Sunday, December 17, 2017
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Wind patterns favor fishing close to shore

Hard northeast winds have been keeping long offshore runs to a minimum for a while. But this same wind pattern has made fishing close to shore much better. Baitfish tend to swim into moving water, no matter if the water is moving because of current or the wind. This pattern has threadfin herring, small blue runners and cigar minnows covering just about every strip of hard bottom from the beach out to about 20 feet. For kingfish, finding the bait is key. Just because you have caught kingfish in a certain spot in the past does not mean they will be there now. Bait concentrations are on the move every day, and if you find them on even sand bottom, there are sure to be some big kings nearby. This past week we were lucky enough to find a huge school of bait on sand bottom just south of markers 9 and 10 in the shipping channel. Feeding on these baits we encountered cobia, both king and Spanish mackerel, sharks and bonito. Every bait that went out was smashed the second it hit the water. The migration of gag grouper is a bit behind this year because of warmer than normal water temperatures. These fish are heading down our way, but they will need at least two good cold fronts to push them into our area. Look for them to start showing up in good numbers in the 50- to 60-foot depths west of Clearwater first. Live baits such as pinfish, grunts and squirrelfish will lead to banner catches until we start seeing water temperatures dipping into the 60s.

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

The past few weeks have delivered lots of cold air, dropping water temperatures in the gulf. Thermometers are reading in the low 60s. This is going to change a few things closer to shore. Anglers will find an absence of kingfish on many of the spots ...
Published: 12/16/17

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

The speckled trout bite has taken off nicely after the first good cold front last weekend. You will find a consistent bite along the grass flats from Apollo Beach down to Pinellas Point. The sweet spot seems to be 4-6 feet of water. If you can find s...
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

The great weather, calm seas and exceptional fishing we experienced at the end of November and beginning of December came to a screeching halt with the cold front that came through. Surface water temperatures plummeted from an unseasonable 71 degrees...
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?

The severity of this cold front will determine the fishing forecast for the next several days. Bait that had been abundant inshore will scatter. Nearshore gulf waters will muddy, and water temperatures. at least temporarily. will plummet. How cold, h...
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