Angler’s Depot, (727) 938-5364: Cody says anglers are tangling with plenty of black drum at the Anclote power plant outfall canal. Fish to 22 inches have been common. Live and dead shrimp on the bottom will get them. There also have been a number of snook caught and released at the plant. Most of the spawning snook have left the beaches, so look for more of them to being showing up along the mangroves, and river and creek mouths in the days ahead.
Anclote Bait and Tackle, (727) 945-1808: Capt. Griff says snook have made their move off the beaches. Look for them to be showing up along inshore mangroves, points and channels. Fewer tarpon are being spotted around the barrier islands and flats off Fred Howard Park, in Tarpon Springs, as we get closer to fall. Offshore, anglers are working 60 feet of water or more, taking red and gag grouper. A few are encountering small, or chicken, dolphin 20 to 25 miles offshore. Dolphin fish are a schooling species, frequently showing up around floating debris or pads of dead grass. They also will hover over natural structure.
Tarpon Trading Company, (727) 937-1488: Don reports that some anglers have been scoring on snook and some small reds at the U.S. 19 bridge on the Anclote River. Start looking for snook around shoreline mangroves and backwaters, as many have moved off the beaches after the summer spawn. Work around mullet schools in shallow water for reds, which often run with or behind the schools feeding off crabs and shrimp stirred up by the passing mullet school. Live shrimp, dead pinfish or mullet on the bottom are good bait choices. Offshore, the action is deep. Don’s most recent trip ended up with a number of chicken dolphin taken in 70 feet of water over a ledge.
One Stop Bait and Tackle, (727) 842-5610: Joe says he and a buddy hit the beach at Anclote Key for some night fishing for snook. There are still a few there to be taken. Use live pinfish or grunts. They also scored around the small spoil islands off the Anclote River. They landed a few trout, as well. Some nice mangrove snapper have been coming from residential canals, and anglers are reporting pompano around Honeymoon Island and on the grass flats of Dunedin. Reds have been biting well along the mangroves north and south of the Anclote River. If the tide is up early in the day, soak dead bait or live shrimp along mangroves. Offshore, grouper action has been on in 50 feet of water or more between Hudson and Weeki Wachee. Good numbers of hogfish and grunts are being landed offshore, as well.
The Long Pier, (727) 391-9398: Walt says the night trout bite has been good. Live shrimp or sardines, either free-lined or under floats, are working well. Fish are hanging under the pier lights. Though they are out of season, anglers have been catching and releasing a few snook, most of which have been caught after dark. Sheepshead, flounder and the odd black drum make up most of the other catches.
Nick Stubbs is founder and webmaster of Bitetracker.com, an interactive fishing website.