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Warm, calm weather to bring strong bite

Posted Nov 29, 2012 by The Tampa Tribune

Updated Nov 29, 2012 at 06:46 PM

By FRANK SARGEANT

Warm, relatively calm weather this week is likely to bring on a strong bite in both fresh and saltwater. The backside of the full moon will see some good low tides during the weekend, low enough to spot tailing reds in areas like the South Shore and the north side of Old Tampa Bay, as well as in the Charlotte Harbor area in Bull Bay, Turtle Bay and the north end of Pine Island Sound. These tailers are usually skittish, and the best offering is either a live shrimp or a Gulp crab, a strongly scented bait, fished dead on the bottom.

Lower Tampa Bay and the near-shore waters all the way to Marco Island have had patches of red tide of late. Sometimes a light infestation of this stuff is not enough to kill fish, but it crushes the bite for as long as it’s around. If you note “dead” water or discoloration, run fast and far until you see bait and clear water where you’re more likely to score.

Captain Ray Markham reports loads of nice tripletail around the stone crab buoys, which are typically found anywhere from a half-mile to several miles off the beaches. Live shrimp or killifish cast to the floats do the job.

Markham also says excellent catches of big trout are being reported from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. Upper slot and outsized fish are being caught on jigs, live shrimp and slow-sinking soft plastic plugs like those from Paul Brown. The Fort De Soto area has been giving up some nice pompano around the 10-cent bridge, in Bunces Pass and around Shell Key. Pass-A-Grille Channel has been holding some decent flounder that anglers report catching on Doc’s Goofy Jigs; http://www.captainraymarkham.com.

Captain Rick Grassett out of CB Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key reports some action with bluefish, redfish and trout in Sarasota Bay while using CAL jigs with shad tails; http://www.snookfin-addict.com.

Last but not least, keep an eye out for sheepshead in the potholes. A quarter-ounce jig head with a chunk of fresh cut shrimp is the best offering.

In fresh water, captain Mike Shellen reports from Okeechobee that the cold last week slowed fishing for bass, but speckled perch should perk up. He said bass are likely to have moved to the grass patches in a pre-spawn mode with the full moon this week, and his clients have caught some giants on live shiners. For artificial lures, he suggests getting out later in the day when the water has warmed up, making the fish more active. He said the best speckled perch action has been in the Kissimmee River and the north side of the lake on live minnows fished deep; http://www.okeechobeebassfishing.com.

Tribune correspondent Frank Sargeant can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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