Season is Finally Here

By: Capt. Billy Norris

The roads are packed, restaurants are full, and getting around town is like driving in a crash derby.  However, out on the water, it has been peaceful with a lot of action both in the backwaters and nearshore. In the backwaters, snook and redfish have continued to bite well.  The water has dropped significantly in the last few weeks, so start to anticipate less aggressive strikes from fish than during the summertime months when fish are much more active.  On particularly cold days, swapping out live bait for cut bait sometimes does the trick to entice big lazy reds and snook.  There have also been trout everywhere, which is a welcomed arrival since their near population decimation in the 2018 red tide event.  We also have been catching some nice black drum and sheepshead in the back as the water continues to cool down.

Offshore has been outstanding and bottom fishing has been producing a lot of snapper and gag grouper.  Although most of the gags are short, under the new 24” min size, we have been catching some nice keepers as well.  The real star of the show over the last month have been the cobia.  This has been one of the best years for cobia that I have fished in a while.  It has not been uncommon for us to limit out on cobia on a charter this month.  Most of the fish have been perfect sized, 36 or so to the fork, but there have been some monsters mixed in there too.  The water has cooled and kingfish are showing up as well so bust out that steel leader!

Wintertime fishing is just getting started, and if this past month has been a foreshadowing of what to expect this month, then we should be looking forward to a stellar winter fishing season!