It’s That Time Of Year Again By: Capt. TJ Shea

Cooler mornings, water temps dropping and the king fishermen are starting to twitch. As the days get shorter, there is no doubt the fishing gets hotter and, second to May, this is our favorite month of the year, as everything on our favorite playground is open.

The first signs of king mackerel should be appearing as they chase bait through our waters. We will be ready with two flat lines out on every boat. There is nothing better than surprising our shooters with a bonus smoker in the box when they come up from their dive. We like to use a frozen whole sardine on one rod and a live threadfin or cigar minnow on the other. Take the few extra minutes needed to Sabiki them up. Keep a sharp eye out for cobia too. Last year, we boated almost two dozen keepers in October and were not only rewarded with great table fare but, also, a $50 bonus for each one from the FWC collection program (visit for details.)

Our abbreviated gag grouper season is also in full swing. A 70-day season goes by quickly, especially this time of year when we have to deal with named storms from the South and cold fronts from the North. It’s like these groupers have the “back in the day” Mike Tyson on their side, throwing haymakers at us fishermen from the left and right. At the time of writing this article, we have already lost seven of the first ten days from this short season due to weather.
So, that means we will get out there every chance we can get and so should you!  Even though red snapper season is closed for us as a charter-for-hire, it is open for recreational anglers on select weekends, so pick your days and fill your fish boxes.

And, for those divers like me who would rather be diving without a wetsuit, now’s the time to squeeze in those last few warm Summer dives, because colder water is coming. We have enjoyed water temps reaching into the upper 80’s for months now, and we know to expect temperatures to take a nosedive around this time of year. So, when you’re done soaking in these last few long Summer days, unpack your boat coat and get ready for the typically clearer water and bigger fish that Fall and Winter in the Gulf can bring!