Fall Fishing Arrives in Tampa Bay


Tampa Bay Redfish

The fish of the weekend is pictured above- a 33″ redfish, caught by an unidentified fisherman (but, hey, I got to net it!).

Ahhh, Autumn is in the air. And, if I can feel it, you bet the fish can! Mike and I hit the Merry Pier dark and early Saturday. The original plan was to try John’s Pass, but we really needed an outgoing tide. And, the backup plan for the beach didn’t pan out- gusty winds were creating big surf. So, back to the Pier…

We managed a near limit of 12″ snapper, but the snook proved elusive. I hooked two; one spit the hook dockside (looked like a nice slot size, too); the other, a big bruiser, made a couple jumps and cut the leader with his gill plate.

Grouper were cooperative on pinfish, and I had the bittersweet pleasure of tossing back a nice 21 1/2″ gag. Oh, so close….  Pinfish were the ticket, and we caught plenty of hard pulling gags, with some big ones getting away.

Sunday, I had a plan. I arrived early, with two dozen pinfish from Gulf to Bay Bait and Tackle. The key to keeping pins alive for 12+ hours is a really good air pump, and fresh batteries. As long as the air is circulating, pinfish can survive in really nasty water.

I arrived at 5, and had my first snook of the day within 10 minutes. Unfortunately, it was both short, and solitary. Plenty of Spanish Macks around- not big, but 12-15″, and I musta caught a dozen in just a few minutes till they chewed through my leader, and swam off with my Gotcha lure. No worries, the grouper were still there, and still hungry for pinfish. I caught over a dozen from 15″-20″. Fun, but nothing for the cooler. So, we were stuck with Alaskan king crab legs for the Bucs game (thanks to Albertson’s Grocery). Go Bucs!


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