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Tuesday, Sep 19, 2017
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Summer heat cooling off angling action

The Fishin' Report: Local angling action roundup. Anclote Bait and Tackle, (727) 945-1808: Capt. Griff reports the action slowing, mostly because of the heat and anglers avoiding it as much as possible. Those hitting the flats have been doing the best, focused on fishing in the shade of mangroves on high tide. Fish are looking for places to dodge the hot sun, so any shady overhang with enough water under it is a likely spot. The trout are on the deeper grass flats, sticking close to the cooler water on the bottom. Snookers are still scoring well on the beaches and in the passes, particularly early in the day. Offshore, grouper diggers are taking gags and red grouper starting in 60 feet. One Stop Bait and Tackle, (727) 842-5610: Joe says the inshore flats have been a challenge, with hot water slowing the action somewhat. Hitting the backwater mangroves has been turning up some reds around high tides. Trout have been in 7 feet of water or more, hanging deep over grass bottom. Canals and creeks with deep, rocky pockets have been producing some nice sheepshead. Offshore, grouper action begins in 60 to 65 feet of water, with both red and gag grouper biting well. Pier 60, (727) 462-6466: Kelli says the night trout bite has been on, with good numbers of keepers falling for live shrimp. Mackerel have been schooling at times during the days, with some good catches reported. Black drum to better than 20 inches have been landed, along with some slot-sized reds. A few pompano are being caught, and the flounder are still cooperating. Sea bass have been taking dead bait on the bottom.
The Long Pier, (727) 391-9398: Bob says the tarpon action picked up a bit, with fish to 130 pounds taken over the weekend. Mackerel have been in and out, with fish 15 to 19 inches when they are running. There were a couple of days over the past week when schools of big, bull reds moved through, with anglers taking some real jumbos. Some big snook have been hanging around the pier pilings, but none have been hooked. The pompano have been running small, with an 11-inch fish a big one. The night trout bite is good, with fish 16 to 17 inches taking live shrimp well. There are a good number of flounder to 17 inches being caught.

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

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