Fishing All Through the Holidays!

Hi everyone, Capt. Brian again! Thanks everyone for reading my reports and booking trips with me! Please consider a Gift Certificate as a Christmas Gift this year! They make great stocking stuffers! We are expecting a dip in the jetstream this week. But we should rebound the following week to mild temps.

Nearshore fishing is still going strong in north Pinellas county. Bait schools are roaming together just a couple miles offshore attracting kingfish, spanish mackerel and bonito. The beaches are still holding sardines for cast netting at sunrise. I like to have a baitwell full of sardines for chumming if sitting on anchor. Otherwise, once offshore, look for the birds diving into threadfin schools. Use sabiki rigs to jig up a few of the larger threadfin herring. Use wire and a 2/0 or 3/0 hook and a treble hook tied on for a stinger. Sometimes slow trolling in the vicinity of the bait schools is the best way get a strike from a kingfish. 50 – 65 lb mainline and 30 – 50lb leader is a good combination for these smokers often weighing over 30lbs. If the kingfish bite is slow, anchor over hard bottom, again near the bait schools and chum cut peices of baits. This will get the spanish mackerel and bonito coming to the boat and even the kings can get in the chum line eventually. The popular artificial reefs are holding a few mangrove snappers and small groupers. Once over a rockpile, chumming cut pieces will often gather the snapper right behind the boat. However, they are very shy of hooks and line so downsize to a #2 hook and long shot of lighter leader, usually 20lb. Then slowly drift a cut piece of bait into the chummed pieces. Break-offs will occur but the bite will be better.

Redfish are hanging around on the flats. Small schools are staging in the potholes on the lower tides. As usual this time of year, the large trout are also moving into St. Joseph Sound. I am ready to get you out there and catch some fish all through the holiday season. Call or email me and let’s get your day booked! Brian

Nearshore Action as Good as it Gets!

 

Clearwater Kingfish!

Clearwater Kingfish!

 I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving holiday! Here is my latest report before I go into a food coma! It’s been a great fall, and I hope to see you all very soon,  especially in the new year.

Nearshore fishing has been the focus for me on recent trips. The spanish mackerel and kingfish are feeding everyday on the hoards of bait schools just 2 – 5 miles off of the beaches in north Pinellas county. Birds are often an easy target to follow when looking for mackerel as they dip and dive into baits the fish have pushed to the surface. Drifting through an area the birds are working and casting a spoon or live sardine is sure to get a hook up. A light piece of wire only 4 – 6 inches long will prevent break offs from their sharp teeth. Schools of larger threadfin herring are carpeting the bottom in 20 – 25 feet of water. Use a sabiki rig to get a few for the baitwell. Once you’ve compiled 15 or 20 threadfins, slow troll a couple on larger gear for kings. Catches anywhere between 15 – 40 lbs are common lately. Most strikes occur when the baits are trolled directly through the bait schools observed on the bottom machine. Kingfish patrol the perimeter of these schools and key in on a trolled bait, swimming in a straight line, presented as an easy meal. If the bite is strong, anchoring and chumming the fish in can be a much quicker pace for action. Cut pieces of bait drifted back will create a scent that the fish will smell, focusing them directly behind the boat.

Inshore action has been pretty steady as well. Trout are starting to move into St. Joseph Sound. Each day I am seeing more and more of the larger “gator” trout on the rocks in 2 – 4 feet of water. Jigs, live shrimp and especially sardines are getting a few bites. Occasionally the fish will lay very shallow in as little as 1 foot of water. Usually they will slide out a bit once the boat spooks them so I still focus casts on the drop-offs. Snook are also staging on the islands in the sound. These areas are stops on the way to the backcountry for winter. Somedays they like to eat and other days they just laugh at us. But they are all good sized fish, 30 plus inches. Redfishing has been spotty. Low tides have pushed them into the potholes along the flats. Working the edges of these holes has produced some fish. Small reds are also eating the shrimp along the rocky bottom along the islands form Clearwater and to the north.

Cool Weather Coming in!

A pattern of high winds out the northeast has kept most anglers inshore this week. That trend continues through the weekend, although decreasing a bit. Prior to the wind, mackerel fishing had exploded on the nearby reefs and hard bottoms just a couple of miles offshore. Reports of kingfish biting in close were common too. Scores of bait schools have been getting pounded by pelicans, making the bait easy to get a cast net on. Occasionally the bait has been scarce, requiring a lot of driving the shorelines, eventually finding it with a bottom machine or diving birds. Winds lay down in the early morning hours allowing a short window to approach the nearshore fishing. Chumming for few minutes will bring the fish to you. Longshank hooks are a must to prevent break offs. Be ready to head in as soon as the winds pick up. The snook are still inhabiting the inside cuts along the passes, yet several small snook are foraging along the eastern mainshore in north Pinellas county. They are chasing the smaller sardines and glass minnows that have made their way onto the protection of the shallower flats. Redfish are being caught around the rocky structures and also the cuts near the beaches as well. Cut baits laid on the bottom will attract these bottom feeders. Small baits pinned to the bottom around the rocks will also get mangrove snapper, sheepshead and trout in the area.