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It's a great weekend to cast away

By RICK FRAZIER

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 5, 2001


There is plenty to go around this weekend, no matter what type of fishing you enjoy.

There is plenty to go around this weekend, no matter what type of fishing you enjoy.

Red and gag grouper are reacting to the change in water temperature. Good fish in the 15-pound range that were being caught in 100-foot depths a couple of weeks ago are showing up in 70 feet. Frozen squid and sardines work for both species, but don't overlook frozen shad. Once the bite drops off with the frozen stuff, it's time to change to a live pinfish or sardine.

You will find gags on ledges and bottom breaks. Most reds will be on the limestone bottom. Remember to drop a chum basket to get things smelling right.

Snapper are being caught offshore along with grouper. If you're getting a lot of bites and coming up empty, scale down your tackle. These wary fish are the best bait stealers around.

If you don't feel like running offshore for grouper or snapper, both are being caught inside the bay. Many grouper are being taken by trolling big-lipped plugs along the edges of the shipping channel. Snapper are hanging near the edges as well, but anchor up and drop live whitebait.

Mackerel are making a strong showing along the beach and at the mouth of the bay. Check out the hard bottom between Anna Maria and Egmont Key and the rocky bottom off Redington Beach.

If you like to wade, there is no better time. Speckled trout will keep you busy, not to mention ladyfish and jacks. They're feeding on small whitebait and live shrimp. Free-lining is best, but if the grass is thick, add a small float. This will keep the bait out of the grass while allowing it to swim freely.

Pier and bridge anglers have been catching pompano, sheepshead, silver trout, mackerel and flounder. Live whitebait and shrimp are the most productive. For pompano, sheepshead and flounder, use a small weight. For trout and mackerel, it's best to free-line.

-- Captain Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters in St. Petersburg, (727)510-4376 or email captrick@luckydawg.com.

Fishing

(All phone numbers begin with 727 unless noted)

SATURDAY: Spanish mackerel tournament, Hurricane Pass Anglers Club, Home Port Marina, 785-3018.

SATURDAY: Hernando Builders Association's fifth annual tournament, Gulf Coast Marina, Hernando Beach, (352) 596-1114.

SATURDAY: Sixth annual Make a Difference Fishing Tournament for Special Kids, Pier 60, Clearwater Beach, (877) 736-5437.

SATURDAY: Third annual Hook a Cure Fishing Tournament, Friendship Trail Bridge and surrounding areas of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, (813) 258-0266.

SATURDAY: 18th annual Charlie Rice Memorial Tournament, Kingfish Wharf, Treasure Island, Treasure Island Charities, 363-0071.

SUNDAY: Tampa Pro Bass Fall Tournament Series, Lake Walk-in-Water, 789-0525.

UPCOMING: Big Mack Attack, Spanish Mackerel Tournament, Oct. 13, Billy's Stonecrab, Tierra Verde, 542-3900.

Seminars

TODAY: Fly-tying, Bill Jackson's, 576-4169.

SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Bill Jackson's, 576-4169.

SATURDAY: Fly-casting, World Class Outfitters, (813) 968-3736.

SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Saltwater Fly Fisherman, Clearwater, 443-5000.

Boating

TODAY-SUNDAY: Snipe Western Hemisphere Regatta, Davis Island Yacht Club, (813) 251-1158.

TONIGHT: USF Sail Club meeting, Bayboro Campus, 821-4840.

SATURDAY: Safe-boating course, Clearwater, 462-6368.

SATURDAY: Morgan Invasion, Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club, Treasure Island, 595-8206.

SATURDAY: Discover sailing, session consists of four Saturdays, Clearwater Community Center, Clearwater, 462-6368.

SATURDAY-SUNDAY: Bruce Watters Optimist Regatta, St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 822-3873.

Etc.

HUNTING REGULATION: Dog training season opens Saturday in the Central and South zones.

DAILY: Boyd Hill Nature Park tram tour, 893-7326.

SATURDAY: Guided hike, Brooker Creek Preserve; 943-4003.

SATURDAY: Weedon Island Preserve Guided Walk, 3 miles, reservations required, 217-7208.

* * *

-- Send information to Outdoors, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. All items must be typed and arrive 10 days before the event. Include event name, time, address and phone number.

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