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Sunday, Sep 24, 2017
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Tarpon are there for the taking

GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Billy Nobles, right, with "Reel Animals" partner Mike Anderson. The tarpon bite remains the same down south here in Boca Grande. Reports from home suggest Tampa Bay might be the new Boca Grande, with tarpon from the beaches and all Gulf passes all the way up to the Courtney Campbell Causeway. The reports indicate 20-fish days and the occasional 50-plus day are possible. These fish are being taken in a variety of ways, from crabs and threadfin herring to shad and cut bait on the bottom. The tarpon are as thick as captain Sean Crawford of Anna Maria has ever seen them. He is also catching smoker kings, and gag grouper are coming up in 45 feet of water hitting his kingfish baits up top. The redfish, snook and trout bite is as great as ever with the trout moving in from the Gulf to the grass flats, according to captain Harry Connor of Tampa. He also reports red grouper from 90 feet of water on out as far as you want to run. Also, there are American red snapper in 125 feet on out, with limits coming fast and easy – just look for structure with the tell-tale chevron's on your machine. He also said to keep a sharp eye out for dolphin (mahi mahi) as this time of year they'll sneak in on you, so always have a rod ready.
The permit bite has slowed down a bit, Connor said, but large, 50-pound-plus cobia have moved in on certain artificial reefs, with the biggest on his boat being an 80-pounder. Connor wouldn't tell exactly where, but said they are there.

Catch Billy Nobles and Mike Anderson on the "Reel Animals Fishing Show" on Saturdays at 6:30 a.m. on WFLA, Ch. 8, and from 6-8 a.m. on 970 AM, and on Sundays from 7-9 a.m. on 620 AM. To book a charter, call 1-866-GAMEFISH or visit www.reelanimalsfishingshow.com.
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