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By Capt. Brylee
Special to the Pioneer
Although the aftermath of Tropical Storm Debby has not quite left the Gulf, and the hot summer days have made the fish and scallops stay in deeper waters; this may not be all bad.
For the fresh water angler the flooding of the rivers has created a lot of backwater areas where bait fish will retrieve to gain some of those bugs they are not normally privy to.
This will cause the bass and brim to gather in areas you may not have noticed when the water levels were low.
With the dark waters, be sure to throw a few colors and see which ones are more visible to the fish.
Oftentimes in darker waters, more natural colored baits will work better. As always if you can fish with bait the fish will naturally feed on, you will have better results.
Be sure any crank baits or worms used are suited to the depth you are fishing and vary the speed of your retrieve.
With live bait, be sure not to allow your bait to freeline too far as it will tend to hide in structure and not be visible to the larger fish. Keep them where they don’t feel they belong. Make em’ nervous!
The over flow of fresh water into the Gulf will also lower the salinity of the waters close to the mouth of the rivers.
This is often favorable to the crabs and other such bait making the mouths of the rivers and the channels a feeding hole for Red Fish and trout.
Fishing popping’ corks with live shrimp or jig fishing should show results inshore. And never forget a live Pin Fish!
As you get farther out of the rivers, reports are that the waters are starting to clear. Scalloping has been good north and south of the Steinhatchee River as well as Crystal River and Homosassa. They are still laying around six to seven feet in depth.
Plan your trip to do most of your scalloping on the incoming tides and you should find success as the scallops are more visible at this time. You will see them fully opened and laying right on top of the grassy flats and around the sandy holes surrounded by grass. Look for those turquoise eyes and start gathering.
As for offshore it has been a little slow biting in the 30-40 foor waters. The warm water temperatures have pushed many of the fish toward deeper waters. While you can still catch fish in these depths, the most fish are being caught about 80-85 miles out in an area referred to as “the Middle Grounds”. Here you will be fishing at depths of 80 feet and deeper. Ledges will drop as far as 100-130 feet deep. Be sure you have heavy enough rigging to fish at these depths.
Capt. John Blouse on an overnight trip said they did very well. “It was no problem catching all you wanted out there! We limited on grouper and didn’t keep any Red Snapper less than 25 inches.”
Although no monsters were caught they pulled about 500 pounds of fish that trip.
Landed was Red Snapper, Gag Grouper, Mangrove Snapper, Lane Snapper ,Vermillion Snapper as well as Champagne and Red Porgies.
The reef fish are biting on frozen bait as well as the squid. Be sure to be ready to make a day of it;….., but what a day!
Our feature catch this week also comes from Captain John Blouse with Hooked Up Charters out of Cedar Key who on a charter was fishing and found schools of Mahi Mahi and they reeled them in. Most of the fish caught were between 25-28 inches and they caught plenty.
“They are hungry lean fish, they eat all the time. Food just goes right through them, so if you keep a food source they ain’t going nowhere.” John said.
Please obey all local and state laws and remember to CATCH AND RELEASE.
Good luck catching.