GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Billy Nobles, left, with "Reel Animals" partner Mike Anderson.
With the wind blowing 20-25 knots out of the north/northwest, fishing was tough this week. If you are a die-hard there are some places you still can fish. Some of my favorite places are the residential canals that are all over Tampa Bay.
The tide should be in early in the morning, and by lunchtime it will be pushed way out by the high winds. When fishing the docks, the high water closer to shore is where the fish will tend to lie. As the water drops, they will move out to the end of the docks.
The fish you can expect to catch there range from snook, redfish, trout, sheepshead, snapper and grouper.
If the wind is too tough for you to get out and catch bait, don't sweat it. Shrimp are great, as well as artificials, from jigs to hard baits, and hauling out a keeper snook from under a dock is nothing short of heart-stopping.
Offshore, the kingfish were thick from the beaches of Anna Maria to the Clearwater hard bottom, but with the howling winds we've had, the water on the beach looks more like chocolate milk. Kings and baitfish also tend to swim into the wind. There is a tournament this weekend, so there will be plenty of boats on the water.
If you are looking for that one big smoker, look in the bay around the shipping channel. Bear in mind that smokers have been caught as far up as the Gandy Bridge, and fishing for that big king, you are really only looking for that one bite, so don't mess it up.
Gag grouper season is over, and not many ventured out in the rough water during the last days of the season. Don't fret, though, red grouper are still in season, along with a host of other fish that are better than gags on the table. Scamp and hogfish come to mind, as well as mangrove snapper, to name a couple.