What did Hurricane Nicole do to local fishing? Aside from the strong winds, probably not a whole lot.  Onshore winds muddy nearshore waters, which does not make the kingfish or spanish mackerel particularly happy. Generally, these fish prefer clean water and swim west until they find it, which means fishing for these species will improve again when waters clear. Another key factor to these fish staying in our vicinity is water temperature.  Before the storm, water temperatures were at the high end of the range for Kingfish...75-76 degrees. Cooling water should help this fishing, as long as temperatures don't drop too low. Based on the forecast over the next week, it looks as if the fish should stay around. Slow trolling large pilchards and thread fins has been the ticket for catching most kingfish over the last few weeks. On some days, the technique has produced monster mackerel as well.  If the kingfish bite slows, dropping an anchor and setting up a chum slick with a chum block and generously distributed pilchards will usually bring the mackerel in in droves. This can be non stop fishing on many days.

 

Inshore, redfishing has been productive over the last week of high tides with 7 - 8 quality fish being landed on two recent charters. Pitching cut bait into mangrove shorelines has been an effective approach. As strong high tides offer the best opportunity to catch fish in this manner, this opportunity will begin to wane as the bigger high tides shift into the evening hours as winter approaches. Redfish can still be found on select flats and under residential docks but the fishing action is less than during the warmer months.

Snook will remain a viable target as long as waters stay in the low seventies or higher.  As temperatures dip into the sixties, the snook's metabolism slows down and it takes a lot more effort to get one to eat.  Most fish being caught this time of year are on the 16 - 28 inch range with the occasional lucky angler finding one to take home that is in the slot (28 - 33 inches). Live pilchards are the ticket here and are a great tool for identifying exactly where the fish are.  Approach an area, throw out 20 baits and wait for the boil. Drop the next cast quickly on this spot, and a strike should follow.

The next fishing opportunity to present itself is big winter seatrout.  Thanksgiving is usually the time when these fish make an appearance. Until last year, their arrival had been consistent but fewer fish showed up on time and catching a half dozen fish became the norm as opposed to 15-25 quality fish. A larger push of fish came in about 6 weeks later.  The hope is that large schools of these fish will show up on time this year and trout limits will be the norm as December arrives.  Whitebait are the best bait for these big yellow mouths, although shrimp and pinfish under a bobber will fill the void when whitebait is not available. Good luck and good fishing.

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