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The waiting game isn't over yet

By DOUG HEMMER

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 10, 2000


Weather patterns can disrupt the normal feeding areas of most game fish. Water temperature that is too hot or cold causes migrations to slow.

Fish that should be in our area by now are miles north and will stay there until the next cold front. If the front is mild, we should see large numbers of kingfish, cobia, mackerel and sharks. A severe cold front that drops the water temperature into the middle 60s would cause a mass exodus of fish heading for warmer, deeper water. If the temperature stays in the 60s, these fish will head south and might miss the inshore areas that are accessible to most kingfish anglers.

These same conditions are confusing snook. Areas that held fish in September and then became barren after the last cold front are again seeing an increase in activity. I have been catching big snook in places normally fished in the summer.

Trout fishing in lower Tampa Bay is pretty good with some weighing more than 5 pounds. The main push should show up when the water gets a little cooler.

Grouper are being caught in water as shallow as 20 feet in the gulf and over the rock piles in Tampa Bay.

Gulf front piers are reporting catches of kingfish and mackerel. Newcomers should ask pier regulars for advice on how to land big kings.

- Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 347-1389.

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