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Outdoors

Daily fishing report

By DAVE MISTRETTA
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 14, 2003

Late-season tarpon are starting to arrive at many locations. Their migration south requires many stops along the way to eat, and the beaches are perfect because seemingly endless amounts of glass minnows are available.

Scanning the shoreline for rolling fish can be a chore, but after located they are eager to feed. Diving pelicans can be spotted from miles away, helping anglers find the big push of fish.

Cobia also have started to appear along the beaches. Their migration coincides with tarpon, sometimes traveling together as they feed. Many of the brown bombers are large females fattening up for their fall spawn.

Cobia are often confused with sharks by novice anglers. Do not be mistaken, cobia fillets are much better on the grill. The best way to differentiate cobia and sharks: A cobia's skin is dark brown on top with a white belly, and a shark is normally gray on top and dull white beneath.

If you want to catch some decent blacktip sharks before things cool down, this is a good month. The cooler evening hours combined with a swift incoming tide have been best.

My favorite bait for sharks is a pigfish with its tail cut off. The grunting sounds of this wounded, noisy baitfish attract any curious shark. Pigfish also are called "grass grunts" and are plentiful around the flats in the bays. A small, gold-hook rig baited with small pieces of squid works best to catch them for bait.

- Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call 727 595-3276, or e-mail sales@jawstoo.com


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