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.
This week, captain Mike Anderson and I went out to film an episode of "The Reel Animals" fishing show. We ran out of O'Neal's Marina in St. Petersburg and took just a short ride before we were catching trout on artificials. The fish weren't very large, but we caught plenty and there were a few keepers in the mix.
I received a report from Steve Hoffman, who went out with captains Lee Blick and Jason Perito and had similar success at the north end of the bay.
Thursday, I carried our underwater camera guy, Ben Bateman (aka Scuba Steve) and friends offshore. We looked for white bait around the bay, to no avail, before heading for the Sunshine Skyway.
After just three throws of the cast net, we had plenty of pinfish, pigfish and one sardine, so off we went. We hit some spots in the 40- to 60-foot range and had a few small grouper and one gag that just made the slot.
The wind looked like it was dying down, so we ran 40 miles out to 120 feet of water. When we reached our spot, we immediately began chumming with a bag and cut bait. We started on cut bait with a little success, but it was nothing to write home about.
Then we switched to the live pinfish and pigs. It was game on, and we only made one stop and hit our limits on gag, red and scamp grouper as well as mangrove snapper. We caught several amberjacks, including one that weighed about 45 pounds. I was surprised we did that well with the full moon upon us.
I guess the lesson is, in winter you go when you can, and that's especially true this year with the strong fronts we have had.