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Friday, Oct 20, 2017
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Redfish everywhere, and they're hungry

GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of the local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Frank Sargeant. The biggest news is the huge influx of redfish in the past week from Sarasota to Clearwater, captain Ray Markham said. "Between now and the end of October, you can count on redfish taking everything from MirrOlure She Dogs to Eppinger Rex weedless spoons and CAL Jigs with shad tails. Captain William Toney out of MacRae's in Homosassa reported good action with trout and reds, but the floating grass is making the use of topwater lures difficult because of the grass fouling surface plugs. Fishing open patches of clean water can get some fish hits on top and locate schools of redfish. Jerk baits such as MirrOlure Lil' Johns or CAL 5.5 jerk baits can be rigged weedless on worm hooks or on 1/16-ounce jig heads and fished on braided lines to minimize grass hang-ups, Markham said; www.captainraymarkham.com. Captain Scott Moore, on his way to Alaska this week with a crew that includes TV/web angler Bill Miller and legendary charter-boat skipper Bobby Buswell, said there are plenty of snook where there are schools of glass minnows — and the minnows are thick in many areas.
"The snook are ganging up in big schools and attacking those little baits," Moore said. "It's a great opportunity for fly fishermen, because a little white streamer is a good match in size for the minnows." Moore rarely has openings in his schedule, but customers interested in hooking up with one of Florida's best-known guides can try www.moorefishing.com. It's not only snook that love glass minnows in late summer. Prowl the South Shore area of Tampa Bay and you'll soon see tarpon rolling in the baitfish, which may appear to be red or rust colored in the dark water – they look almost like moving patches of red tide at times. Despite the fact that the minnows are an inch long and the tarpon are typically hundred-pounders, they love the tiny baits. Summer patterns continue in most freshwater lakes around Central Florida: A brief topwater bite along the weed lines at dawn, followed by a move to deep hydrilla lines as soon as the sun gets up. Probing the deeper areas with lipless crankbaits, Texas rigs and Carolina rigs is the best bet for larger fish. Also, any creek mouth with moving current is likely to produce.

Tribune correspondent Frank Sargeant can be reached at franksargeant@charter.net.
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