Capt. Mike Manning, 727-243-8918: Capt. Mike reports a good trip working creek mouths off Pasco County. His anglers took a number of nice trout, with fish up to 21 inches falling for live sardines or MirrODine plugs. They also picked off a couple of reds. Lots of snook were spotted as they moved up and down the coast. All the fish were males in the 22- to 26-inch range. The gag grouper are on the shallow limestone rocks northwest of Hudson. Fish are in 8 to 12 feet of water. Winds spoiled an attempt to get to them last week, but now’s the time if the weather permits. Live pinfish, sardines or large, lipped diving plugs will take them.
Capt. Josh Fritz, 352-345-9304: Capt. Josh reports scoring a number of gag grouper up to 31 inches fishing limestone bottom in 9 feet of water west of Aripeka. The water temperature is dropping and the fish are happy. Based on the bite his anglers got on, it’s looking like it’s going to be a good fall for shallow grouper. Inshore, all the outside rock points are potential redfish spots. The fish are starting to school in larger numbers and taking live sardines well. Snook are mixed in with them. Trout fishing is picking up, with nice fish holding around rock and oyster bars when the water is high. Live sardines and soft plastic flukes are good choices for the trout.
Tackle shop roundup
Tarpon Trading Company, 727-937-1488: Larry says he got out for some fishing and found a major school of bluefish between Anclote Key and Fred Howard Park. Looking for bait schools and birds diving on them and there’s a chance the blues will be there. Working the west beach at Anclote Key, Larry spotted a 100-yard-long school of large mullet. The fish are bunching up for the spawn now and large schools will be more common. Anglers fishing off the beach and causeway at Fred Howard Park are taking some nice trout. The odd snook is being landed around the causeway bridges. An angler fishing off the south side of the park took trout to 20 inches and some small gag grouper.
One Stop Bait and Tackle, 727-842-5610: Joe reports his anglers have been finding plenty of trout and reds between the Anclote and Cotee rivers. Creek mouths have been a focal point for a lot of the action, with reds, trout and snook congregating around them. Spanish mackerel have been schooling on the deep grass flats, as well as the first hard bottom just offshore. Lots of anglers are buying chum blocks at the shop and putting them to use attracting the schools of mackerel. A few cobia have been hooked off the Anclote power plant, where jiggers working hard in the area have connected with a few permit.
J&J Bait and Tackle II, 727-940-7928: James says anglers are working the grass flats north and south of the Anclote River and doing well on trout. Reds are around the mouth and the spoil islands, hanging over rocks on the higher tides. Sand Bay just south of Gulf Harbors has being giving up some nice reds, as are the oyster bars about the Anclote power plant outfall canal.
Armed Anglers, 727-945-1808: Capt. Griff reports anglers fishing the pier at the north Anclote Park pier after dark are connecting with some snook. They also are tangling with the odd 30- to 40-pound tarpon. Mangrove snapper are a good bet there, as well, with fish taking live and frozen shrimp on the bottom. Trout are all over the shallow grass flats and there still are lots of small sharks over the shallow grass. A few black drum have been taken in the Anclote River, with reports of them being around the area of the Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill. Weather has hampered the offshore fishing of late, but a few boats are reporting mackerel are schooling around the artificial reefs.