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Thursday, Oct 23, 2014

Huge snook, redfish in south Tampa Bay

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GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Frank Sargeant.

Captain Ray Markham reports some big snook and redfish were hitting in the Terra Ceia area, on the south side of Tampa Bay, during the strong winds this past week. His anglers caught and released a 37-inch snook and several redfish to 27 inches. One of the reds weighed 81⁄2 pounds, a tournament winner anywhere in Florida. All the fish were caught on CAL jigs with shad tails.

He said plenty of big trout, some in the 30-inch range, are being caught from Sarasota to Anclote Key. He suggested live baits or big, splashy MirrOlure Top Dogs, Rapala Skitterwalks and Heddon Zara Spooks as top lures.

Markham also said cobia are moving into area waters inside Tampa and Sarasota bays.

“Look around any structure, such as range markers, channel markers and crab-trap buoys. Keep a sharp eye out also for tripletail that will be on the same spots,” said Markham, who can be reached at www.captainray markham.com.

The grass flats off Pinellas Point are producing good numbers of keeper-sized trout on incoming tides. Fish 2 to 4 feet in clear areas over thick turtle grass with topwaters such as the 7M or subsurface lures such as the MirrOdine.

Though the big runs of kingfish are still not in area waters, captain Billy Miller reported limits of kings and Spanish from near-shore wrecks in the past week. Find a wreck with heavy bait schools and the gamefish are there, also.

In fresh water, captain Angie Douthit reports from Okeechobee that there are still good numbers of big specks in the grass, though the spawn is dwindling rapidly. Jigs fished around the bullrushes do the job. Bass action is also good throughout much of the south end of the lake.

Tribune correspondent Frank Sargeant can be reached at franksargeant@charter.net.

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