Fishing Report Sept. 2011

What’s Hot- With any type of major storm passing by our coastline, there will always be increased winds and erratic pressure changes that will affect the way that fish will bite during this given time. As many anglers have experienced, when the pressure begins to drop – gamefish will often feed heavily leading into the storm. As the storm subsides, the pressure will rise and find these same fish very finicky in the way that they eat. A couple of useful tips in reestablishing a inshore good bite following a front is working deeper water and fishing with stationary baits – such as a shrimp or cutbait. With the lower tides this week in the morning coming off a new moon, redfish and snook will favor the 3-5 foot depths. Anglers will need to find deeper potholes that are off the major flats of Caladesi and Honeymoon Islands. These ambush areas are key during the incoming tides, as it brings in fresh Gulf water and baits to the shallows. The deeper troughs will funnel shrimp, sardines and other easy meals towards awaiting gamefish. This flow of water can also help anglers to present a bait naturally into the strike zone. Try to freeline the baits so that there is no restrictions in how it is presented.

Tackle tips- For flats fishing in Pinellas County the water is usually very clear due to the rich turtlegrass that helps filter out algae blooms. The biggest mistake an angler can make on pressured fish in clear water is oversizing the tackle. Braided line in the 8-10 pound test range tied with 20 pound fluorocarbon leader will allow longer casts and a more stealth presentation. This setup will catch ninety percent of the fish in the shallows this time of year.

West Marine Fall Seminar Schedule

Below are  my upcoming West Marine seminars for the Fall season. All sessions will be on Wednesdays and start at 6:00 p.m. at the Tarpon Springs store- located at the corner of U.S.19 and Tarpon Avenue. Anglers at each seminar have the opportunity to get 10% off anything in the fishing section. In the month of December , there will be giveaways that will include a half day charter with Capt. Jim. Please come join us for these informative classes. 

 September 14th – Inshore Bait Tactics – Come see what live baits and cutbaits work best and how to present them for inshore gamefish 28th – Rigging your boat for Inshore/Nearshore fishing – Learn how an experienced charter captain rigs a boat for fishing here on the West Coast of Florida.

October-12th – Fall Fishing on Florida’s West Central Coast – Tactics for Nearshore Fall Fishing  26th – Nearshore Grouper Fishing – Learn to catch that keeper Grouper and not burn a lot of gas                                                                                                                                 November-  9th – Transition Fishing for Inshore Gamefish – Find out what methods work best for fish moving into the backcountry  23rd – Cobia Fishing 101 – Learn to catch cobia on the flats with artificials and livebait                                                                                                                                                   December 7th– Power Plant Fishing – Come find out some tips and tricks to fishing power plants in the winter months.- Free Holiday Giveaways!! 21st – Catching Gator Trout – Find out what methods work best to find and catch that “Gator” Trout during cooler months. Free Holiday Giveaways!!

2012 25TE Shearwater Custom Boat

Well – here it is guys!! The Brand New 2012 25TE Shearwater with a whole new revamped console, interior and custom livewell system. Powered by a Mercury 250 Optimax – this 25 foot boat handles all of our Inshore /Nearshore fishing needs on the west coast of Florida. The Lowrance HD7 really has some advantages with HD downscan/sidescan and Sirius Weather. All Optima D31M Batteries help power the four 1100gph Rule pumps with an Oxygenator system to ensure that baits and fish stay alive longer. For early morning bait needs or nightime trips it features Shadow-Caster LEDS to bring life into the water around the vessel.    

Fishing Report August 2011

What’s hot – With the warmer weather of Summer, most inshore species will seek out deeper water or shaded shorelines that will provide relief from the midday heat. Key areas to look for gamefish are edges and dropoffs that have good current flow. This constant flow of water will help to cool the water down and keep a constant source of nutrition for lazy feeders. Snook are most known for hugging bottom structure and waiting for easy meals to pass by. These linesiders will use the strong push of water to trap baitfish against a sandbar or rocky ledge. Often times a dead bait rigged with a small split shot rolling along the bottom will get picked up in these situations. For live bait, a nose-hooked greenback with a weight at the hook will keep the sardine in the strike zone longer as it drags with the current down the edge. Popping the rod tip every ten seconds will also make the offering flash and catch the attention of nearby predators. The biggest mistake that anglers will make during the summer spawn of Snook is to over feed them. A couple of chummers tossed into a current rip will detect where the fish will lay. This will draw interest and allow a proper presentation.

Tactics – To help beat the summer heat, anglers willing to get out of the boat will find fish a lot less spooky and willing to eat. A trolling bait bucket is all that is needed to bring bait with an angler. Walking along the beach edge and casting parallel to the shore will increase the bite ratio, as Snook and Redfish will not feel the presence of a boat nearby.

Shadow-Caster Marine LEDs

Capt. Jim Huddleston would like to welcome his newest sponsor on board – Shadow-Caster marine LEDs. Look for this great product on Jim’s new 25Te Shearwater Custom Boat coming in mid-August!! 

Shadow-Caster brings you a great value in high performance underwater LED lighting. The SCM Underwater LED product line provides you the maximum amount of underwater lighting along with the look of OEM equipment.

Fishing Seminar Update

Capt. Jim will be doing a Redfish seminar at the Clearwater West Marine store on Gulf To Bay Blvd. on Thursday- August 4th. The start time is 6:30 and we will be talking about what tactics are used right now to catch these Bull reds that are moving into our passes and flats.

Fishing Report August 2011

 Fishing Report August 1st

       With the eastern winds in the morning, the beaches of north Pinellas County have been very calm and allowed anglers to enjoy some great fishing just off the beach. There have been good numbers of tarpon making the migration north and these silver kings have been running just outside the sand bar in the dropoff. Placing a smaller silver mullet under a cork has been the most effective method to hooking up to a 100+ pounder. The swash channels that run parallel to the beach have been holding some good numbers of speckled trout and snook on incoming tides. The best bait offering has been the smaller sardines that found everywhere across the flats inside the passes. Use smaller hooks – such as #1 or 1/0 – and present these baits tight to the shoreline. Freelining will net the most fish and disguise the presentation in the clear water. Farther off the beach in the 12 to 15 foot depths the small rock piles are holding flounder, good sized grunts, Spanish mackerel and grouper to keep the rods bent in the heat of the summer fishing season. While fishing these nearby structures, cobia and larger spinner sharks usually swim into the mix while laying a chum bag over the side.

Flounder rigging- The most effective rig for flounder fishing around wrecks is to use a sliding weight above the line to leader with around two ounces of lead. The smaller pinfish and greenbacks are working best when tail-hooked and fishing over the sandy edges off the structure.

Fishing Report July 2011

   Fishing Report July 18th

     While fishing the shallows of St. Joseph Sound right now, anglers may have the opportunity at larger gamefish that are roaming the flats. The most common species is the bigger snook that have moved in with this last full moon. Most of these linesiders are found along the beaches where the current runs strongest – around points and passes. Though these protected species are for release only, catching a trophy snook along the Gulfcoast is common during the month of July.

    The schools of redfish are great leading up to the moon – but seem to fall apart quickly once the stronger tides are gone. These bruisers are all averaging around ten pounds and are holding with the schools of mullet. A live pinfish tail-hooked has been most productive when the fish are on the move. Be sure to lead the school and not cast on top of the tight ball of redfish – it will only scare them and push them off. Roaming close behind the reds, have been some huge sharks. Five to eight foot black tips and bull sharks are crashing these schools on the outgoing tide. Heavier spinning tackle can be a blast as anglers fight these 100+ pound fish in three feet of water.   

Shark Fishing- For larger shark fishing along the flats, anglers will need to use this standard rig: 60 lb. braid attached to 100 lb. leader tied into a 24 inch length of wire with a 8/0 circle hook. This setup works best with the heavier spinning gear , as some of these sharks take to the air and the rod acts as a buffer to the blazing runs.

West Marine Seminar Schedule

Here are some of my upcoming seminars scheduled at the Tarpon Springs West Marine Store. All seminars start @ 6:00 pm.

July 13th -Catching a 20 lb Snook – Learn how to hunt for and catch what every inshore angler seeks — a twenty pound Snook!!

July 27th -Summertime Mango Fishing – Come find out some different tactics to catch mangos off the local nearshore reefs and rock piles.

August 10th – Tournament Tacklebox Selection – Learn how professional tournament anglers catch large redfish on artficials , as well as alternative baits.

August 24th – Trolling Motors 101 – Learn how to rig and maintain a Motorguide Trolling Motor and other electronic components of a bay fishing boat.