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Waters are clearing, warming

Posted Nov 8, 2012 by The Tampa Tribune

Updated Nov 8, 2012 at 08:46 PM

By FRANK SARGEANT

With warming temperatures and light winds from the east/northeast, Bay area waters will be getting clearer and warmer again this weekend, and that should turn on a good bite on the flats. On the downside, we’re in a quarter-moon period, which means moderate tide flows, so some of the runouts that are gangbusters on new and full moons may be less productive.

There’s some red tide in Sarasota Bay, so that may not be the place to go this weekend. Even though the stuff may not be bad enough to kill fish, just a hint of it prevents most species from feeding, so stay well clear of discolored water. Tampa Bay has been clear, and the South Shore as well as Pinellas Point and the Fort De Soto area should all offer good action on trout — topwaters early in 1 to 4 feet, jigs and swimbaits in 4 to 8 feet over patchy grass when the sun gets high.

There are plenty of reds on the flats, along with a growing number of sheepshead, but both species are nervous and hard to catch due to lots of pressure in most areas; live shrimp or cut ladyfish often fools them when they refuse artificials.

NOAA is reporting water temperature of about 72 degrees off the beaches from St. Pete all the way to Shark River in the Everglades, so despite some earlier chills, it’s still time for Spanish mackerel, blues and bonito — fish them around any of the larger passes where you see glass minnows or diving birds. Small silver spoons and white jigs worked very fast do the job on all these species. Kings are still around offshore in good numbers and will be through Thanksgiving barring a blizzard; slow-trolling live blue runners gets the big boys.

Captain Angie Douthit reports from Okeechobee that bass and crappie are hitting at the Monkey Box, Dupree Bar, Dyess Ditch, some areas of Observation Shoal, Long point on the west side of Kreamer Island, some areas of Pelican Bay, the west side of Rita Island; some areas of the East/West wall; some areas of Kings Bar and the North Shoal. Douthit said the bass bite has been with worms; swimbaits; flipping/pitching creature-style baits, spinnerbaits and topwaters. Drifting with minnows in open water has been best for crappie early, then the action moves to the grass edges; http://www.southfloridabassfishing.com.

Anglers with the Bay Area Bassmasters caught some nice bass around Brahma Island on Lake Kissimmee in their most recent tournament, mostly on jigs and soft plastics flipped in the grass. Some larger fish are moving into the bulrushes here, the anglers report. Anglers interested in joining the club can email Tom Mahoney at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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

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