As we enter the tail end of summer, significant signs of fall are prevalent. Of course, it's still hot and steamy outside, but water temperatures in the gulf have dropped into the 80s. For weeks, temps as high as 93 were common on our thermometer — abnormal even for central Florida. Algae blooms are one result. Now that afternoon rain is falling almost daily, expect temps to slowly drop even further. This time of year juvenile baitfish are migrating our way. This triggers other migrations. Spanish mackerel and bonito are surprising many anglers with their speedy attacks. Some grouper and snapper are close behind on some shallower rocks. Large schools of Spanish sardines have also been prevalent at 50- to 80-foot depths. They seem to be wherever we catch red grouper. Red grouper fishing has been work all year, so the new arrivals of bait are welcomed. Grouper fishing has been spotty lately inside 40 miles. One day they seem eager with our limits reached, the next day the fishing is slow. I and many other pros believe that there are just not as many grouper inside 30 miles compared to the past five years. However, the beauty of our ever-changing gulf fishing is that next week, great numbers could show up overnight.
Dave Mistretta captains Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or visit jawstoo.com.