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By Capt. Brylee
Special to the Pioneer
Afternoon thunderstorms and rough seas have made off shore fishing next to impossible these past few weeks.
If you can find a day that weather is favorable long enough for an offshore trip, you will find the fish are out there. The question is–can you make it out there and back safely?
With the weather being as it is, inshore fishing will be easier to find times that will allow you to fish. Red fish and trout are hitting well on live shrimp, pin fish and jigs.
For the Reds, you will have the best results fishing the oyster bars and points where two creeks come together.
The Wacassassa River offers many such areas as you approach the mouth and Cedar Key and Shell Mound are filled with oyster bars you can easily access.
The trout are going to be found in the grassy flats and around areas of similar structure. Fish water depths of 4 to 8 feet. Popping corks rigged with live shrimp or jigs have proven to work well from Homosassa to Stienhatchee.
If you can get out early and the tides complement you, top water plugs will work well just before daylight. Top water action will continue until the sun starts to rise and the water temps start to as well. I have caught them on most every color and type of top water bait I’ve used.
With the heat still with us, early morning and/or overcast days will be the most comfortable. The cloudy days will help keep the water temps a few degrees cooler which usually helps the fish to bite. In addition to cool temps turning the fish on, rising and falling barometric pressures also entice them to feed more. Fish right before and after the showers we are getting daily.
Later in the month look for the temperatures to start to drop and give us the fall weather. As the waters cool the fish off shore will move closer in and feeding will be on the rise. Hot waters tend to make the fish lethargic and lazy. Just a few degrees drop in temp will often be enough to turn them on.
This weeks feature catch is from Capt. John Blouse with Hooked Up Charters out of Cedar Key. While on a charter this past week Capt. John took his crew about seven miles out of Cedar Key and fished for grunts and Black Sea Bass.
Blouse said he has learned to fish with his heavier gear as when he has used his light weight rigs inevitably the hook a fish the equipment can’t handle. With this in mind, he had his crew rigged with 4/0 reels and fished squid off the bottom.
While catching grunts and sea bass, one of his party set a hook on a hit that was much too strong to be a Black Sea Bass or a grunt. Hooked with a 5/0 circle hook, the patron fought the fish for over a half an hour. After much persistence, they were able to get the fish close enough to the boat to get a look at what they had, it was a huge Tiger Shark.
They hooked him in around 20 feet of water with half a squid. Mature Tiger Sharks average between six and ten feet in length. This one was over eight feet long!
Once they had tired the fish enough to get him close to the boat, the fight was hardly over as John said he still had to get the hook out to safely release their catch.
A fish this size makes this no easy task as you have to be carful not to get bit or snatched off the boat.
Captain John after a little while was able to get the hook out and watch the shark slowly sink and swim away.
Please obey all State and Local Laws and remember to catch and release. Good luck catching.