The Tampa Bay Times

There was damage done but it appears we were largely spared the wrath of hurricanes and tropical storms we’ve dealt with in the past.  As conditions improve it’s going to take a day or two getting back to normal.  Water got dirty due to rain and runoff and will need time to cleanse.  Strong tides from the current new moon phase can help.  They can hopefully help flush patches of the red tide we’ve incurred out of our area.  Bait schools will likely need a little time to regroup after being scattered by high winds and rough seas.  Use extra caution when navigating waterways following storms like Elsa, particularly in the dark.  Downed trees, limbs, patio furniture and other debris are often seen floating.  Boards that have let go from docks can be difficult to see and cause serious damage.  When able to get back at it, the rest of this month and all through next has been traditionally among my favorite times to mangrove snapper fish along the ships channel inside Tampa Bay .  Offering frisky whitebait is always my first choice but we’ll catch some of our biggest mangos on midsize pinfish or a two thirds chunk of a frozen sardine.  Take some stout tackle if you go.  Your 20 lb. mango outfits are no match for some of the full grown grouper that live there.  There are still going to be plenty of tarpon roaming our gulf beaches but this too is the time big numbers of the silverkings settle into the bays and backwaters.  While soaking fresh, dead shad on the bottom has always been my first choice, a lack of consistent availability the last couple years has forced us to experiment.  Cut mullet chunks have proved most productive.

Captain Jay Mastry 

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