Big Trout in Northern Pinellas County

With weather stabilizing in late December, big trout have been coming over the gunnels with regularity.  Fish have been averaging 18 – 19 inches and are topping out at about 23 inches.  Interestingly, there have been many smaller fish mixed in this year.  Although this is expected in the warmer months, most fish caught in the Palm Harbor / Ozona area in the winter tend to be larger.  The recent weather may have something to do with this however as prolonged stretches of warmth seem to slow the “big fish” bite down to some degree.  This may be a function of these fish not biting combined with the fact that many of the larger fish are being caught and kept due to their desirability as table fare.  Although no guide likes a strong cold front and the fishless days that follow, these fronts typically bring in a new batch of fish and rejuvenate the fishery.  Certainly, one of these fronts is on the near horizon and will have the desired affect.  The real beauty of this fishing is that no bait is required.  Big seatrout are generally aggressive when found and will actively eat artificial baits such as swim tail jigs on a quarter ounce head and a variety of minnow imitating plugs.
Captain Stewart Ames
Gone Fishing Charters           

Fishing Report South Shore Of Tampa Bay

Winter time in Tampa Bay can be very productive as 4 river systems feed into Tampa Bay. These rivers offer a warm home for Snook, Red fish and Trout as it offers plenty of deep creeks with excellent habitat and excellent tidal flow. The key to an excellent day is fishing the mild weather days and using Greenbacks for bait. Fishing this time of  year is some of the best and can be found just minutes from the dock. If you are looking to get out on the water give us a call and we will get you booked for a fish of a lifetime. 813-727-9890
 

Capt. Jason Prieto
813-727-9890
 Owner: Steady Action Fishing Charters
steadyactionfishingcharters.com
captjasonp@gmail.com

Regional Director
 Florida Guides Association

Co Host:
Tampa Fishing Outfitters Radio
1040 Tampa Bay NBC Sports
Airing Every Sunday Mornings from 8 to 9 AM


Outdoor Writer:
Tampa Tribune South Shore
Onshore/Offshore Magazine
Gaff Magazine

Banner Day of Grouper Fishing on The” Gulf Cart”

Gag season came a close Tuesday. A quick trip with the “old guys” on the Gulf Cart provided fish for the freezer. Headed out to 60’ straight west. Got a  couple hits, nothing big, bite was slow. Moved to a wreck in 70’, fight was on…unfortunately only with the dreaded AJ…not until January. Couldn’t get through them so we moved. Anchored up to a ledge in 75’ and proceeded to take our limit and more. All gags kept were in the 10 to 15 lb range. Good day for all, home early…smooth seas





Big Trout are Here

Thanksgiving is usually when large winter seatrout invade St Joseph’s Sound.  As a result of some early cold, these fish were a few weeks ahead of schedule this year. With snook moving up into the rivers or offshore, and redfish populations thinning in the sound, these gator trout become the primary game in town. A variety of artificials will take these fish…minnow imitating plugs as well as plastic swim tail baits thrown on ¼ jig heads are both very effective.  Nothing beats a live pilchard but this bait tends to disappear when water temperatures duck below 61 or so, so securing it will be an infrequent occurrence in the coming months… save some major warming trend.  Large shrimp become the live bait of choice as catching these are usually as easy as driving to the local bait store or marina.  Free lined or fished under a bobber, shrimp will trigger a bite from all but the most lock-jawed of trout.
Although it is critically important to have the right bait and fish the right area, there are two other pieces of the equation. First, fish moving water.  Tidal movement seems to throw the feeding switch on these larger trout so targeting times of maximum water flow is key. Second, watch the weather patterns.  These big seatrout inhabit waters that are typically 2 – 5 feet deep.  When a cold front blows through, inshore water temperatures can drop 6 – 8 degrees overnight. When this happens, seatrout become much more interested in warming up than eating.  A strong cold front may actually shut down the bite for several days. Reciprocally, when a cold front is approaching, it’s almost as if the trout know they won’t be eating for a few days after it so they stock up and go on a major feed. Combine a good tide and pre-front conditions and you may have a “historic” day of big winter trout fishing.
Captain Stewart Ames
Gone Fishing Charters           

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Kayak Fishing Tampa Bay

Like catching big redfish?  So does Wayne!
November started out with varying results in the kayak fishing around the area.   The fishing has been very good most of the time and then grinded to a halt when High pressure settled in for a couple of days.    It is all based on the weather now.    Two days past each cold front, the conditions will stabilize and the fish will be happy.    Around the fronts, the biggest challenge is the wind but the murkied up water will also make it tougher to have success. 
Bluefish and spanish mackerel created a need for heavier leader at times.    Shallow troughs on low tides had these toothy speedsters clobbering the 12 Fathom mullet and providing some great action (or cutoffs with lighter leader).   For bluefish, grab a topwater lure and throw it.    You are less likely to lose your terminal lure choice with the treble hook lure.    Fight these fish with the rod tip high to prevent another bluefish from cutting your leader as it tries to steal the lure from the hooked fish’ mouth.
 Mackerel were more likely to be on the “outside” but bluefish were way up in cut off troughs one would never expect them to be.   Before long they too will probably migrate “out and south” for the next few months.   Bluefish often just stay and when the baitfish leave, they will just start eating anything else they can find.    Eat a bluefish?   Not a first choice, you can get a lot of meat off of them and you can make these into a fish spread.    I leave them on the smoker an extra hour longer than mackerel and I go heavier on the other ingredients.   If possible also try to mix in another fish like trout or flounder.    
Flounder have been caught easily in certain spots in the Bay.   It has been the best flounder action I have ever seen here.    Routinely, 19-inch fish are coming up.   Average size has been about 14 inches in these locations.   Other areas have smaller numbers and smaller fish.    2015 should be a spectacular year for this underutilized species.  

Pompano are an option in the passes, particularly toward the mouth of Tampa Bay.   Use the Silly Willy with a pink teaser.     Silly Willy teasers are now from yours truly, made durable and attractive to fish.   Loop knot the two together with the hooks facing in opposite directions.  This lure in contact with the bottom will catch pompano.   Expect also to get silver trout and whiting which are also funneling in with the cooldown in air and water temperatures.   
Redfish have been another success story.    Their numbers fluctuate from month to month and year to year.    I believe that more people letting them go has been positive for overall numbers.   While I don’t see them as endangered, you can’t compare redfish to speckled trout.   Trout populations are ridiculous, something that should be the case for a species that spawns year round.   A picture is a great memory anyway and there are the trout and flounder to readily take home for that meal.   Not to mention snapper, sheepshead, silver trout and whiting also all species that are not severely stressed and prolific.   I like the trend toward sport fishing around Tampa Bay.  
It is later into November so the sheepshead are becoming a better option every day that passes.   First on the flats, then on the rocks and pilings.   Sheepshead are on the shallow flats, seen where you’re targeting redfish.    Whiting and silver trout are a different game entirely: But great light tackle action and fantastic for putting together a neighborhood “fish fry”.  Silver trout will eat just about anything placed in front of them.   Whiting fall victim to fresh shrimp pieces or the Silly Willy jig.
Dress for it when it’s colder, get out when you can: The fishing’s great, but go out with a plan!
As always, be careful out there!

Neil Taylor
Owner and guide: 
www.strikethreekayakfishing.com
(Cell) 727-692-6345 
LivelyBaits@aol.com
Owner and site administrator: 
www.capmel.com
Co-host: Outdoor Fishing Adventures, 8 to 9AM Sundays on 1040 “The Team” ESPN Radio

Capt Brian Caudill Fishing Report

Cooler air has lowered the water temperature quickly along the coast. Higher Northeast winds has pushed the water off of the flats, forcing many fish to dwell in the remaining potholes. Sunny days will heat the shallow waters more quickly, encouraging the redfish and trout to forage on baits making their way through the strike zones of waiting predators. Sardines are harder to locate directly after strong cold fronts, so live or artificial shrimp can be deadly. Use a small split shot to gain distance when casting a shrimp towards the holes along the edges of a flat. Using a float can be very effective in waters 3 – 4 feet. For artificial shrimp, use a light 1/8 ounce jighead and a bronze colored plastic shrimp or even paddle tail jigs. Cast into larger sand holes allowing the jig to work the entire hole slowly. Fish rarely chase a bait aggressively in the cooler waters, making shrimp a great choice. Target the falling tides as the warmer waters pour across the flats stimulating a better bite while pushing fish towards the holes and edges. Many species will inhabit these areas. Be ready for redfish, trout, flounder jacks or ladyfish.   
Capt. Brian Caudill
727-365-7560

Fishing report Captain Jason Prieto


 Fall Fishing Is Hot and weather is perfect in Tampa Bay
fishing in the fall in Tampa Bay is as good as it gets. Snook reds and Trout are all on the menu for catching day in and out as the flats and back country fishing really starts to heat up. You can expect to have some great days of fishing as long as weather holds out and winds stay calm. If you are interested in getting out and fishing some of the best areas the Florida has to offer give us a call at 813-727-9890 and we will get you booked for a trip of a lifetime.


Capt. Jason Prieto
813-727-9890
 Owner: Steady Action Fishing Charters
steadyactionfishingcharters.com
captjasonp@gmail.com

Regional Director
 Florida Guides Association

Co Host:
Tampa Fishing Outfitters Radio
1040 Tampa Bay NBC Sports
Airing Every Sunday Mornings from 8 to 9 AM


Outdoor Writer:
Tampa Tribune South Shore
Onshore/Offshore Magazine
Gaff Magazine

Captain Stewart Ames – What Tackle Should I Bring

The beauty of fishing along the West Central Florida Coast in spring or fall is the variety of fish that are available to be caught. Inshore trips can produce snook, redfish, seatrout, flounder, bluefish and more.  A short run off the beach might have an angler hooking grouper, mackerel, bonito, kingfish, shark, cobia or barracuda. The hardest choice at this time of year might be simply what to fish for or, maybe, what tackle to bring.  Inshore tackle can handle a broad range of species, especially if the angler using it is skilled.  A medium action, 7.5 foot rod with 4000 series reel  (Shimano Symetre) loaded with 10 lbs test can handle everything from a seatrout to a big mackerel or snook so having several of these outfits is a must.  Moving up a 7 foot, heavy action rod with a 6000 series reel (Shimano Spheros) covers the next range of fish…kingfish, cobia, barracuda, big bonito etc.  The last piece of the arsenal would be a conventional rod and reel…usually a low ratio reel this time of year due to grouper being a target.  A Daiwa Sealine 400 on a 6.5 to 7 foot heavy conventional rod will take care of any heavy bottom fish…typically a gag or red grouper.  Also, if there is an interest in hooking the numerous black tip and spinner sharks that invade the region, 6 feet of 150 lbs steel on one of these rigs will get the job done.  These are fast sharks and it would probably be a little better to have a high speed reel but, in the interest of not having too many different outfits on board, this set up is adequate.  These three rigs will allow an angler to chase just about anything out there now.
Captain Stewart Ames
Gone Fishing Charters           



Kayak Fishing Tampa Bay

November 2014
The absolute shift into “fall fishing” has arrived bringing in much cooler air and shorter sunlight hours and is dropping water temperatures even more.   With this change in the air, if cold fronts don’t “stack” one on top of the other some very consistent fishing should be the norm.  
The situation for inshore kayak fishing is great this time of year.   The big negative low tides are a great chance as kayak anglers to get way in to areas other boats or waders can’t reach.  The results have been excellent with redfish, trout, flounder, bluefish, ladyfish and even the stray cobia.   The presence of baitfish, though at some point will be thinning out on the inshore flats, is still providing action on the “extra species” such as mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish and jacks.   Tip:   Check those tides and be out there for the negative water.
Flounder remain a strong target all around the central and south part of the Bay.  A great year all around, there are fish that approach 20 inches in length.    You are going to lose a lot of them.  I call this “flounder frustration.”   Part of the game, just keep working at it and you will get your share.   Tip:   12 Fathom SlamR on a 1/8th ounce jighead!   Just deadly on this species (see trout below)
Redfish, per the usual for this time of year, are a great target.   They have been ganged up recently and their numbers are very good, evidence that more and more people are making this a catch-and-release species.   There are schools that are mostly overslot fish, great fun on medium tackle.    Tip:  Throw them the 12 Fathom mullet.  
Trout:  Absolutely.   They are going to wake up from a summer funk and sometime in November, the action for big trout will get as easy as it gets.  The 14 inch fish a year ago are going to be solid big fish this year.     Hopefully the bluefish don’t eat away at this species as they have done other years.    Tip:   12 Fathom SlamR on the same 1/8th ounce jighead for flounder or the Edje jighead for Weedless rigging- this lure skimmed off the bottom is dynamite on big trout.   
Mackerel, ladyfish and bluefish have been consistent predators in the early morning hours particularly near passes and along boat channels where there is moving water.   Take along one rod with much heavier leader for these opportunities or you’ll lose a lot of lures to the macks and blues.  King mackerel are here now and November should provide that action UNLESS we get stacked fronts pushing through, sending this species on down the coast to the south.     Tip:   That one rod you have ready, put on 40-pound leader.    If kingfishing, add a small piece of wire.  
A huge appearance to end October?  Jacks.   Now, it is not unusual to catch jacks but there are schools of fish that have some brutes that exceed 15 pounds.    This adds a new opportunity for inshore anglers and fly fishing enthusiasts.  
November has spectacular opportunities: Get out and into the action!
As always, be careful out there!
Neil Taylor
Owner and guide: 
www.strikethreekayakfishing.com
(Cell) 727-692-6345 
LivelyBaits@aol.com
Owner and site administrator: 
www.capmel.com
Co-host: Outdoor Fishing Adventures, 8 to 9AM Sundays on 1040 “The Team”

Captain Brian Caudill Fishing Report

                Hello everyone. Welcome to my latest fishing report! Fall is trying to get here in Florida, but the warm days are holding on. We’ve had a couple of cool fronts come through, which has brought some new fish to the waters. Here is what is happening out here right now.
                Kingfish have started their initial push into the area. They are being caught within the 3 – 8 mile range over the hard bottom areas holding pods of bait fish. Slow trolling baits has been very effective for hooking up. Once they are located I like to anchor and start chumming with sardines. That will bring them closer behind the boat. Then we can lay out flat lines and hook Kings as well as Spanish Mackerel and even a few Sharks! The Spanish Mackerel can get thick as thieves when chumming and waiting for a Kingfish. They will keep us busy with action once schooled up in the chum line.
                Large Redfish have also made there way onto the flats. I’ve heard reports of some Reds over 35 inches being caught in the Clearwater area. My clients have landed some in the 32 inch range lately. Some of the nearshore reefs had had a migration of these big breeder fish. However, not all of the Redfish are that size. We have had a big push of smaller “rat” Reds around the oyster bars and edges of the flats in the potholes. The best bites continue to come when leading up to the new or full moon tides.
                Snook are definitely inhabiting the back country bays now. There are very few around the beaches. Initially stopping on the way east, around the spoil islands, they have gathered in canals, creek mouths and docks on the main shore. There are several small Snook willing to eat. The bigger females have wised up over the summer months and are proving harder to get.
                Trout are starting to mix with the abundance of mullet schools. When floating pinfish or sardines under corks while targeting Redfish in the mullet, we are getting the larger 20 inch plus Trout. Smaller undersized Trout are in the usual spots over the grass flats. Throwing a handful of chummed baits will give their location away quickly. Be ready to cast in the vicinity iof any blow ups on the chum to get hooked up fast!
                The weather is beautiful, not too hot and very pleasant. Let’s get out there and catch some fish and enjoy the great sights of west central Florida. Please call 727-365-7560 or email through my website to book your special day on the water with me, Capt. Brian. See ya soon! Let’s go fishing!
Capt. Brian Caudill
727-365-7560