Fishing Report October 25, 2023

Fishing changes taking place as we move through fall

In the aftermath of our first real cold front of the year, Anna Maria Island anglers are finding themselves having to do some searching to figure out the new patterns the fish are adapting. A sudden drop in water temperature is all it takes to trigger this response causing fish to move to new areas in search of comfort and/or a food source.

Changing patterns are a reality of life when it comes to fishing the fall and winter. Especially during the first few fronts of the year. Seeing a drop in water temperature as much as ten degrees can really make a difference on where the fish go and how their feeding habits change, which means the angler may have their work cut out for them. 

Fishing can be challenging as the fish are on the move. They’re leaving their summertime areas but haven’t settled in to their wintertime haunts — resulting in some frustrating moments on the water for the angler. You may find less consistency in the bite or possibly no bite at all in areas where just a week prior you caught plenty of fish.

This is the “in between” time, but eventually the fishing should get back to normal. It’s not quite time to adopt a wintertime pattern, although your summertime pattern may not work either.

Determination and patience will play a major role in the weeks to come before we finally settle into winter, so be prepared. This is a good time to experiment with new areas where you don’t normally target fish. Or at least try to fish the warmer days combined with some good tides to increase your chances of finding success. Nothing is better than spending as much time on the water as possible during these weeks. And with the pleasantly cooler temperatures that shouldn’t be a problem. 

Lastly, pack a little patience and bring your know-how and you should be able to have an enjoyable day on the water and catch a few fish, too.

On my own Just Reel charters I’m catching spotted seatrout while fishing over the deeper grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Free-lining live shiners is working best to get a bite. Many of the trout are coming in just under the 15-inch minimum size limit but we are putting limits of slot-size fish in the box. 

Redfish are sporadically being caught around mangrove edges during high tides. The same applies to snook. Spanish mackerel are a good bet as we are catching many along the beaches and over structure in Tampa Bay.