Hernando County – Fishtober By: Capt. Joel Gant

That’s right fishing fans, finally what we’ve all been waiting for–some cooler weather. From inshore to offshore, the fishing should really turn on this month.

Every day, the grouper bite is in 25 to 35-foot water depths and is getting better on smaller structure such as ledges.  As the water stays calm, I’ve found that the fish start to move. So, target nice bottom spots in between the larger areas.  The incoming tide brings in cooler water which helps makes the fish more active.  Another key is to cut up some thread fins and start to chum before dropping down your bait.  Always anchor up-current to allow your chum to drift into the area you’re fishing.  On these trips, red and gag grouper and lots of silver snapper (grunts) are being caught. Always use strong equipment with a 7/0 circle hook, a 4 to 6-ounce weight and either cut bait or live bait. Be ready, because they will test you and your gear when they hit.

Another tactic I like to use as the water temp drops is to troll for grouper.  I love to troll some of my deep spots with lipped plugs.   Rapala, Yozuri and Bomber make some great plugs.  Run these down just off the bottom and be ready for a drag-ripping fight

Scallop season ended on Sept 24th. This season was good with limits being caught; but, all the rain and wind we had made it a little challenging at times.

Inshore fishing is also kicking into gear. The redfish and trout are starting to move into the shallower flats. Target them anywhere you can find structure and, even better, structure with bait on it. In our area, structure can be rocks, oyster beds or grass flats. Try to read the water for any movement, ripples, mullet jumping (I love happy mullet) or bait fish making it “rain” on the surface. Start with search baits like a spoon, jerk bait or subsurface bait. I’ve also had good luck with cut bait like mullet, ladyfish or pinfish. With these baits, I like to use a strike indicator (a bobber for the beginners), a peg weight and about a 4/0 circle hook. With this set up, just relax and wait until the fish comes to you.

There are good events here this month: Oct 17th the NCBA fishing tournament hosted by Blue Pelican Marina and the Hernando County Builders Association; Oct 24 is the 2020 Spearfishing Open hosted by Bottom Time Charters, Scuba Services and Blue Pelican Marina. Check Blue Pelican’s Facebook page or call there and ask for Christina.

I’m always looking for reports and pictures. You can email me or stop by my website and become a “FISHHEAD.” Get out there on the water and make some memories with friends and family!