Fall is on the way and the fish are feeling it in the waters off Lands End Marina. The magic days of 70-degree water temperatures are headed our way. Get in on the action early and take full advantage of some of the best fishing of the year. Here’s what local anglers have been reeling in this month.
As the Gulf starts to cool, the redfish begin to school. You can target the entire school and up catch counts if you handle the situation with care. Schooling fish are skittish and shy away from intrusive anglers. To take advantage of schools, start early on a clear, windless day in shallow water and watch for the v-shaped push of moving fish. Try to target the fsh on the sides of the school. If you can set up in front of a school and let them come to you, you’ll catch more fish. If you spook the school, you’re done.
Grouper are still going strong in the Gulf. Our very own Zeus and Alex went out with Captain Billy Nobles and landed thier limit of red grouper, gag grouper and scamp in 60-foot of water over hard bottom off St. Pete. The grouper hit white bait, pinfish, and grunts. They also pulled up a cobia and a nurse shark (Video Below), which was released to help preserve the shark population in the Gulf. Sharks are fun to catch, but we recommend returning these top predators to their native habitat.
Spanish mackerel are still biting big time in the Bay, especially around the radio towers, artificial reefs and bridge pilings where they can hang out and hunt for baitfish. Bird strikes or surface movement can mark the location of a mackerel school in open water. Using hooks with long shanks helps prevent bite-off. Mackerel are plentiful, and since they’re not finicky eaters, they’re pretty easy to catch. They’ll happily hit on live bait or artificials, especially if you chum the water or hang a block off the side of the boat.
Casting for trout in the shallows and grass flats along the shore surrounding Lands End Marina is a great way to spend the day. These popular game fish have very soft mouths, so set the hook gently to avoid losing them. In warmer months, trout especially love to hide in shallow water with a mix of grass and white sandy potholes. Later on in the winter as the water begins to cool, they’ll start looking for warmer spots with muddy bottoms. The trout in Tampa Bay are biting on both lures and live bait, especially shrimp.