Fish don't like pretty weather!
The early fall front of last week was really great comfort-wise, but a cold front is still a cold front and that big old high with its bluebird skies kind of puts the damper on the bite for a few days. The weather gurus are saying that summerlike conditions are going to return and so should better action on the fishing front.
The couple of forays produced a variety of fish even though the numbers were down. We stayed mostly inshore and picked up trout, mackerel, snapper, grouper and bluefish, along with a few snook and reds. The snook and reds have been favoring the bottom of the tides and the edges of deeper cuts and boat channels.
Snapper fishing remains strong and should really be hot on the upcoming full moon. All the other species have been found hanging over open bay waters with good grass structure in three to six feet.
Due to the heavy rains in the latter part of September our bay waters are highly stained with the tannin from the rivers, creeks and back bays. The water is still clear, though, and fish can be easily sighted.
Bait is still plentiful with a good variety of species and sizes. There is a huge amount of ballyhoo in the bays, which are hard to keep alive, but if you do not overcrowd them they have been keeping good in the well for up to four hours. The ballyhoo are killer kingfish bait.
Speaking of kingfish, they are showing up and should be coming on really strong in the next few weeks. There has been some cobia on the Manatee County reefs all summer but that action should be peaking between now and Turkey Day.
The reefs are giving up good catches of bonito, spanish mackerel, grouper, mangrove snapper and flounder. The flounder are coming on pretty good lately and the best season for the flatties locally is the autumn months.
Good luck and good fishing. Be careful out there!
Capt. "Zach" Zacharias
Docked on Palma Sola Bay at Parrot Cove Marina/Sunny Shores
115th Street West and 36th Avenue, Cortez, FL 34215
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