Daily fishing report – During the fall, gag grouper move from cool, deeper water to the shallow rock piles along the Gulf Coast. One of the best areas for nearshore grouper fishing is from Tarpon Springs north to Homosassa, where there are unusually large rock formations in depths 6 feet to 35 feet. Most are within the 9-mile limit, so even if the controversial new recreational-grouper closure survives legal challenges filed by the Coastal Conservation Association and the Fishing Rights Alliance, anglers will be allowed to keep their grouper through the end of the year.
Fish begin to show when the days get shorter and the water temperature drops. Moderate cold fronts also are helpful.
Many veteran anglers believe some fish can sense Red Tide and move away from it, so grouper mortality might not be as bad as feared. Recent reports indicate there are more grouper than normal in some of the unaffected areas. There have been several promising trips recently out of Hernando Beach and Bayport, reporting fish in rocky areas that previously were deserted. The water has cleared dramatically, with top to bottom visibility in some places, and large schools of bait have been milling on the surface. It appears the fall fishing season is right on schedule.
–Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. Call 727 944-3474 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org