We have entered October quietly and things in general are on the quiet side. We, as locals, closely look at the tropical weather patterns this time of year for potential disasters as our Atlantic hurricane season winds down. A while back, Hurricane Wilma arrived on Halloween and fed on our really warm waters to give us a devastating weak Cat 1 Hurricane that caused too much damage for what it was. This year is seems as a Fall pattern is setting in early with cooler temps and more wind episodes to continue the cooling of our waters. All good things though!!
Because of off season, more windy days than not, most guys are not fishing and reports are few. Most of my trips the past few weeks have catered to the shallow side fishing for mangrove snapper in the Gulf of Mexico. Easy and shallow, the mangrove snapper continue to bite well and each trip we are easily limiting out on very nice fish for the dinner table. This is entry level fishing perfect for families and beginners, but provide enough action and interest to keep the most experienced anglers plenty busy and happy! Despite some complications with wind and current direction, the fish are there and have cooperated quite well. It has been my go to option for many weeks now. On the same side, the visibility has remained clear in the majority of my lobster spots and the pressure has been off of this fishery. One customer last week hit 2 holes at the end of the trip and managed 7 keeper lobster in no time with no instruction or experience. A few got away, but it was nice to see some quality lobster filling back into the usual areas. So, this is your reminder that this is coming to an end very quickly. Get in on it while the weather is ok and the water is still warm (84).
On the ocean side it seems the yellowtail snapper bite is improving on consistency. This is my usual target, but weather has kept me on the other side. November brings big changes on the reef where we see more grouper, shallower snapper and the arrival of the Cero Mackerel. I love these fish because of all the right reasons! Fast, toothy, beautiful, aggressive, delicious, tasty and many more qualities put these speedsters at the top of my fun fish list. I’m ready to fire up the smoker and make the neighbor’s jealous!
Beyond the reef offshore fishing has remained rather good. Full moons can kill an offshore bite, but intermittent runs of late season dolphin have been there for many boats. If debris is found, triple tail and a few wahoo have been a nice bonus. Further out Blackfin and skipjack tuna have been the main target. If the current is moving good offshore at the humps and the weeds are few, the bite has been incredible. All is great, but the sharks are really thick. For those of you not familiar with this dilemma, the sharks eat big blackfin tuna. They know the difference and easily eat most of your best catches in progress. You hopefully work really hard and FAST to sneak a few into the boat past many, many equally fast species of large offshore tuna eating sharks! It can be really frustrating losing the majority of your best fish to sharks, but it is part of the game. Always be prepared to step it up several notches on your offshore game to win a few battles. I suggest a 4 pack of Red Bull, some advil and a defiant attitude to get fish into the box. Some days are better than others, but I go out prepared for war and so should you!
That is about all I can think of for now. I have been getting many inquiries for lobstering and spearfishing from new inexperienced customers this week. Just understand unless the weather cooperates very nicely, there is a very fine line from a new challenging activity to a very difficult experience based on sea conditions. I always give you the best options with great consideration to all the variables that go into any trip. If you are a rookie, pray for perfect weather. Otherwise, it probably isn’t going to happen. Good news is a shallow snapper trip is a great back up plan to make a great day on the water!
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