From the Tallahassee Democrat, good luck out there and land ’em!
Otto Hough (myhometownfishing.com) says, ”She’s gone, finally! It took all the way through Wednesday afternoon for all Ida’s trailing wet stuff and elevated winds to clear Apalachee Bay and the Forgotten Coast. Going into the long Labor day weekend ahead, it’s looking really good for boaters, kayakers and anglers alike.
“With the new moon looming late Monday, tidal flows over these next four days will be strong, especially the last falling tide of each day. More than four feet will be leaving during the late afternoon falling tides into dark-thirty. Winds should be from the northeast Friday, then swinging more easterly by Sunday morning. These breezes should be relatively light, much to the delight of all.
“Couple that with smooth seas both inside and outside along with a pre-moon bite that should on fire, conditions ought to lead to some great fishing all across the waters of the Big Bend. Likely the only real aggravation on the Big Pond will be all the storm related broken off sea grasses drifting with the tides. Especially an aggravation if hardbait plugging for trout and reds.
“Not a aggravation, but an angling challenge that remains on the heels of so much rain over parts of the Big Bend are the dark fresh waters pouring out of all the rivers. Finding the somewhat clearer, salty skinny waters will be the key to locating the trout. Those reds aren’t as particular like the trout when it comes to feeding in the fresher stained waters, though it may take a spoon or noisy topwater plug almost almost hitting them on the head to elicit a strike given the lack of clarity.
“Outside, the State waters of our four county Big Bend waters reopened for Gag grouper on September 1st, though Small Craft Advisories throughout opening day nixed any catching. With light winds and seas in the current marine forecast, small boat anglers can again start enjoying chasing shallow water rock pile gags, albeit the full fall migration to truly shallow waters by breeding gags remains a month or so away. If slow trolling, the Stretch 20s, Mirrolure 111MRs or Rapala CDMag18s in the Firetiger pattern for gags at depths of 18 to 25 feet work well in the stained waters.
“Expect those floating grass lines and mats to be a limiting factor. As such, if floating grass is encountered take time to target the rock piles by jigging. My personal preference is to use a 1 to 1.5 ounce 3/0 white bucktail jig tipped with a five or seven jerk shad. Given the current water clarity, jerk shads with a pronounced amount of chartreuse in the color scheme seem to garner more attention from both the gags and larger rock bass, aka black sea bass.
“Whenever boating or kayaking on the Gulf or any body of water for that matter, make certain to file a float plan with somebody on the hill with a definitive timeline for coming off water water. Also, remember to check in when safely back at the ramp. Even during good weather periods as are in the forecast for this holiday weekend, the chance of a strong summertime pop-up boomer over the water is always in mix. When a surprise storm occurs, the Gulf can become quickly unforgiving. Practice powerboat safety too! Wear an auto-inflatable PFD while making certain to have that kill switch lanyard attached to whomever is at the helm when the big motor is purring. Above all, boat safely and wisely. Just FISH!”
ST GEORGE ISLAND
Captain Russ Knapp (850-653-5072) reports, “It’s hard to imagine a worse week of weather could befall us this last week with either the wind howling or the rain pouring down and in some cases both at the same time. The good news is this weekend looks to be great with seas running one to two feet and only a 20% chance of rain. However, this is being written on Wednesday afternoon and as we all know things change so as always check before you go.
“Fishing in the bay this weekend is going to be a challenge with the huge amounts of fresh water that have flowed down the river flooding into the bay. Capt. Dan Fortunas (850 980 0101) suggests if you want to fish the bay, you will need to find some clean water away from the river mouths or head to the pass’. With the blessing of calm seas, you would do well to try fishing close to the beach on any structure or hole you can find with a nice fresh shrimp hooked on a 1# circle hook.
“As you can guess nobody has been offshore this week, but Capt. Clint Taylor (850 370 6631) is looking forward to fishing this weekend in good conditions for a change. Capt. Clint expects the wrecks (in Federal waters past 9 miles) to be reloaded with nice Grouper that won’t be able to pass up a good-sized live bait. Fish those same live baits 1/2 way down for roaming Amberjack and as always bring the chum to bring the non-Red Snapper up where you can catch them away from the out of season Red Snapper.
“Tip of the week — if you’re in the market to upgrade your binoculars the Nikon factory website often has “factory refurbished ” units on sale for a real bargain. I purchased a pair last week and they look and view as if they are brand new —
“Hope you all have a great weekend!”
Captain Kevin Lanier, (KC Sportfishing 850-933-8804) tells us, “As we post this week TS Fred has moved through our area and our neighbors to the west are still feeling the massive after affect from Hurricane Ida. Flooding all around us and so much fresh water. I just returned from 2 weeks in Washington state where I fished for both Albacore tuna and Salmon off the coast. Fishing was Great and the weather was amazing. If you ever get out that way, I can recommend some great guys to fish with.
On the home front, Redfish schools have been spotted in St. Joe Bay and along the beaches. Popping corks with Live or DOA shrimp give you your best shot. Drift the flat grass bed as well. Flounder fishing is good too. Shrimp or jigs twitched along the bottom will stir these guys up. Not much to report offshore with all the weather, however It looks good for the weekend We are headed out on Friday. As always keep an eye on the weather. This time of year it can change rapidly in a matter of days. Be safe and good fishing
“Otto Hough tells us”, Even with all the rains of late, the perils of falling water levels remain for what little of Lake Jackson remains. Those anglers willing to work by dragging a small jon boat, canoe or kayak through the shoreline muck can still find a hungry bass or two liking softbait offerings.
For no work launching, just fishing, the best place to head to is Lake Iamonia. It’s in great shape depth-wise with launches from either Bull Headley or St.Rd.12 being easy for any size freshwater boat. Paddletail soft plastic baits and frogs are producing well early on during slightly cloudy mornings. There should be a strong pre-new moon bite with fine fishing conditions over the Labor Day weekend.