After many consecutive blustery days, anglers should be able to safely return to the water. With the recent cool snap partially associated with Hurricane Sandy, fishing should return to seasonal norms in a few days.
What's hot: The water that comes out of the Apollo Beach power plant is very warm compared to the actual water temperature of Tampa Bay. This attracts multiple species. Typically, the first cold front that means business triggers cobia to come to the surface and follow the large spotted eagle rays.
The "hitchhikers" like to cruise right along with the groups of rays or sometimes by themselves.
Tip: On a calm day, the rays on the surface can be spotted from hundreds of yards away. Each one is worth investigating for tag-along cobia.
Tactic: A large plastic eel can be thrown in front of a meandering fish from a fairly far distance. Lead the fish by several feet to avoid spooking the prey. Try to maneuver in front of approaching fish. Trying to catch up with them from behind with a trolling motor can be a hard task.
The large rays can be frightened easily as well. Therefore, caution should be used not to scare the host animal. Multiple casts can often be made at the same target if done carefully.
This time of year, fishing changes dramatically. Do not be discouraged if everything does not go your way in the fall season, a tricky time for fishing and weather.
Captain Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at (813) 310-6531 or at www.snookfish.com.