Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Captain's Corner

Captain's Corner: Fall fish linger as cold stays away

Warmer than normal water temperatures have resulted in fall targets hanging around longer than usual and winter targets showing up late. Remember, migratory fish such as grouper, kingfish, tuna and cobia, to name a few, don't have the same calendar as we do. Their trigger to migrate has everything to do with the changes in water temperature and the migration of their prey. Kingfish are still around and as long as the bait stays in the area and temperatures stay above 68, they can be found in the area. Before this past cold front there was an epic bite happening right on the beach, from Pass-a-Grill north to Clearwater pass. Most fish were 15-20 pounds with many 30- to 40-pounders also in the mix. As the frontal winds turn east and the water nearshore starts to clear, look for pods of threadfin herring near the beach and you'll find these fish still feeding well. Looking further offshore, mangrove and yellowtail snapper are feeding heavily in 60- to 90-foot depths on ledges and smaller wrecks. As the water cools these fish will continue to move south seeking warmer waters. Typically we set up just up-tide of the structure, chumming heavily and deploying small pieces of cut sardines or live shrimp into the chum line to catch these fish. Light leaders and small hooks are key. Red grouper and amberjack will open on Jan. 1. Look for reds to be feeding on juvenile sardines in depths of 60 to 110 feet. Anchoring over small chunks of hard bottom and dropping typical fish-finder rigs baited with frozen sardines or live baits should yield a bounty of 8- to 12-pounders. For amberjack, try offshore wrecks and springs in 80- to 140-foot depths. During winter, fish in the 25- to 40-pound range make their way into these bait-rich areas. Amberjack are mature and ready to spawn around their third year (24-28 pounds) so to conserve the species we typically try to release fish of this size and take only the larger females. The larger fish yield ample meat, so only take a few.

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

Captain's Corner: Fall fish linger as cold stays away 12/20/15 [Last modified: Sunday, December 20, 2015 7:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Yankees game

    The Heater

    The 10 strikeouts look flashy, but RHP Chris Archer was not his sharpest Thursday. He allowed three runs on seven hits, including three straight in the two-run second and a Gary Sanchez homer in the third, and lasted only six innings, throwing 102 pitches.

  2. Rays fall to Yankees in 11 on Brett Gardner homer (w/ video)

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — The front office did its part Thursday, making two trades to bolster the roster in a push for the playoffs. But the Rays didn't follow up in a frustrating 6-5 11-inning loss to the Yankees.

    Rays reliever Andrew Kittredge stands on the mound and can only watch as the Yankees’ Brett Gardner starts to circle the bases after his walkoff home run leading off the 11th inning.
  3. Believe it! Rays are buyers, trade for reliever Dan Jennings and 1B/DH Lucas Duda

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — Dan Jennings' ability to render lefty hitters useless with a sinker that gets beaten into the ground and Lucas Duda's power to blast baseballs off and over outfield walls should make the Rays better.

    Lucas Duda
  4. Bucs' direction is decidedly up for first time in several years

    Bucs

    TAMPA — If you want to see a team give the Heisman Trophy stiff-arm to expectations, check out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Tight end O.J. Howard, left, the Bucs’ first-round draft pick this year, was brought in to give QB Jameis Winston another big-play option.
  5. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Friday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.