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Now is the best time for fishing

By RICK FRAZIER

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 29, 2000


Legend has it that the best fishing days are from the new moon to the full moon. We're right in the middle of that, so grab your gear and head out because there's plenty from which to choose.

Let's start inshore and make our way offshore.

The big three, trout, reds and snook, are making a comeback since Hurricane Gordon dirtied the water. Plenty of speckled trout are gorging themselves on glass minnows on the shallow grass flats. If you have a difficult time locating the minnows, diving least terns will pinpoint the anchovies. It's a good idea to downsize tackle for trout because they're feeding on small minnows. The best baits are small silver spoons in the 00 size. It's no secret redfish are still on the move, and action has been spotty. The best bet is to get out at high tide and scour the mangrove islands and oyster bars until you locate a school. Gold spoons are always good. Snook are still in the beach passes, under docks in the Intracoastal Waterway and along the mangrove shorelines. Grunts, also known as pigfish, are the best bait, the livelier the better. Hook them through the upper lip and use no weight. Pigs are not as rugged as pinfish and usually two or three casts are all you'll get out of them. Waders should try the Fourth Street area close to the Howard Frankland Bridge, Honeymoon Island and Fort De Soto Park. An inshore slam isn't out of the question. Permit and pompano have been caught on the grass flats and along the beaches on artificial and live bait. Small, heavy jigs are best, and fiddler crabs are also good. Work the most turbulent water you can find.

The bay and gulf piers are producing mackerel, snapper, sheepshead, trout and snook. Fishing is best at night. Spanish mackerel are hovering around the nearshore artificial reefs and hard bottom areas. Grouper action remains steady starting in about 70 feet. Reds are most abundant and are easily located over areas with Swiss-cheese bottom.

-- Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters in St. Petersburg. Call (727) 448-3817 or e-mail captrick@luckydawg.com.

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