Angler’s Depot, (727) 938-5364: Brown says the snook are in the Anclote River. While the weather remains warm, the shorter days and cooler nights have signaled the snook that it is time to make their move into the backwaters and up the rivers. Fish are under docks, around structure and bridges. Anglers fishing the mouth of the Anclote have been scoring some nice flounder. Trout fishing has been good on the deeper grass flats up and down the coast. Offshore, boats have been coming across schooling mackerel and bonito in 35 to 40 feet of water.
Tarpon Fishing Outfitters, (727) 942-8944: Don says grouper diggers have been doing well in 50 feet of water over hard bottom off Anclote Key. They have been taking gags and red grouper, though they are reporting lots of short fish between keepers. Live pins and cut bait are working well. Inshore, anglers are using live sardines on trout, reds and snook, though bait is varying widely in size. The sardines on the beaches are just above “net-wrecker” size, so looking for bigger baits on the grass flats may be the ticket.
One Stop Bait and Tackle, (727) 842-5610: Joe says anglers are finding more and more snook in canals, creeks and in the rivers as fish make their way into backwater haunts in anticipation of cooler weather. Likewise, the fall pattern of permit at the Anclote power plant outfall canal is developing, with anglers scoring fish on the flats just off the canal. One angler took a quick limit of trout on the flats there while trying for permit. Black drum are being taken at the outfall pier. Reds have been in the canals and in holes in backwater bayous when the tide is down. Trout are on the grass flats in 6 to 10 feet of water. Offshore, grouper action has been best in 60 to 80 feet of water.
Pier 60, (727) 462-6466: Kelli says anglers have been taking a mixed bag. The night trout bite has been good, with fish taking live shrimp under the lights. Mackerel have been schooling off and on during the day, as have jacks and bluefish. When these fish are bunched up, anglers are loading up. A few pompano are being taken by those fishing shrimp on the bottom or bouncing jigs over sand. A few cobia are being hooked, though they have been small.
The Long Pier, (727) 391-9398: Tom says the bite has been pretty good. Snook are around the pier at Redington Shores, with an angler taking a fish just under the legal maximum length over the weekend, while others landed undersized and oversized fish. Flounder have been active and taking baits on the sandy bottom. Trout fishing is on after dark, with fish taking live shrimp and sardines under the lights.
Nick Stubbs is founder and webmaster of Bitetracker.com, an interactive fishing website.