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Friday’s strong NNE winds made for challenging conditions. I already cancelled several trips this week. I always tell my clients the options when the winds kick up. Staying out of the wind is easy on Tampa Bay but finding a good bite in that area may be a challenge. Based out of O’Neill’s Marina I have a series of Island I can tuck into and out of the wind. Challenge of late is I have not found a decent bite in those areas and would have needed to run across Tampa Bay under poor conditions to get on the hot snook action I have been on.

I felt like Superman tossing the cast net with the wind at our backs. White baits were impossible to see so we would chum and blind cast the net. The first few tosses did not capture any white bait but gathered pinfish. Another 10 minutes of chumming finally got the baits popping the surface, 2 tosses and it was time to fish. Be patient, bait is key to your success.

With a brisk NE winds I targeted the protected side of Islands and canals around Ft. Desoto. We were greeted with a negative tide that exposed most of the flats nearby. Focusing on deeper water meant we were blind casting as we could not see into the murky water even from up in the tower. We found snapper the first stop along with several keeper flounder. Next stop we managed 2 redfish both 24” and several trout. The next 2 stops adjacent to the area we took the redfish did not produce.

I made a move to a mangrove island that has a deep pocket that runs the edge of the mangroves facing the wind. With little water on the flats it was very difficult to get set up as to not scare the snook and be able to cast using the wind. After several attempts we finally got a bait in the target zone, quickly we were rewarded with our first snook a chunky 25”. The next bait we could get back in the hole found a redfish as quickly as a snook hit and it was game on. Just like that we had a Grand Slam.

We managed several grouper on my secret grouper hole and called it a day. As winter approaches Tampa Bay Snook are heading towards their cold water homes. I love this time of year as these fish are aggressively feeding for winter.

Capt. Steven


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