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The Bite in the Bay September 2011

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On: Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 10:35AM | By: Captain Woody Gore

The weather been extremely hot and humid, but the fish seem to have adjusted nicely because we’re still catching fish. There’s been good Redfish and Snook action throughout the bay with plenty of Trout action on good tide days on the grass flats. Often anglers find nighttime more enjoyable and, provided the mosquitoes don’t carry you off, the fishing is relatively productive, especially around lighted docks.
Looks like we finally got a greenback hatch on the grass flats and you can find bait in all the usual places. Although small it’s fishable and I’d be sure to use your ¼ inch bait net. Remember you don’t need to black out the livewell you only need enough for fishing. However, large greenbacks are not always the answer to inshore production. It’s called match the hatch and, because they will be eating the smaller baits, it’s always advisable that you fish with them. Remember you don’t need to black out the livewell; you need only enough for fishing

Remember the small baits are excellent for Mangrove Snapper, so if you’re looking for dinner check the local fish attractors or your favorite rock pile for some great snapper action.

With water temperatures in the high eighties to low nineties the trick is keeping your baits alive. You must understand that less bait consumes less oxygen and, for this reason, ‘less is more’. Here’s a tip: buy an inexpensive swimming pool thermometer to keep in your livewell. Now freeze several bottles of water and keep them in your cooler. When your livewell temperatures soar into the nineties add a bottle of frozen water to the livewell. Fresh water and bait do not mix, so never empty the contents into the livewell, just place the entire bottle in the livewell.

If you’re looking for some lively Mackerel action, threadfins are no problem, and throwing a ten foot, ¾- to 1-inch net should get all you need. You’ll find large schools all over the bay in deeper water. Mackerel also take small silver spoons fished under and behind a popping cork. I say behind because you need to make some noise with the cork. Make sure to have sufficient leader behind the popper (at least 36 inches). Seaguar 50 to 60 pound works for me except when a small black tip shark decides to strike. If the sharks become a problem go to 85 pound Seaguar and long shank inexpensive hook. Mackerel have plenty of teeth capable of inflicting a nasty bite so bending down the barb on your hooks makes de-hooking much easier.

Another tip about handling sharks: Just because they’re not six feet long, don’t think the smaller ones are a cake walk. Small sharks can be extremely dangerous; despite their size they are strong and very flexible. Grabbing one by the tail could result in a nasty bite if you’re not careful. If you must handle them, grab it firmly behind the head while controlling the tail with your other hand.

Snook-Redfish-Trout: Fishing should begin returning to normal as the temperatures ease up somewhat. It’s still going to be hot, but perhaps the humidity will lighten some. Night fishing will produce good catches of Snook, Redfish and Trout around structure, especially lighted docks. Work any topwater lures through the light line and hang on. Live shrimp and greenbacks free-lined or under a popping cork always work fishing around the mangroves and in sandy potholes on the grass flats.

Cobia: Fishing should continue as they travel around the flats with large rays, sharks or manatees. Toss your bait or lure somewhere near the fish and it’s usually fish on. They’re not picky about what they eat, just get it close and make it move. They also frequent channel markers and channel buoys, especially those holding schools of greenbacks or threadfins. Hang a chum block over the side and if they’re close they’ll come.

Tarpon: Anglers will find them moving into Tampa Bay and around the bridges. Bridge tarpon are always fun and threadfins, crabs and larger white baits tossed directly into their path should do the trick. Pick a bridge with a good light-line at night and sight cast them.

Mackerel: Offer some great light tackle action. Tampa Bay’s full of threadfins and big Mackerel. Just drift or anchor around the bait, toss out a white bait or threadfin, shinny spoon or gotcha lure and hang on.

Snapper: Catches reported around almost any structure especially around the full moon. Pick any artificial reef, rock pile, pilings or marker, find some small greenbacks or shrimp, a # 1 hook, 20 pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader, ¼-ounce egg sinker or larger (depending on the current) make a knocker rig and have fun. Limit catches reported around the bay with some weighing 3 to 6 pounds but most average around 1 to 2 pounds.

Give me a call and let’s go fishing. If you’re interested in learning to fish the bay area, Captain Woody’s been guiding and fishing Florida waters for over 50 years, providing single boat charters for up to 4 anglers or multiple boats for large group events. And the results are always the same “Memorable Fishing Adventures with Tampa’s Top Guide”.

For more information or to book a trip, visit my website at:, you can also reach me on my cell at: 813-477-3814 or office at: 813-982-2034. My email address is


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