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Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
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Cobia taken, spotted in Key Vista area

Anclote Bait and Tackle, 727-945-1808: Mike says an angler he knows reported taking a 36-inch cobia fishing at Key Vista Park, near Bailey's Bluff. He was using a 12-inch Berkley black plastic eel. Other cobia were spotted in the same area. Anglers fishing early and late in the day to beat the heat have been taking trout to 22 inches at Hurricane Pass. Fish have been taking shrimp under floats or free-lined, along with D.O.A. jigs. Waders have been doing well, along with boats working the pass. Salonika Bait and Tackle, 727-849-6377: Danny says the cobia remain on the shallow flats from Gulf Harbors north, with lots of big fish being seen and hooked. Fish are following rays, generally inside 8 feet of water. Some of the bigger cobia hooked have been running around 60 inches. Trout are in 6 to 8 feet of water and biting fairly well. Reds have been pushing up into backwater mangroves on the high tide, starting to feed well when the water begins to fall. Tarpon have been schooling off Green Key, with a couple of fish hooked and lost. An angler caught a 50-pound Goliath grouper in Westport, releasing the protected species after snapping a picture. Offshore, grouper anglers are finding fish on coral and flat "Swiss cheese" limestone bottom starting in about 60 feet. Between 75 and 90 feet, lots of red snapper are being hooked, the same depths producing some dolphin between 3 and 5 pounds. Just a few kingfish reports are coming in, with most just a stray fish here and there. Fisherman's World, 727-942-8944: Dave reports a good bite inshore and offshore. Anglers are finding snook on the beaches, as they prepare to spawn. It's catch-and-release only, and small males and the larger females will be along the surf lines on the coastal beaches where there is a surf, including the barrier islands. Dave got out over the weekend himself, taking a nice 28-inch fish that was released unharmed. Tarpon have been off some of the same beaches. Honeymoon Island north to the flats off Howard Park have been seeing schools of fish, with some anglers having luck hooking into big fish. Offshore, grouper diggers are liking 80 feet of water, but on some spots are reported American Red Snapper so plentiful, they can't get a bait to the bottom. There also have been some nice cobia taken by offshore anglers. Dunedin Bait and Tackle, 727-736-3474: Clark reports the pompano have been a good bet at Pet Beach on Honeymoon Island. Fish have been taking yellow and pink Silly Willy and Doc's Crazy Jigs tipped with shrimp. The bite has been off and on, with the fish there one day and not the next. Tarpon have been schooled and rolling on the surface at south end of Anclote Key. A few fish were hooked by anglers fishing with live pass crabs, but all were lost in the fight.

Nick Stubbs is the founder and webmaster of Bitetracker.com, an interactive fishing website.

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