Tampa Fishing Reports

November 2008 Fishing Report

October offered up some spectacular fishing for true, bull redfish. These large fish return to our near shore waters this time of year in anticipation of their annual spawn. They can be found on rock ledges that typically hold our shallow water grouper. Some work is definitely required to find these fish, but the reward may well be the fish of a lifetime. Hand sized pinfish or large chunks of cut pinfish are the baits of choice. These can be fished on medium-heavy spinning rods typically used for kingfish. If you want a real light tackle test, use your standard inshore rod. As these redfish do not dive for the rocks like grouper, a little patience and a smooth drag will subdue these fish. Once landed, handle these bruisers with care and release them as quickly as possible as they represent the future of our fishery. If you're more inclined to pursue redfish "on the inside", October was still a fantastic month. Fishing potholes on extreme low tides or oyster bars and mangrove shorelines on big high tides are both techniques that paid dividends. On most decent tide days, six to twelve quality slot fish were landed. Whitebait or three inch pinfish were equally good for enticing these fish to bite. With the occasional snook that now appears in these redfish haunts, it makes sense to fish both of these baits on a bobber. Looking forward into November, our fishing will be temperature dependent. Strong cold fronts will hasten the departure of many of our slot sized, inshore redfish, as they move out to the open sea to join their larger counterparts. The bulls mentioned above could stay in residence on near shore ledges well into November, again, as long as temperatures don't drop too drastically. Using the fishing strategy of targeting what nature gives you, little time was spent pursuing snook in the last month. Smaller fish are still available on the beaches, but most of the quality fish are back inside and scattered. Attempts to catch these larger specimens were rewarded infrequently at best. Fish remain on spoil islands, in potholes back in the no motor zones, along mangrove shorelines and off points with close access to deeper water. On the bright side, the cold front that pushed through the last week in October may trigger a better fall snook bite once waters warm back into the seventies. With our large winter seatrout fishery still a month away, an excellent plan for fast action is to head out to our near shore reefs and wrecks. Many of these exist within five miles of shore and can provide non stop action. On numerous trips in the last month, visits to these locations resulted in catches of the following: large spanish mackerel, kingfish, grouper, large mangrove snapper, big flounder, juvenile amberjack, bonita, shark, and barracuda. On a recent trip, an average sized jewfish (150 lbs) repeatedly came to within 5 feet of the surface to inhale large baits. Although hooked on standard grouper tackle, this fish made it back to the comfort of his rocky layer every time...with little effort. For any inshore angler that hasn't experienced this fishing, these trips can be quite an adventure. Once the real cold gets here though, the party will be over. With a little luck, the warming trend that we are seeing in the first week of November will hold up for a few weeks and keep our local waters in the low seventies, insuring a continuation of the fishing action mentioned above. So don't wait. Get out on the waterand take advantage of the variety of species now avalaible. Good luck and good fishing.

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