Tampa Fishing Reports

September 2008 Fishing Report

September is typically the month when our local waters finally begin to cool down a little bit...the result of shorter days and slightly cooler nights. Snook season opens on September 1st. This slightly cooler water should have a positive effect on their appetite. Don't expect any "wide open" bites, but these fish will start to eat a little better. Night fishing will still probably be the most productive approach. Hunt near lighted docks or bridge structures for best results. Stay well away from the lighted area and cast to the edges. Allow your free lined live bait to swim through the "circle of light". If there's a snook in residence, there's a good chance he'll be on the end of your line in short order as these night fish are much more aggressive feeders. Trout are very common catches in these lighted areas as well and tend to be larger than the average summer trout. Whitebait and shrimp are both excellent baits for this type of scenario. When fishing major bridge structures, you might move up to jumbo baits such as ladyfish or grunts as there are some behemoth snook in these locations. Go a little heavier on your tackle as well so you have half a chance of getting one of these bridge beasts away from the pilings. If night fishing isn't your bag, try early and late in the day adjacent to our many spoil islands, as well as along mangrove shorelines. Tossing topwater and suspend lures will often elicit explosive strikes, but be prepared to make many casts to find your quarry. August redfishing started off a little slow this year. The best approach was to keep moving, fishing numerous spots and different types of structure, until fish were located. Although a typical day would produce about a half dozen slot reds, the fish were scattered. Most locations would yield only a fish or two at best. After the stormy weather later in the month however, the fish seemed to school up better and the last few trips of the month produced greater numbers of fish. The most effective rig for catching fish over the last week has been throwing "bobbered" pinfish. When fishing in three feet of water, leave about two feet of line between the bobber and the hook, making sure to not give the pinfish enough slack to get into the grass. If you are not getting the casting distance you need with this rig, add a split shot about an inch or two above the hook to get an additional 10 or 15 feet on your cast. This sinker will not deter a redfish from inhaling your offering. Amazingly, whitebait fished this same way seemed less productive than the pinfish. When using this bobber technique, make sure that you "reel until you feel" the weight of the fish before setting the hook and use circle hooks to prevent fish from being deeply hooked. Redfishing will only get better and better from now through the early part of November, when our larger fish move offshore. Trout are available out on the flats now but most fish are small. They will respond well to the smaller whitebait that can be found just about everywhere. As mentioned earlier, bigger trout can be found around dock lights at night if you want to increase your chances of catching larger specimens. Sometime in September, depending on how fast our first cool air gets here, we may see some Spanish mackerel move into our near shore waters. Fishing for these hard pulling, toothy speedsters should continue to pick up into October and November. Free swimming whitebait on a long shank hook or light steel leader will get the job done. The best tide days to be on the water in September are 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 12th through 19th and the 25th through the 30th. Many of these late September days are already booked but there is still some availability. If you're interested in booking a charter, call 727 - 421-5291 or go to [http://www.Tampa-Fishing-Charter.com] www.Tampa-Fishing-Charter.com. Good luck and good fishing.

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