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. Rays say they don't want to be satisfied with hovering around .500

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to briefly get back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Corey Dickerson gets a high-five from third-base coach Charlie Montoyo after tying the score at 1 with a leadoff home run to the opposite field in the first inning of Monday’s late Rays-Angels game, his 12th homer this season.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has

    Sports

    ST. PETERSBURG

    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.
  4. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

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

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Fennelly: This season's Chris Archer is a pleasure to watch

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    At this time last season, through 10 starts, Rays pitcher Chris Archer was 3-5 on his way to 9-19.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, May 21, 2017.