CORTEZ -- Fall fell on us like a rock. The weather conditions have been almost idyllic except for the wind, which was a big factor all week long. Going into this weekend, the wind machine seems to be running out of steam and that is good.
Along with the low nighttime temperatures and the wind, there has been a substantial drop in the water temperatures and that has served to reinforce an autumn angling pattern in a big hurry.
The angling action hasn't seemed to have suffered however, with most of the great reports of the past few weeks continuing on except with the challenge of the windy conditions.
Anglers should keep in mind that there are only about three weeks remaining of open trout season. November and December, while being two of the hottest trout months hereabouts, will be closed for the harvest of specks. With snook being shut down as well, inshore anglers in Manatee & Sarasota Counties will be hard pressed to put together a fry for a spell.
Thankfully the cooler weather pattern will bring on increased success with flounder, and maybe some early sheepshead on the inshore waters. Some late season mangrove snapper should be available on the inside and black drum on the upswing also.
When the winds allow, the nearshore fishing in the gulf off Manatee County should be in fine fettle. There is plenty of bait around, the water clarity is good, and all the usual suspects in the pelagic fraternity should be on hand for a rod bending blitzes for the next several weeks.
Kingfish, cobia, little tunny, sharks,departing tarpon, and scads of spanish mackerel are already bunching up and shredding bait schools all over the beaches.Pompano are also making a strong showing, and those savvy anglers who know how to target those golden nuggets will do well along the beaches, in the passes, and in deep grass flats very close to the Gulf of Mexico.
Good luck and good fishing, be careful out there!! Capt. "Zach" Zacharias, Cortez, Fl. 941-795-5026 Give me a call to book an offshore/nearshore/inshore trip in the Cortez, Anna Maria, Longboat Key area.