Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Captain’s Corner: Flexible schedule a key in cold weather

Getting offshore in recent weeks has been a challenge with high winds from cold fronts. Planning trips during this time of year is difficult, but a flexible schedule can result in fantastic conditions. We had a couple of days of exceptional conditions this past week as winds fell to nothing and the flat, calm seas looked something like a summer day. But a warm day doesnít mean the fish are going to jump in the boat. The two major cold snaps in early January are still haunting us with some of the coolest water temperatures in a long time. On recent trips to depths of more than 100 feet, surface temperatures were in the mid 50s, which likely had temperatures on the bottom in the 40s. Red grouper are the main target offshore now, and theyíre well adapted to warmer waters. But when temperatures drop this low, these fish tend to run deeper seeking more tolerable conditions. This is a problem now as gulf grouper anglers are prohibited in the take of any shallow-water grouper outside of the 20-fathom line (120 feet). The answer is a less-aggressive style of fishing. Normally we spend 15-20 minutes on a spot, but now itís taking a bit longer to get these sluggish fish to take our offerings. Also, when we anchor, we drop a variety of baits such as live pinfish, frozen sardines, bonita strips and squid.

Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.


Captainís Corner: Use a cast net with smallest mesh size for usable bait fish

Using a cast net with the smallest mesh size is imperative in acquiring usable bait fish that donít gill themselves. The smaller baits are fragile and need to be dumped out of the net and into the well as quickly as possible to keep them lively. Any ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Captainís Corner: New moon has better grouper fishing farther offshore

Grouper fishing inside 160 feet continues to be a challenge due to the proximity of the new moon. This moon phase has the currents offshore moving at a pace that would rival a small river. Look for the bite to improve as we move away from this phase....
Published: 08/20/18

Captainís Corner: Snook numbers dwindling as spawn season nears its end

Luckily, we havenít had any signs of Red Tide in North Pinellas, so fishing last week was full of action, as long as we were in an area with moving water. Snook are still staging along the points near the passes, however, the numbers are dwindling as...
Published: 08/18/18
Updated: 08/19/18

Captainís Corner: With Red Tide, a big decline in fish

This past mid-week we were scouting for the St. Pete Open spearing tournament, which was held Saturday (more at stpeteopen.com/). We ran directly west of Venice to see if the Red Tide had made its way from the shoreline to 50 miles or more from shore...
Published: 08/17/18
Updated: 08/18/18

Captainís Corner: Variety of baits gives you options

Tossing a quarter-inch mesh net will fill your well with bait ranging from snapper bait all the way up to slab-sized redfish baits. Having a variety of bait opens up options. Snapper have been just about anywhere there is some kind of structure. Taki...
Published: 08/17/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing is still hot even as Red Tide looms

As of now, Pinellas and all of Tampa Bay are still being spared of Red Tide. It has been sitting in Manatee County for a while and has yet to push further north. I am on the water almost every day. Bait has been easy to get, and fishing continues to ...
Published: 08/15/18

Captainís Corner: Mangrove snapper on fly

Mangrove (gray) snapper are often encountered while drifting the flats this time of year as they school in preparation for spawning later. When using a typical 8 or 9 weight fly rod with size 1 or 1/0 baitfish type flies while targeting redfish and t...
Published: 08/13/18
Updated: 08/14/18

Captainís Corner: Cast net skills come in handy

Threadfin herring and scaled sardines can be found up and down our Suncoast with ease. Most bait is on the smaller side, so have a quarter-inch mess cast net to prevent the smaller baits from getting stuck in the net. Spanish mackerel, kingfish, cobi...
Published: 08/11/18
Updated: 08/13/18

Captainís Corner: Head offshore to target mangrove snapper

Inshore fishing can slow in the late summer as afternoon water temperatures climb near 90. Many shallow-water fish are lethargic and reluctant to bite, so we run all of our trips offshore. Clean, blue water and a wider variety of fishing options are ...
Published: 08/10/18
Updated: 08/11/18
Captainís Corner: Summertime is running out, but tarpon are still strong

Captainís Corner: Summertime is running out, but tarpon are still strong

As we wind down into the last part of summer, most of us get focused on getting the kids back to school. While it can be a bit overwhelming as life just seems to be too busy, keep in mind that downtime on the water is important, and fishing this mont...
Published: 08/07/18
Updated: 08/09/18