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Saturday, Dec 20, 2014
Go Fishing

Tarpon, snook bite remain red hot

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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: Billy Nobles.

Well, the bite in Boca Grande is getting better, but it will take time to get into the traditional rhythm of the “Tarpon Capital of The World.” There are a lot of theories on why fishing is slow, ranging from water temperature, to fishing pressure, to dispersants from the BP oil spill. All I know is, it is getting better, thankfully.

The offshore bite remains red hot, with everything from snapper, permit, tuna, grouper, amberjack, hogfish, and even sailfish and mahi mahi. Yep, sailfish. You don’t think of our area being a place to catch sailfish, but there are a handful caught each year, and it seems that is happening more often. The dolphin we catch are small by comparison to the east coast, but they are a blast on light tackle and fly.

American red snapper season starts Sunday, and it was supposed to be a 44-day season, but the National Marine Fisheries Service trimmed it to 11 days before cutting it back to nine days last week. So, if you want some fresh American reds, you need to get them quickly. Our offshore trips are still yielding large catch-and-release gag grouper, but starting in July we can invite a few home for dinner. During that time, our tuna and snapper bite should remain hot, along with some pelagics mixed in.

The tarpon bite on Tampa Bay is as strong as ever from the Sunshine Skyway to along the beaches. We are also seeing schools of large snook in the Bay as well. It’s really good to see these big breeders, as they took a bad hit during the freeze five years ago. There are still plenty of redfish around the Fort De Soto area as well. We are also getting reports of some nice speckled trout being caught.

Catch the “Reel Animals Fishing Show” on Saturdays at 6:30 a.m. on WFLA, Ch. 8, and listen Saturdays from 6-8 a.m. on 970 AM, and on Sundays from 7-9 a.m. on 620 AM. To book a charter, call 1-877-FLAFISH or visit www.reelanimalsfishingteam.com.

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