Weather & Tides…
With a full moon upon us early this coming week, expect higher than normal tides throughout the region with the last of a strong incoming tide until mid-morning, giving way to a stronger than normal outgoing throughout the late morning and afternoon. As we enter a post “Emily” weather pattern, expect waters to be turbid and weather to return to the typical, summertime conditions, with calm conditions in the morning brought on by easterly winds, making way to an afternoon westerly breeze and scattered thunderstorms.

The inshore bite has clearly been best in the low light conditions, so be sure to get out early and take advantage of it. You may have to fight the snooze bar and pre-dawn bugs, but that is nothing that an extra cup of dark roast and a bottle bug spray can’t handle. The water temps are several degrees cooler at dawn, along with after the afternoon showers, which can make all the difference in the world relating to cooperative fish.

Snook continue to line the beaches and even if the water is milky or turbid, they are still there. Fan cast dark hued paddle tail swimbaits and 3” scented shrimp imitators and have a 3” shallow diving jerkbait and small gold spoon handy to rotate into your arsenal. All are taking fish right now on the first trough forward to the beach on higher tides and on lower tides the second trough seems to be where they are at. Of course there is nothing better than a livewell full of pilchards and there is plenty of white bait in the area, but finding true usable ones is the key for the live bait guys. You can live chum handfuls of these undersized guys, then follow up with a nice one on your hook.

The Trout bite remains steady with good numbers of smaller fish around, especially south on the grass flats starting at Pavilion Key. They are generally smaller than our normal winter time “teeners”, but there are some keeper sized fish in the mix. They are gnawing on anything from a live shrimp, to a shrimp tipped bucktail jig, to a walk-the-dog or popper style topwater plug. Fish early on the outgoing or incoming tide for your best results.

Redfish continue to take cut bait in the ladyfish and mullet variety, so don’t be afraid to chew on your Pubix sub and have a beverage while you wait for the bite. If you can stay out later in the afternoon and avoid the thunderstorms, the last half of the incoming tide around oyster bars or mangrove lined shorelines has been producing well. Live shrimp under a popping cork works great for the ole copper pennies as well, so don’t forget the tried and true.

As you make your way to your favorite numbers this weekend, keep an eye out for tripletail as some reports of these tasty armored critters hanging around markers and structure have been reported this week and are happily taking a live shrimp on a circle hook with a bit of weight to it….try a smaller split shot or egg sinker. Permit still can be caught on those wrecks with higher relief and Cobia are hanging around offshore structure so keep your eyes peeled. Good reports of red and gag grouper in 65-80 feet of water taking cut threadfin herring and squid chunks on chicken or knocker rigs. Use bigger chunks to avoid the onslaught of lane snappers….there are MANY out there with some good sized ones if you want some fish tacos. With the full moon upon us, consider an after sunset trip for Mangrove Snappers, as they tend to be most aggressive at this time. They are running a bit larger in size than most of the year and are hungry for a live shrimp on hard bottom and of course inshore around the mangrove roots.

Until next week, tight lines and screamin’ drags….