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Fall Fishing Is Full Of Surprises

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On: Tue, Nov 4, 2008 at 9:01AM | By: Merry Beth Ryan

October fishing was hot here in southwest Florida. October has always been a transition month with many species of fish on the move, which makes for some great fishing action. November brings great fishing as well. Redfish were not the only fish taking the spotlight. Fall fishing is as good as it gets. Kingfish, Snook, Spanish Mackeral, Trout, Pompano, Permit, Tripletail, as well as Tarpon can all be targeted this time of the year. I even was lucky enough to catch a fish I have never been able to catch before. One that is surely not a common fish to our local waters. More on that later. Tarpon are still hanging around. I was blessed with some fantastic Tarpon action in October. Big Tarpon in the harbor feed on the many huge schools of baitfish that surface this time of the year. Life is good when I’m able to still catch Silver King well into October. Tarpon have always been one of my favorite fish to catch. I recently purchased a new Shimano Teramar rod to put my Shimano Stella 8000 reel on, which has been my go-to reel for Tarpon.

When I am looking to do battle with those diamond-plated jumbo sardines “Stella” has always allowed me to fight Tarpon with ease. Equipped with some perfect-size ladyfish in the baitwell, I met Captain Van Hubbard one early morning to set out in search of some late season Tarpon action. When, on my drive to the boat that morning, I saw an eagle soar against the beautiful blue sky, I knew it was gong to be a special day. Within a few moments we were seeing Tarpon roll, one here and one there. No real big concentration of fish but enough to get our adrenalin going. The pods of baitfish were everywhere. The sight and sounds of those huge schools of minnows is sure to get my blood pressure up. We worked the areas near the bait and sent our ladyfish out hoping to attract some hungry Tarpon. It was not long before the rod bent over “Fish On.” When the Tarpon exploded out of the water, through the sparkling reflection of the sun, I knew, then and there, I was right where I wanted to be. My new rod was about to be put to the test, a test passed with flying colors. Well, mostly silver in color, but still received a passing grade as I worked this huge 150-pound Tarpon back to the boat. More and more Tarpon began to show themselves. After a few quick photos and a quick leader release, it was time to go catch another one. Watching these huge fish free jump through pods of bait is a sight to remember.

Seeing the Tarpon roll literally right next to the boat is an awesome sight. We landed three Tarpon that day, and had several others on, before we called it a day. I did not think I could top that fantastic day on the water, but the very next day, while fishing in the Gasparilla Pass area, I was able to hook a Bonefish while I was jigging for Pompano. Yes, a Bonefish! I could not believe my eyes as I reeled up what I thought was a Pompano or a Permit. Then I saw what appeared to be a small Bonefish coming to the surface, and, sure enough, I had just caught my first ever Bonefish, right here in my backyard. I made sure I got the fish in the boat for some quick photos. Because I was not so sure I would be able to prove, without having pictures, I had caught that Bonefish here, and not in the Florida Keys, where they are normally caught. I quickly reached for my camera and shot a few photos of the Bonefish lying across my Tarpon on the deck of the boat, making a nice backdrop for my special catch. All the while forgetting to pose with myself holding the fish. Oh, well, at least I do have photos of my surprise “grey ghost” catch. One of the many reasons I love fishing is the suspense of never really knowing what I might catch on any given day out there on the water. I was blessed with having back-to-back days of fantastic fall fishing without having to leave my backyard. Who could ask for more? Kingfish are here.

We have done well catching them once we found the bait pods with the help of the birds. Catching Kingfish is fast action once the bite is on. These speedsters provide some long powerful runs that put your tackle to the test. November offers some great fishing opportunities as well. Get out and enjoy some the action when you can. The cold fronts will be arriving soon enough and we will be forced to fish around the weather, but, hey, that’s all part of the fishing and something we anglers are used to doing. The rewards are endless, so get out and wet a line when time allows you to. Have a happy Thanksgiving and let’s all be thankful we are able to get out and enjoy the sport of fishing.


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