September 2008 Forecast, by Captain Van Hubbard.

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September is snook season and prime time for big storms.<br />
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It’s good news, snook are open, bad news it’s hurricane peak time. Snook have been plentiful and I do expect good action. Redfish have shown up better ever month and trout are larger now too. Baitfish are still abundant and should hold in the area till colder weather and that’s a long ways off. Snapper and mackerel offer action and table fare. Off shore is productive if you can swing the fuel bill. We have fish and let’s hope the weather cooperates. It’s still hot but will begin to slightly cool off late this month. There is some other big event the 27th I just can not remember what it is, if you figure it out please offer your encouragement, I’ll need it. <br />
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It was not as easy as usual this summer but we do have a lot of snook and some are slot fish. It was a weird summer down here in Stump Pass and Ski Alley and our area beaches. We did enjoy some good action with quality trophies however we did not see the numbers we are used to but there were steady fish. All the west winds for a week at a time, probable messed up the water more than usual so we may not have been able to see as much either. The huge minnow crop will defiantly help all our local fish feed up and grow faster this year. All the free food has not helped our catching so far but that will change as it cools off even slightly. Snook have already started moving inland so look inside for action. We have a challenge cast netting bait because of the stinging jelly fish so be ware. Look where you cast net. Snook catching should be better than it has down here in years the next few months!<br />
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Redfish are back in the picture better than in recent years. No big numbers but we are catching plenty and even some double headers again. Most are slot fish but a few bigger ones and lots of 17 – 18 inch fish. It’s good to have something bright to look forward to these days. Maybe the reds will eat up some of the overpopulated spider crabs? We don’t have any blue crabs now. Nature keeps us on our toes; stocks up and down. I hear scallops are making a come back thanks to improved water quality what is the chance Florida Fish and Wildlife will let us harvest a few next year? I am all for management but feed up with micro managing without up to date facts. Fish stocks are up and we need to enjoy the bounty without over doing it; speak up or do with out. <br />
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Trout have come back strong also. We had a 27 inch trout last month. All the food is fattening them up fast. We can expect some quality speck fishing till the November/December closure. It’s not always easy to get on a bite but fish size has improved this summer. Those rattle/noise corks are worth the price and you can make your own too if you choose. Soft plastics work great here just keep the rattles rocking; this noise calls trout. Lure or natural baits work under the corks. Use those de hookers here because this is a delicate fish and release trout should not be handled at all. Move on if trout are small they are cannibalistic and do not run together. <br />
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We are enjoying the best baitfish hatch this year that I have seen in the 35 years I been on working on Tampa Bay and Boca Grande waters. Some are Spanish Sardines, others scaled sardines/white bait and plenty of threadfins/ greenbacks are all schooled up and growing rapidly along our Gulf Coast. What a blessing this has been and should continue to be. Fish are fattening up faster than normal and will be hungry as it starts to cool off later this fall. We have had lots of unusual west winds but the rain has helped.<br />
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Mangrove snapper are as abundant as ever also. Most are small but growing fast. The smaller fish can be scaled and pan fried Caribbean style for great eating and less waste than filleted. Use required circle hooks and carry your venting tool and dehooker to stay out of trouble; it’s the law. You are required to throw back any taken accidentally on “J” hooks. Light line and smaller hooks are recommended and spend the money for fluorocarbon it works much better in clear water situations. Shrimp and those easy to find minnows are perfect baits. Chum helps here. <br />
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Spanish Mackerel can be a meal saver now. They are around the passes and baitfish schools. Keep it light here also. Try a 30 – 40 pound fluorocarbon leader here and long shank hooks helps prevent cut offs. Carry extras you will need em. Use chum, frozen bags and a few minnows will enhance your catch. The bags of chum will let you anchor and save gas money. Trolling works to locate fish if you like. Be sure to carry extra ice to protect your catch for dinner. Fresh fish tastes much better and is good for you. You do have liberal limits here and can share with friends and family. Let them help you catch a few too.<br />
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Off shore skippers are catching fish and have reported a lot less boats out there with fuel cost up. So it’s worth the effort and expense just slow down and troll out or back. You can learn more about you fishing area as you look closer. The days of blasting from hot number to another is past; take the time to enjoy the ride. The big Fall Migration is already schooling up and heading our way! Let’s Go Fishin’ soon. Captain Van Hubbard. <www.captvan.com> <br />

Captain Van Hubbard

P.O. Box 146
Placida, FL 33946

941-468-4017

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