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John's Pass Fishing Report: From Snook to Jacks, The Fishing is Great

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On: Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 10:07AM | By: Captain Mark Hubbard

John Martin (center), from Alachua County

Inshore- Victor Vizaro, from Seminole, has been fishing local flats and bridges day and night. He reports the redfish and trout to be active on the flats right now. The redfish are most common and feeding most aggressively on live shrimp, cut ladyfish, and even finger mullet. The trout love shrimp or live greenbacks. Victor reported the snook action to be best at night around the lights of docks, bridges, or passes. His bait of choice for the snook is a large live pinfish, threadfin, or grunt. 

Tarpon are still lingering in the passes at night and sometimes can be spotted during the day, but most hook-ups have been early morning recently before the sun comes up. Turner Bryan, from Madeira Beach, reported catching a handful of nice speckled trout on the grass flats using live shrimp. Jill Peeples, a local Redington Beach resident, fishes the north jetty of John's Pass often with her husband. Jill caught a huge thirty-inch redfish while using large live shrimp at the beginning of a recent outgoing tide from the jetty, while her husband watched with excitement and bit of envy. Bryan Johanning reports the redfish are aggressive at slack tide inside John's Pass and they were fighting over his D.O.A. paddle tail jig with a red jig head. He reported catching them till his arms were sore!

Near shore- Mackerel are starting to show up in our near-shore waters, thanks to all the recent rain lowering our water temps. However, as we move into September and as the water temps fall into the higher seventies, we will see the mackerel population in our area sky rocket as their fall run kicks into high gear.

Gags are moving in closer as well, again thanks to the cooling waters brought on by recent heavy rains. Mangroves have been a bit tougher during the heat of August, but, using lighter tackle or small jig heads, you can greatly increase your chances of getting this leader-shy fish to bite your hooks. Red grouper are still biting well for us, especially when drifting larger areas of hard rock bottom.

Offshore- Jacks biting well for us offshore, but the deepwater wrecks seem to be holding the smaller amberjack. We have found the larger amberjack to be biting well for us on the natural bottom in the shallower areas of the middle grounds in the 80–100-foot range. Gags were biting the best on small rock piles; they seemed to be very close to their sharp rocky homes, busting off most anglers. It took patience and focus to actually hook and then successfully land these larger gag grouper.

The mangrove snapper bite has been a bit picky lately, but they have been steady. August is typically the end of their summer spawn and, due to the extreme heat, it requires a bit more work to get a large catch of mangroves. Using lighter tackle or jig head set-ups are allowing us to overcome the slower bite. Kingfish while trolling has been doing well for us on our long-range trip, and we're even getting a few while anchor fishing and using flat-line setups. Occasionally we're picking up a blackfin tuna or two as well on the flat-line gear.

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