Sunday, December 17, 2017
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Conditions change drastically in Hermine aftermath

In the aftermath of Hurricane Hermine, fishing offshore will not be the same. Waves cresting at 20-25 feet and fast-moving water had the reef fish looking for cover. Another effect that many people do not consider is a large shift in salinity due to huge amounts of freshwater deposits in one area of the gulf. This causes pelagic species to look for better water conditions for a week or so. In the grouper and snapper category, look at higher relief structures such as wrecks. Concentrate your efforts in depths no less than 80 feet for a while as the clarity inshore will be pretty bad for a week or so. If you fish in the shallower water, I suggest a mix of sardines, squid and other assorted cut baits as this is the only way fish will be able to find food in dirty water. If weather permits and you have the vessel to do so, a trip to areas such as the Elbow and the Middle Grounds is a good bet. Large breaks should be holding good numbers of gag grouper for at least a week or two. Pelagic species such as tuna, mahimahi and wahoo will take a bit more of a run for a while. Before the storm, we located great fishing in the 200- to 400-foot depths. Deeper or shallower water was green and lifeless. Looking at water temperatures offshore should give you a key on where this "blue water" has gone. Again, it should take a few days for the currents to return to normal, so a wait-and-see approach will help you not waste fuel and time running around looking for good water. Generally after a storm passes, the Intracoastal Waterway and offshore waters are littered with floating debris. Some can be large enough to damage or sink a boat, so keep your eyes open when running and try to avoid running in the dark.

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

Comments

Captainís Corner: Bottom fishing is good with dropping gulf water temperatures

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Published: 12/16/17

Captainís Corner: Look for that strong speckled trout bite on grass flats

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Published: 12/15/17

Captainís Corner: Drop in gulf water temperature means itís sea trout time

The gulf temperature has dropped significantly since our first real cold front last week. One day the water was in the mid 70s, then after the front, it fell to the low 60s. That caused speckled sea trout to become a reliable target. Redfish have bee...
Published: 12/14/17

Captainís Corner: Good time for shallow-water flats fishing

Shallow-water flats fishing can be very exciting this time of year. Trout and redfish are available in good numbers, and the opportunities to catch some gator trout have made recent trips very rewarding. Some of the largest trout have been in very sk...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/13/17

Captainís Corner: Seek clear water for bottom fishing as temperatures plummet

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Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Captainís Corner: Sheepshead action lively in cooler weather

Conditions after the cold front are cool and are going to be for a while. That doesnít mean you canít or shouldnít fish. Many anglers get stuck on snook, reds and trout and forget how fun it is to catch sheepshead. Many reefs are already holding good...
Published: 12/09/17
Updated: 12/10/17

Captainís Corner: Fishing will return to normal, but when?

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Published: 12/08/17
Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

I canít believe we are in the last month of the year. And while this is one of my favorite months to fish, it will be controlled by weather. As cold fronts become more frequent and harsh, planning your trips around them will make the biggest differen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Captainís Corner: Strong results for redfish, speckled trout

This is a great time for variety. Combined trips for speckled trout and redfish are achieving excellent results. With the correct approach, great catches of both species are a reality now. The best anglers use the lightest tackle. Light rods and reel...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Captainís Corner: Take advantage of abundant gag grouper before season ends

Gag grouper fishing and spearing is hot. The season for these grouper in the Gulf of Mexico is winding down, with a slated closure at the end of this month. The cooler water has the gags moving closer, and they are happy when the bottom temperatures ...
Published: 12/05/17