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Water Temperatures Falling With The Season

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On: Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 1:03PM | By: Captain Ray Markham

Chuck Foreman celebrates his birthday

Over the past couple of weeks the water temperature near the mouth of Tampa and Terra Ceia Bays has dropped about
5 degrees. This is a significant change. As a result of a couple of cool fronts that have brought some cooler daytime temperatures, the water temps have followed suit, and this has triggered a strong top water bite.

Fishing with top water lures is usually best during periods of low light, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish on top on the bright sunny days. For sure, we’re catching fish throughout the day on MirrOlure MirrOmullet XLs, Roger’s Spook, Zara Spooks Jrs., and MirrOlure Top Dogs. A variety of lures are working, but the key to catching is basic. Fish where the fish are when they are hungry. Most fish, being opportunistic feeders, will whack just about any lure when presented under its nose, but when fish are hungry, the strike on a top water lure is as about as violent as it gets!

Some fish are also territorial, meaning they attempt to keep other fish away from their area by threatening them, either hitting them with their tails or by actually trying to take a bite out of them. For those fish, like Snook, they sometimes get foul hooked and get hooked in the mouth even if they aren’t looking to eat.

While top water lure fishing is a blast, we throw a variety of lures over the course of the day if the bite on top slows. Sinking lures cover the entire water column. And the ones we’ve found most effective the past couple of weeks are the CAL Jig with a Shad tail, Eppinger Rex Spoon, MirrOlure MirrOdine, TTR18 MirrOlure, and the DOA Shrimp stuffed with a Woodie’s Worm Rattle.

Redfish to 26 inches were caught along with Trout to 21 inches while fishing from the Bulkhead to Joe Bay. The Fort Desoto area was covered up with Redfish that would chew at one point, until the ‘flotilla’ of charter boats showed up to pressure them. Beyond that point, they got very finicky and slow to eat.

Early pre-dawn trips began with a variety of lures including the Roger’s Spook, MirrOMullet XL and CAL Shad. One of the early trips had one of my repeat clients, Chuck Foreman of Ft. Myers and his son, Chuck Foreman of Tampa, aboard to celebrate the younger Foreman’s birthday, and, in style, he did just that by garnering an inshore grand slam in less than 45 minutes with a nice mid-slot Red, a hefty Speckled Trout, and an eager Snook, all on the CAL Shad. Fish popped at the top water baits for nearly two solid hours with perhaps a 50% hook-up ratio. While the fish weren’t very aggressive, the number of follows was way up on the charts. On at least 60% of our casts we had fish hit or follow lures to the boat. Over the course of the day, the Foremans also caught Flounder, Black Sea Bass, Gag Grouper, Jack Crevalle, Ladyfish, Bluefish, and an assortment of others. Most fish were released with just a few nice Trout and a couple of Flounder going home for the birthday dinner.

This week’s new moon will make for some very low tides in the morning. If the northerly winds persist with the kind of velocity seen this past weekend, negative tides predicted will be much lower than those predictions. With navigation more difficult, the fishing should be even better, with fish heading for the ‘puddles’ left on the flats and in channels. It should be like shooting fish in a barrel. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!


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