Taking a gamble of fishing in the gulf pays off if you avoid red tide

Taking a gamble of fishing in the gulf pays off if you avoid red tide.

Although patches of red tide still exist in the Gulf of Mexico east of Anna Maria Island, fall fishing is on the upward swing.

Although taking the gamble of fishing in the gulf has been quite risky, those who are willing to try are being rewarded with some exceptional catches.

Reports of blackfin tuna, amber jack, kingfish and bonito are encouraging. Mangrove snapper, grunts and groupers are being caught as well.

Moving inshore, catch-and-release snook fishing is in full swing. As the water temps drop, the snook are on the flats to feed in preparation for winter. Free-lined shiners aren’t lasting more than a few seconds before they are quickly inhaled by hungry linesiders. Catch-and-release redfish, as well as some decent-sized spotted seatrout, are making a showing.

On my excursions with Southernaire, I’m finding the catch-and-release action nothing short of exceptional. On some days, when the bite is really on fire, my clients are counting down from when their bait hits the water until they get a strike. One one-thousand, two one-thousand — fish in! Yeah, it’s that good. The snook are so voracious I almost feel bad putting those poor little shiners on the hook — almost.

While catching these snook, I’m also seeing redfish, mangrove snapper and spotted seatrout in the mix. My clients are astonished at the variety of species they can catch in one area. Not to mention adding in the jacks and ladyfish. Finally, mangrove snapper are still being found on wrecks and reefs. Depending on water clarity I’m either free-lining baits to them or bottom fishing.