Winds are diminished over what they were the past few weeks. Still will be dealing with some gusts to the mid teens from time to time but, thankfully, they all will be east and southeast. That will keep the water, especially the early morning and late afternoon incoming tide clean and green. The mid day outgoing will probably pick up some of the tannic brown color but still should be OK. The tides are going to a new moon come late week but are surprisingly docile…..almost all the tides are under the 2.0 foot range meaning you’ll be able to fish both ways every day. The water temp, cooled in the evening and night and warmed during the hot afternoons is holding in the 77-79 range which is another plus.
We just might be coming into one of our best fishing weeks.With easing winds and a moderate tide in early fall conditions, a lot could be in store in the backwater. Clean water will bring the long absent mackerel into the Capri, Caxambas and Hurricane Passes chasing the mammoth schools of bait surging back and forth. And there usually will be some small bluefish mixed in and working the same food. Work both species with flashy tipped jigs on wire leader (both species are toothy) in the top water. Also in the same Passes a good chance the long awaited pompano schools will show. They can be worked with a little heavier jigs, tipped with shrimp and worked close to the bottom on a drift. Bottom fishing along the mangrove edges is still producing some nice size mangrove snapper along with some early season mid-size sheepshead. Here you’ll need some Linda rigs loaded with pieces of fresh shrimp worked tight to the bottom. And last but not least, we still have the redfish active. Best venues for the reds has been the edges of the major bays i.e. website uptime . Johnson, Rookery and Addison working whole shrimp either freelined or under a popper tight to the shallower, shaded mangrove overhangs near the top of the tides.
Things should be upbeat here as conditions stabilize this week. Look for the surface indicators of bird action and surface bait eruptions which are the giveaway for the presence of pelagics; primarily mackerel and bluefish with jacks and blue runners tossed in. You can stay mobile and work the perimeters of the bait surges with tipped jigs or you can set up on structure holding bait and set block chum to draw the fish and work them with surface jigs or weighted jigs worked vertically. Bottom action out here should be on the upswing also. Wouldn’t be surprised to see some harvest size sheepshead begin to show on the major reefs (Walton, Five Mile and the Capri Barges) along with the expected lane and mangrove snapper, flounder and triggerfish. All on shrimp rigs or weighted jigs.
The Feds closed red grouper harvest in federal waters until year end but, fortunately, state authorities have left our waters open. Red grouper are plentiful on hard bottom anywhere from 6-9 miles due west. (Stay inside the 9 mile limit to stay in open state water). You’ll need live pinfish worked tight to the hard bottom areas for your best chance for success. Gag grouper are open in both domains until 12/3/15 and should be increasingly active as the water cools. Same bait and technique for the gags. Deep water wrecks are beginning to see the first vestiges of the north to south migration with some cobia and kingfish action being reported west and southwest of the island. Live bait and chum are the tickets for these larger pelagics.