Fishing Report October 31, 2018

It’s no trick — fishing is a treat as red tide levels diminish

As of writing this report, red tide levels around Anna Maria Island seem to be lessening as the days go by. Proof of this exists along the beaches where vast schools of bait fish are gathering — attracting predatory species such as Spanish mackerel and ladyfish.

Water temperatures are dropping slightly, which is triggering the backwater species — snook and redfish — to really turn on. You can bet on seeing the spotted seatrout bite enhance over the next few weeks as they begin the heavily feed to pack on the extra weight for winter.

Mangrove snapper are abundant around structure in Tampa Bay and are starting to make a showing on the nearshore reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. This is another good indicator that red tide is beginning to thin out.

On my Just Reel fishing charters, I’m seeing some of the best catch-and-release snook fishing I’ve seen since spring. Reeling up 50 snook on a 4-hour charter is attainable right now for those snook addicts who just can’t get enough. While catching catch-and-release snook, I’m seeing some slot-sized redfish in the mix, which are also catch-and-release.

Fishing structure in Tampa Bay for mangrove snapper is nothing short of excellent right now. By chumming with dead baits, I’m triggering schools of mangrove snapper to rise to the surface in a feeding frenzy. Needless to say, limits of these feisty little fish are being released into the fish box. Remember to carry some light fluorocarbon leader and small hooks as the water is clear and these fish are leader-shy. In areas where the snapper are present, I’m also catching gag grouper and Spanish mackerel. Keeper-size gags are a little sporadic, but fish 20-22 inches are being caught with some regularity.