CONDITIONS: Best and worst news of the week, in that order, is that the red tide and algae conditions here did not get any stronger and the worst, by far, is the horrendous flooding being endured by the Southeast coastal area as a results of the catastrophic rain and subsequent stream and river inundation. God help and bless those folks and we pray for their safety and survival……and longer term their restoration of living conditions. But, imagine if you will, if the winds had maintained the Category Four strength. Back here our waters are relatively clear of the fouling and the all easterly / southeasterly winds are moving the heart of the issue further north. Reports this past week indicated that the Tampa Bay Area was being caught up in the catastrophic water contamination and fish kill. Terrible. Hopefully, the legislators both state and federal, see the calamity that has been caused by the sheltering of the agricultural interests by government and an immediate legislative mandate ordering reversal of dumping their caustic outflow into homeowners waterways is enacted. Enough is enough ! Our fishing conditions here this week are rather mundane; winds will stay totally East and Southeast (keeping fouled water west again) with some upsurge of afternoon gusty winds mis week. There will be quite a few rain/storm occurrences both morning and afternoon until late week and then we will see some gusty winds kick up in the afternoons. Water will be clear and holding in the 82-84 degree range
BACKWATER: Conditions here should be the best overall that we’d had for awhile. Clean water should be almost totally dominant which will draw bait back inside and having the feeding fish follow. Look for the traditional early fall pelagics to show especially in the Passes (Capri, Hurricane and Caxambas)on that early morning incoming turn at first light this week. Snook are sure to be active in that especially along the beach edges with more action earlier than later. Pelagics should be at play also with mackerel, bluefish and jacks leading the parade. That nice strong early morning incoming should drive some robust action in the passes and well back the waterways working jigs tipped with live bait on strong incoming current. In the sheltered backwaters look for your favorite mangrove snapper now joined with early fall action on some sizeable black drum and redfish. The drum will favor spots where there is a marked depth change from deep cuts to shallow edges and take just about any bait moved slowly across the bottom; the redfish will be along the shallow mangrove edges as the tide runs full and favor a whole shrimp worked tight to the edges under a popper. And in amongst all that we should have the beginning of the final show on nice size mangrove snapper taking cut baits offered on jig heads tight to structure on either tide.
NEARSHORE: The inshore waters have remained quite productive for weeks now and nothing should change that expectation this week. The mackerel and blues should be active all along the first reef spots especially early as the AM incoming tide takes hold. Work tipped jigs for mackerel and bluefish and live pinfish or threadfin herring for marauding snook and redfish working the extensive boat schools in the reefs in 20-30’ of depth. The defined reefs aka the Walton Reef off Caxambas Pass and the three corners of the Five Mile reef should be red hot for bottom action on most anything from spec trout to sizable lane and mangrove snapper to an occasional triggerfish or even a close to legal grouper. Fish here feel the change of seasons and the decline of the superheated water conditions first and turn on the feeding cycle firs. We should have a good week for that.
OFFSHORE: Still hear scattered reports of a area of dead fish in the 15 mile range probably caused by the effect of the S and SE winds driving surface water northwest……the extent of the issue however seems to be diminishing. Thankfully !. Starting to see the beginning of the reverse migration on the well bait school populated reefs and wrecks. Good chance for a kingfish or a cobia showing on the more substantial structured wrecks and reefs that have bait populations. Out deep in 60-65+ chance at red grouper this is takeable on hard bottom working a live pinfish tight to the bottom on a tidal drift. tger