Tricks and Treats
Autumn is here in Pensacola, Halloween is right around the corner, and it is starting to cool down. The hot triple-digit temps of the summers are behind us, and now we get North winds and cooler fronts that bring our temperatures down to the seventies and even lower some days.
One thing that doesn’t cool down in the fall here is the fishing. Sometimes when a cold front pushes through, it brings wind and rain, making it tricky to get offshore; when the weather cooperates, we are often treated to some phenomenal fishing!
The water also cools down this time of year which is a less friendly environment for algae bloom, making the water much cleaner looking. Some days the water looks so crystal clear it feels like you’re fishing in an aquarium!
The good thing about this clean water is that pelagic fish such as Mahi-Mahi, Blackfin Tuna, Sailfish, and Wahoo seem to show up when this happens. Perhaps the clarity of the water attracts them, as these species are pretty particular about the water conditions they live in.
This is why I love running guided fishing trips this time of year, I never really know what I am going to see until I get out there.
While it still is not a common occurrence to catch these pelagic species in the Gulf, the odds increase substantially this time of year. In fact, just a couple days ago I had an awesome trip with some repeat clients, Sabrina, Woods, and Madison.
We went out in the Gulf and caught a limit of Red Snapper by chumming them up to the top. Once we had our limit, we put some live baits out on wire leaders and looked for pelagics.
Nearly 30 seconds after the live bait hit the water, the drag started singing! 15-year-old Madison eagerly grabbed the fishing rod and began to wrestle with the 65 lb wahoo on the line. After about 15 minutes we got a gaff in the beautiful fish, and it was smiles all around. 30 minutes later, we found a school of small Mahi and caught a handful of those to top the box off.
In addition to the occasional pelagic action the fishing in general has been consistently productive.
Recently, trips have produced lots of Amberjack, other reef fish, and plenty of Sharks. As the water temps start dropping, some migratory fish will begin to push out in search of warmer water, which will make the fishing shift again. As of now, the fishing has been red hot, and if you want in on this action, it is time to get out here!
Within the next couple of weeks, the Pogys (menhaden) will start to push out of the bayous and into the bay. When this happens, we have a phenomenon we call “the bull run”.
Thousands of Bull Redfish school up and start devouring the Pogys as they work their way out. When it’s like that, those Redfish usually eat almost anything you present to them, and it is an absolute blast to catch them. Most of these Reds will be 30-40 inches in length and put up a great fight.
At the time of writing this article, we must release these trophy fish according to Florida regulations, but that doesn’t make them any less fun to catch!
If you have never fished with us in October/ November, I highly recommend it and hope to see you soon!