A few FWC notes to be aware of. First, the recreational harvest of greater amberjack in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters closes Nov. 1, with the last day of harvest being Oct. 31.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) issued an executive order to modify the 2022-23 recreational season for greater amberjack in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico during its July Commission meeting. This modification was consistent with emergency measures implemented by NOAA fisheries for Gulf federal waters to help prevent quota overages and future quota paybacks.
Looking to get some late season Red Snapper fishing in? You have two weekends coming up. November 11-13 followed by November 25-27.
For our readers to the East and South, spotted seatrout will be closed to recreational harvest Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 in the Central East Region, which includes all state and federal waters from Palm Beach through Volusia counties.
Spotted seatrout are one of Florida’s most popular inshore fisheries. This closed season was re-established in 2020 for the Central East Region to address declining trends in the stock and benefit spotted seatrout during times when they are particularly vulnerable to harvest.
Otto Hough says, ”Seems as though Ma Nature is being hesitant in lowering the skinny waters temps in Apalachee Bay. Just when a good cool snap had pushed down temps into the upper 60s, along comes a week or more of 80-degree daytime temps to raise skinny water temps back into the mid-70s. As such, early morning fishing through midweek has offered up countless near-summertime topwater plugging opportunities.
“Going into this three day stretch, east winds will mostly be prevalent across Apalachee Bay. Low tides will happen prior to sunrise followed by an all morning rising tide into the lunchtime hour with a lot of water coming back as pre-full moon tidal flows are increasing significantly. Remember, sunrise along with tide times will be an hour earlier Sunday morning.
“If targeting the trout and reds over the weekend, expect to find some quality fish close to the hill during the last few hours of the rise, then hit those creek mouth drains, flats and bars after the turn. The hot topwater plugs have been the bone/orange and bone/silver One Knockers, Super Spooks and Moonwalkers. On all my lures, I’ve changed them out to single inline 1/0 hooks. Easier on the fish, and quicker releases too. On down in the water column, the five inch jerk shads continue to be well liked. With far less floating grass being encountered these days, I’m back to nose hooking the jerk shad as it provides for some lively lure action, either straight line on a leader or under an Equalizer or CajunThunder popping cork.
“Outside, if chasing the gags, it’s still requiring a run into deeper water, 25 feet or more to snooker the bigger fish. In closer, over the shallow rock piles an occasional big gag is being encountered, but for the most part it’s been lots of shorts hanging in 12 to 15 feet of water given the near bathtub water temps. Were the shallow water temps down in the mid 60s, I’d be expecting to find some quick limits of quality gags slow trolling Rapala CDMag14s, Mann’s Stretch 15s or Yo-zuri 3-D Deep Diving Crystal Minnows at this point in the year. Sure would be nice to have a real good cold front that would help jumpstart the migration of the bigger gags, but not happening this weekend with continued warm days in the forecast.
“Wherever the boat may go while chasing a targeted favorite species, start making it a habit of wearing an auto-inflatable PFD. If and when water temps do drop, the dangers related to hypothermia will increase dramatically. Be smart, boat safely, just FISH!!”
ST GEORGE ISLAND
Captain Russ Knapp reports, “The one issue weather wise for the weekend will be the wind as there is no rain forecast and really nice temperatures. As of today, which is Wednesday the forecast has Saturday with wind SE 10 to 15 knots and seas running 2 to 4 feet while Sunday has East winds 10 to 15 knots with seas at 2 feet. East winds often bring seas bigger than forecast here, so be sure to recheck things before you head out.
“Tides at the Cut this weekend will feature 7:30 AM lows of .5 feet followed be 2 PM highs at 1.5 feet and closed out with another low at 8PM dropping to .7 of a foot. Don’t forget that this weekend is the end of daylight-saving time so you get to sleep an extra hour.
“Fishing in the bay has been good this week with most everything biting everywhere according to Capt. Dan Fortunas (850 980 0101). Capt. Dan is catching Silver Trout and Whiting just off the beach and on the hard bottom in the bay using orange Shrimp “Fish bites”.
“If you’re looking for Speckled Trout head to the flats and fish in 3 to 4 feet of water with a Cajun Thunder rigged with a Gulp or DOA on a 1/8 oz jig head 18” down with a fluorocarbon leader.
“The Cut continues to hold Reds of all sizes but the bite is either strong or shut down with the first rise of the tide your best bet. If you’re interested in a great meal stop by Fishermen’s Choice in Eastpoint and pick up some fiddler crabs, then head for the bridge pilings and fish them for Sheepshead which are just starting to show up.
“Offshore this weekend the seas look a bit on the sporty side with Saturday at 2 to 4 feet and Sunday the great unknown. Capt. Clint Taylor (850 370 6631) suggests that if you do go your best plan is fish for Gag Grouper which are making their way into shallower waters.
“Pelagic are moving out but Capt. Clint says you still should put out that flat line and don’t forget the chum to get the non-Red Snappers up off the bottom.
“Tip of the week — with the Gag Grouper moving, in its worth a shot to troll for them around the new Buddy Ward artificial reef which is located 8 miles South of the Cut in 40 feet of water. You can get the numbers for BWR on the FWC website and fish a wonderful new addition to our waters thanks to Capt. Greyson Shephard and the good folks at Apalachicola Artificial Reef Association www.apalachicolareef.org.
Capt. Randy Peart (850 320 4214) suggests trolling either a blue and white or all chartreuse Stretch 25 or 30 on 50 lb. braid line for best results. Capt. Randy who’s a master at Grouper trolling says when you get a fish on leave the boat in gear for a few seconds to pull the fish away from the structure and avoid getting hung up”
Capt. Kevin Lanier of KC Sportfishing Mexico Beach, Fl (850 933 8804) reports” We blew right through the 40’s and had a temperature of 36 this morning on the Florida Panhandle. With that, most of our patterns are changed for 2022. The Water temp continues to drop with the last one I saw being 75 degrees. We are still in the Pelagic range, but you need to be looking further offshore.
“Inshore fishing has continued to gain momentum over this week. The annual Running of the Bulls tournament has produced some nice pictures of 20-plus pound Redfish. Fish must be released but the rules allow for a measurement and a photo to prove your catch. Large live Shrimp or Gold spoons are the best baits.
“On the offshore front, Red Snapper fishing has been really good during the open days, and Jacks, Mangrove Snapper, Vermillion Snapper, and Grouper are filling in on the other days.
“Pin Fish are abundant in the area, so live bait is not a problem. A lot of the frozen bait quality this time of year has been disappointing. This is the time of year when we fish between new cold fronts so, be sure you check the weather before you head down to the area.”
Capt. Pat McGriff ([email protected]) says, “Trout fishing was tough this past weekend as the Northeast w-i-n-d kept the water out for over three hours before we could get bit.
“But after the water finally came back we boasted 13 trout to 23 inches for the Jim Bruchey trip Saturday. We fished with live pinfish under Back Bay Thunders in 3.5 – 4.5 feet of water to land our trout.
“I moved into 2.5 feet and we caught four reds quickly with a double for Jim and his grandson Kane Morris. Jim caught his on the ole Walmart renegade in the Golden shiner pattern. The balance of reds ate live pinfish and shrimp under the Thunders. Water temps have climbed back to 78 degrees by Monday and will probably hold in the upper 70s through this weekend.
BIG BEND/PANHANDLE KAYAK
Salt Strong coach Matt Lanier, ([email protected]) tells us, “Fish are fired up with this nice weather we’ve been having and the temps are starting to stabilize a little bit. This can make for some great conditions!
The fish are stacking up in numbers at textbook ambush points. Points, drains, feeder creeks, and even docks with good current flow, are great places to look to target for our favorite inshore fish. Redfish are being found around oyster bars or hard bottom near shallow areas where the heat will hold better in the cooler days. Be sure to use a weedless presentation (like a Hoss Helix Hook) when fishing the oysters though, as hang-ups and break-offs can be frustrating!
“Trout will be holding on the depth changes and structure while feeding. Find the current coming around points and feeder creeks and creek mouths, and you can find the fish. Paddle tails are a great option to use to target these speckled fish. Be sure to use the appropriate weight to get your bait down in the water column where those fish are. Popping corks with shrimp imitation or paddle tails are working well on the flats for trout as well.
“Redfish may still hold shallower early in the mornings and move around some as the water temps warm up some in the afternoon, and with all the shrimp that is in the water now, a live or artificial shrimp (like the Salt Strong Power Prawn, or VooDoo Shrimp) is a great option.
“During this fall pattern, these fish are typically dialed in on larger presentations and baits, so larger size paddle tails like the Salt Strong Bomber are great options as they do a great job of matching the hatch with the bait they are feeding on. A bonus is, when throwing big baits, you get BIG fish!
Topwater is still producing great in the morning and even into the afternoon on those calm days, so be sure to throw those favorite topwater lures (Moonwalker, Skitter Walk, One Knockers) with that enticing walk-the-dog action for those big fish looking for an easy meal.
“If you find yourself on the water and fishing in a spot where you haven’t gotten a bite for the last 15 minutes… it’s time to move. Keep looking for the 90/10 zone where those fish are holding. Don’t waste time in unproductive areas. The fish are moving and so should you.
“To get the kids on some fish quickly, a live shrimp under a popping cork around creek mouths and grass lines is a solid producer of fish, and the best part is you never know what you’ll get because everything eats shrimp. EVEN ME! If you plan on getting out this weekend, always make sure you check (and double-check) your gear and the weather.”
Capt. Paul Tyre reports, “As we enter into November the Bass, Crappie, and Stripers / Hybrid fishing should be very good! The water temperature is in the mid to upper 60s and the Flint River and Chattahoochee River arms of the lake are clear due to the lack of rain. Spring Creek is clear.
I had a fantastic trip with Guy and JD Clouse from Dothan Alabama! We caught a number of Bass on Topwater lures. Give me a call to check availability! For a Lake Seminole Fishing Adventure give me a call to check availability at 850-264-7534.
Otto B. fishing says “It’s been a good Fall bite on Lake Iamonia, however, the absence of rain is slowly lowering the water level of this fine lake. As such, the bass have slipped out into the deeper waters more towards the main portions of the lake, still hanging along the fringes of the pads, still loving Zoom Speedvibes.”