Testing last week by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission showed low levels of red tide headed north to waters off Hernando County.
Testing showed low or very low levels about 20 miles offshore, although sampling showed “very low” levels about 4 miles off Hernando Beach.
Keith Kolasa, director of aquatic and waterways services for Hernando County, said the current concern is that if the red tide increases and moves into shallower waters, it could impact the current scallop season. , which so far has been good after a few bad seasons. . The scallop is open until September 24.
Kolasa urges people to help track the red tide by reporting killed fish to the FWC at 1-800-636-0511.
Captain Josh Fritz (352) 345-9304: Captain Josh said the best inshore bite was redfish. Some big fish rise between Hudson and Pine Island, coming up on the rocks and oyster beds when the water rises. Its anglers use live pinfish to bring the reds down to 31 inches. They also landed a few nose feet at 27 inches. Trout are on deep grass in 10 to 12 feet of water. A quarter ounce jig head and white plastic tail fished on the grassy bottom will get them. Deep sea fishing means long runs to deep waters. Gag groupers moved to 60 feet of water and beyond to find cooler water. Captain Josh probably won’t start fishing for them until they work their way shallower towards the end of September.
Hernando Fishing Tackle Shop Overview
Papa D’s Bayport Bait (352) 556-2163: Cory says the best news comes from the scallops working the flats off Bayport. It’s been a really good season, especially compared to the previous two years when most locals have to travel to Homosassa and Crystal River to find the delicious shellfish. Cory got a report from a buddy who launched in Bayport and worked in coastal waters with luck. They landed some snook, trout and sheep. They also took some cut pieces of cobia fishing bait. The action at sea has been slow and taking gags the size of a keeper means long trips in very deep water.
Dixie Lee Bait (352) 596-5151: Mark says nine out of 10 anglers report fishing rockfish very well. They run big and school along the coast of Hernando. Gold spoons or pieces of ladybug or mullet worked well. Snookers find a good number of fish around the mouths of the streams and outside the rocky points. Trout are on the grassy bottom in 10 to 14 feet of water. The scallop remains strong on the Bayport Flats. Offshore anglers start in 40 feet of water. Many were surprised by the good number of red guardian groupers this year. Fishing in 60 or 70 feet of water greatly improves the chances of getting them.
Mary’s Fishing Camp (352) 597-3474: Bell reports that the mules are in good numbers and the weekend anglers caught a few that were fishing behind the fish camp store. Anglers chop the mullet with handfuls of oatmeal mix and drop tiny hooks under floats with balls of batter on them that trick the fish into thinking the bait is a bit of the chum.
Overview of the Pasco & Pinellas hardware store
Cooper Shrimp Shack (727) 868-8736: Bill says things were slow at the store last week. A few reported doing well on the mangrove snapper and the odd sheep in the Hudson Canals. A few reds hang in the shade along the mangroves in the channels, taking plenty of live shrimp or pinfish. Offshore boats go 60 feet or more for gag grouper.
One-stop bait and tackle (727) 842-5610: Joe reports that anglers pounded the mangroves for redfish around high tide and did pretty well. They pick up the strange snub while they’re at it. Trout are on deeper weeds in 10 to 12 feet of water. Anglers find them shallower, but they have been undersized. Cobia are on the shallow flats. The action at sea was slow, with fewer anglers due to the depth of the fish.
Tarpon Trading Company (727) 937-1488: Larry says the scorching days of summer have arrived. The key now is to find clear water. Rain and uneven red tide make this more difficult, but most say they can do OK on reds and trout. While exploring Three Rooker Bar and Anclote Key over the weekend, Larry reports that the water was better than last week. Reports indicate that 5 and 10 miles west of Anclote Key there are signs of red tide.
Armed Fishermen (727) 945-1808: Captain Griff reports that his anglers are doing well in the inshore rock and oyster bass for redfish. The schools of sardines were abundant, a good sign that the red tide is not present. Charter captains report good numbers of trout on the deeper grassy plains. Night shark fishing at Anclote Park North Pier was good. Offshore anglers go down to 80 feet for gags, amberjack and blackfin tuna.
J&J Bait and Tackle II (727) 940-7928: James says offshore anglers have had good success catching snapper and gag grouper in 60 feet of water and deeper. On land, most come out early to beat the heat, marking reds on rocks and oysters north and south of the Anclote River. The trouts are on the deeper beds.
The Rusty Bucket (727) 645-6598: Bill says his anglers are doing well on the red shoals along the rocks, oysters and mangroves between New Port Richey and Hudson. Pieces of cut pinfish and ladyfish caught on the bottom yield live bait. The strange snooker also picks up dead bait. Deep sea anglers report catching lots of hogs on a rocky bottom in 20 to 30 feet of water. Some yellowtail snappers are caught in 40 feet of water, which is shallower than the species can normally be found. Water between 6 and 10 miles offshore is rumored to show signs of red tide, so anglers avoid these depths.