Snook – As the water temperatures start cooling down the snook fishing should brighten up in Tampa Bay. We’ve maintained decent snook action all summer and November should turn out nicely. Although I’m not seeing as many big fish as I did earlier in the year there are plenty of fish to catch and release. Anglers have been catching and releasing nice fish with most averaging in the 22-27 inch range with a few pushing the slot. Artificial lures are a blast for those who enjoy matching wits with a linesider and live bait, free-lined or under a cork always seem to do the trick.
Redfish – The redfish where booming in late August compared to October and this month should also be good with many pushing the upper slot and a few in the 30 to 35 inch range. When redfish hesitate to take live greenbacks or pinfish, which is seldom, try tossing out a piece of cut bait, i.e. mullet, bluefish, or ladyfish. If redfish are in the area they’ll find it. I like to suspend it under a cork to let the scent travel with the current. They also like artificial lures like a gold spoon and scented plastic baits.
Sea Trout – The Trout bite will continue into winter so be prepared for some decent October trout action. Drift any broken bottom grass flat, tossing livebait free lined or under a popping cork, or toss around some hard or soft plastic artificial lures and have a ball catching a mess for dinner.
Mackerel, Sharks, Bluefish, and Cobia – Large schools of mackerel, bluefish, yellowtail jacks and ladyfish are still around the bay chasing what’s left of the bait. As you travel the bay watch for diving birds and you’ve found feeding fish. Set up a drift near the activity and get ready for some fast and furious drag screaming action. I use 60 lb. Seaguar leader and long shank Daiichi 2/0 hooks. Believe me when I tell you to be prepared to re-tie and use plenty of hooks. Be prepared for the occasional cobia or shark to pop up at the worst moment, always have an extra rod and reel rigged and ready to toss a small pinfish to a passing cobia.
Mangrove Snapper – these great eating fish are all over the bay and not bashful about eating small greenbacks or shrimp. You must be quick or they’ll clean your hook before you know it. If you feel the bump and do not hook up, reel in because your baits gone.