Inshore- The redfish bite has been hot lately inside John’s Pass. Kianna “Scooter” Lollis won the Old Salts Lady Angler’s tournament’s youth division for redfish with her monster redfish she caught inside John’s Pass fishing the oyster beds that surround the mangrove islands just inland of the John’s Pass bridge. She caught her tournament-winning redfish on a cut pinfish she was fishing on the bottom during an outgoing tide. Kris Stien, a St. Pete local, reported the redfish were slamming his cut finger mullet on an outgoing tide around the John’s Pass bridge before sundown. Kirsten Catalano and her friend were fishing under the John’s Pass bridge at night this past week catching plenty of speckled trout and redfish using shrimp weighted to the bottom.
Kaden and Collin Herrell are two young brothers who enjoy fishing around the pass with their mom and dad. They reported the pompano and flounder bite was going well for their family. They caught the flounder on live shrimp along the bottom and the pompano, ladyfish, and trout were hitting the gold spoon. Their mother even hooked a tarpon while fishing for the ladyfish, but it quickly spit the hook once it realized there was pressure on the line. Angelo Rivero from Largo reported the snook and tarpon bite has been nuts from midnight till around first light. He was catching snook on live whitebait and the tarpon were inhaling ladyfish with cut tails, but they were spooling him left and right due to their enormous size. The mackerel are starting to come into the pass every morning around day break; large schools of live bait are being driven to the surface by large numbers of aggressive mackerel schooling them up to make it easier for the mackerel to tear through the more condensed school.
Near shore- The kingfish have made their return to the near shore waters around Pinellas County. We are seeing them around the bait pods near shore and more commonly over the near shore artificial reefs and wrecks. The mackerel are still more common than the kingfish though and can easily be caught while trolling king spoons or squid spoons behind planners at seven to nine knots. We recommend a 60-80lb monofilament leader between your planner and spoon. When trolling on our large party boat you need to use a large reel to be able to haul in the fish while the boat is moving but if you take a HUB private charter or take your own boat then we can slow down when we hook a fish trolling, allowing you to use lighter tackle and enjoy the fight a bit more. On the HUB private trips we normally troll 4ot reel with 60lb mono while on the party boat we use a 9ot reel with 80lb mono line.
The red grouper bite has recovered nicely from the low pressure that blew through our area this past weekend. The HUB 8-hour private charter yesterday came home with a full legal limit of big fat red grouper. Our ten-hours are doing well on those big grouper too and even some nice gags. However, the gag bite is still a bit soft near shore as the water cools; they will be moving into the near shore waters more leaving their deepwater offshore homes for the cooler months ahead.
Offshore- We haven’t had the pleasure of making it offshore as of late due to the Friendly Fisherman going into dry dock and the Florida Fisherman running our day trips; the long-range specialty trips have to be put on hold while we get our boat’s out of the water inspection and a new paint job plus other upgrades for the coming year! Hope you can join us for the last long range trip for amberjack on the September 25th 44-hour at Hubbard’s Marina. Amberjack close for the 2015 year on September 28th at 12:01am.