Friday, October 09, 2009

Tampa's October Fishing Options

October offers a broad range of Tampa fishing opportunities . Inshore, redfish begin to group up into large schools, which are often seen associated with mullet. Look for large "muds" up on grass flats as these areas of dirty water may, in fact, indicate the presence of redfish. Approach carefully and chum live whitebaits into these areas. If redfish are present, the water may well erupt with rolling, copper fish. If they respond in this fashion, rest assured that your next bait will be quickly inhaled. Another phenomenon that makes October through November special is the arrival of offshore redfish, true bulls that may easily push past the twenty pound mark. These fish can be found in passes, and on near shore rocks, reefs and jetties. Although these fish are more difficult to locate than the standard sized inshore redfish, finding them will likely result in the fish of a lifetime to the average angler.

Many snook have moved back to locations inside the intercoastal waterway and, although they are less abundant than in our spring and summer months, they are definitely available. Residential canals, mangrove shorelines and spoil islands may all hold fish at this time of year. Extra large pilchards are the preferred bait, although small ladyfish are hard to beat if available. Approach your target location, anchor up and place the largest whitebait in your live well on the hook. Chum the area with whitebait. When a snook boils, take your pre-hooked bait and land it right on this boil. Allow the bait to swim freely with an open bail. When a snook starts peeling off line, click the bail over, set the hook and hang on.

Although it is still a couple of months away from our outstanding Tampa winter seatrout fishing, some large trout can be found on deeper grass flats adjacent to channels and drop offs. These fish will respond very well to chumming with whitebait. Unlike in the winter months when trout 18 to 22 inches are common, you'll need to sort through a fair number of small ones for each legal fish, but locating a group of these aggressive feeders can provide great action on days when other species aren't biting that well. Present whitebait on fifteen pound leader tied to a number 2/0 circle hookand no weight for best results.

Another great October Tampa fishing option is to do a split inshore/offshore day. Begin by stuffing your live well with whitebait and heading out to one of the local county reefs. Opportunities exist to catch a broad range of species....snapper, grouper, kingfish, mackerel, bonita, cobia, barracuda to name a few. Inshore tackle can be used to subdue many of these fish making for an exciting, light tackle experience. Best of all, after three or four hours of rod bending on these reefs, run back inshore for opportunities to catch snook, redfish and trout as well. On trips such as these, catching a half dozen species or more is not uncommon.
The only real problem with October fishing is deciding what to fish for. Tampa’s great fall fishing will be gone in the blink of an eye, so get out there and take advantage of it while it's here.

Good luck and good fishing.

Captain Stewart Ames
Gone Fishing Charters

US Coast Guard Licensed Captain
Member Florida Guides Association
(727) 421-5291

© 2007 Captain Stewart Ames, Gone Fishing Charters, Tampa, FL

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