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Two solid weeks of warm temperatures brought a potpourri of action on the near-shore waters as of late. White magic (scaled sardines) returned in numbers worth throwing a 10 foot net for, and several species responded to the calling.
With the right winds and corresponding barometer, snook crawled out from hiding. They were taken just inside river mouths and spring feed creeks. While there were several days that they snubbed our offerings, other days saw excellent action. The key was the ever so valuable water temperature gage. Potholes in the creek and rivers in the 3 to 5 foot depths radiating temperatures between 71 and 73 degrees saw the best action. Though present in the deep confines of bends, troughs, and canals, the classic fall spots got the nod.
Trout that were hovering around the power plant moved out to the flats miles from the steam plant. Mixed in as well were silver trout, ladyfish, bluefish and marauding jacks. Jumbo jacks that poured out of the discharge canal were found miles away reeking havoc on schools of anchovies. With the aide of the gulls and Royal turns locating the bait, finding the chaos was not much of a problem. In all the above-described fishing, action was best found on days that we casually drifted the flats jigging. When schools of trout were found, over went the anchor and out with the white crickets.
From Anclote Key to the deep grass flats off of Bayport, Spanish mackerel took flies, sardines, and just about anything we offered. Surprisingly the larger macks were taken on the inside of the passes. Both sides of the Anclote Keys produced Big Mack attacks for as long as the tide was on the flood. If you are fortunate to catch a nice blue runner or ladyfish while jigging in these areas, get them in the live well! Rig them with a wire leader and trailing stinger hook and let them free-line off the back off the boat. There is some smoker kingfish in the 30lb. class in that area right now! One caught me off guard one day. The next day the monster wasnt so lucky. Once bitten, twice shy.
Snook, redfish, and tarpon were not the highlights of days gone past. This is typical of a late transition period when fish are scattered. With the exception of "by request" to fish the glamour species, it was best not to with all of the other action being hard to pass up. Snook and redfish will soon tighten up and winter fishing "rules" will apply.
A good jolt of cool air is moving across the state today. Anglers over the following days should seek the backwaters and warm discharges for an expected pompano and permit bite. Last year saw many great days with these tasty delights. My prediction is, the following days will be no different.
Meteorologists stated this week that the Pacific Ocean waters seem to be heading towards a neutral pattern. La Nina and El Nino effects may not be present in the upcoming year. Its just a guess, but what ever will we do in a normal weather pattern after the last two years?
The front will bring more progressive changes in the fishing the next week. Stay close to the shoreline and inside a bit, thats where theyll all be.
Screaming drags and tired arms!Robert McCue
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