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Johns Pass Fishing Report: Cold Fronts and Hot Bites

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On: Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 8:41AM | By: Captain Van Hubbard

Inshore- Tom McDowell, a Madeira Beach local, reported catching and seeing tons of Sheepshead around the Johns Pass bridge. He was using small pieces of shrimp with a 2oz hook and a small split-shot to hold his bait closer to the stricter in-the-bite zone of these crustacean eaters. Joe Haze, from St. Pete, was catching Mackerel and Jack Crevalle on a silver spoon with a one-ounce weight in front. Larry Johnson, from Pinellas Park, reported catching a monster Snook from the north jetty of Johns Pass at sunrise with a buck tail jig. He says they were feeding heavily on the white bait just on the inside of the fast moving water. Joe Matte, from Buffalo, New York, was catching nice-sized Flounder inside the pass while fishing with dead whitebait on the bottom. Don’s Dock reported that anglers from their docks were catching Gags, Mangrove Snapper, and Redfish on live green backs and shrimp! The whitebait is thick in our area now, making the lure bite weak, but the fish are hitting the white bait in seconds whether it’s alive or dead.

Near shore- The Red Grouper are still feeding aggressively so they are getting hard to avoid. However, now that we have had a few fronts the Gags are really coming in for us quickly and pushing some of those Red Grouper off the ledges. We are getting most of our Gags in the 50-to 90-foot range, but were seeing them shallower daily, and this trend will continue while the water cools. November is Captain Mark’s favorite month for Gag fishing, but any month ending in ‘ER’ is best for Gag Grouper.

The Snapper bite recently has been hot, partially in anticipation of the coming front that will have passed the by the time you read this report. Remember, fish feed well up until the front but then shut down till barometer stabilizes again.

Offshore- The last long-range fishing trip at Hubbard’s Marina brought in lots of Mangrove Snapper. The Grouper bite was soft, due to the aggressive Snapper, but it worked out well with some 10lb Mangroves! The Kingfish, Cobia, and Blackfin Tuna have been coming up while trolling and flat-lining offshore, so don’t forget the pelagic gear and a pitch pole. We are still running into the occasional Mahi school offshore, but that will end with the barrage of cold fronts until late this coming spring.

Remember, “If you’re too busy to go fishing, you’re just too busy!”

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