing, but as a fishing guide, I am glad the dog days are near behind us. The signs of fall are now falling into place.
It’s a transition time for snook. They now are
returning from the outside areas of higher salinity staple to their
reproduction cycle. Fish are now beginning to fall back to staging
areas just outside of their winter haunts. Until we experience the
first passing front of late September-early October, the fish will be
spread out from the beaches, passes, areas just inside and all points
well inside larger creeks and coastal rivers.
There have been a few schools of reds on the flats, particularly as the last full moon matured. We had several outstanding trips with them, however, with the big tides and added amounts of freshwater, they were difficult to pattern more than two days straight. Early this week we had an outstanding day with them, though we worked from area to area not catching more than two in one spot in reaching the total number of a couple of dozen by days end. Creek mouths and rivers on the last one third of the flood tide were most productive.
Juvenile tarpon are definitely present and active for at least the first hours of light. We hooked two fish on Monday, but overall they were moody compared to the numbers we saw on Sunday. As the water temperatures drop to upper 70’s, juvenile tarpon will become more consistent targets for greater lengths of periods during the day and will be the final ingredient for Gulf Coast grand slams.
The first signs of fall activity are upon us now. Traditionally, Columbus Day serves as the benchmark for the kickoff of peak fall fishing. In this time, snook, redfish, trout and jacks will share the same spots. King and Spanish mackerel, along with a few jumbo cobia will spark frenzies nearshore. With some luck, a decent inshore grouper bite will make last year’s off cycle just a memory. As well, some decent size mango snapper have started to be taken on the inshore reefs and rip raff this past dark moon. That is very encouraging for us in the upper Suncoast, as they too were off last fall from years past.
Screaming Drags and Tired Arms!
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Last Update 13SEP02
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