Snapper, grouper, sailfish, dolphin and lobster should be hungry and easy to catch
By Steve Waters
Southeast Florida was spared the damage and destruction of Hurricane Ian, but the blustery winds and resulting rough seas from the storm’s feeder bands kept people from fishing offshore. As the wind and waves subside, anglers should enjoy the best fishing of the fall.
“The most important thing is everything is displaced by the storm,” said Capt. Bouncer Smith, one of the experts on the Nautical Ventures Weekly Fisherman radio show that airs from 6-8 a.m. Saturday on Fox Sports 940 Miami and live-streams on the Nautical Ventures Facebook page.
“Anything on the reef -- snappers, groupers, lobsters -- they all have to go offshore to breathe because the sand is so mixed up in the water. They’re away from their homes, they’re looking for new homes and they haven’t eaten for several days, so they’re ravenous.”
Smith said the weekend should be a prime time for lobsters to walk off local beaches, which makes them easy to catch as they line up and follow each other north. The tasty crustaceans leave reefs and rock piles for deeper water before a storm. After the storm, they line up and walk along the bottom in shallow water. After some storms, people snorkeling off the beach easily caught their limit of six lobsters in just 10 feet of water.
A regular contributor to the radio show since it began in September of 2006, Smith said he’d focus his fishing efforts in 75-200 feet.
“The offshore fishing should just be phenomenal,” Smith said, who said cold water temperatures to the north should have lots of swordfish, dolphin and sailfish swimming south.
Catching live bait might be tough because baitfish also were displaced by the storm. If you can’t catch bait, Smith said to bring some rigged swimming mullet or ballyhoo to troll with.
If he’s bottom fishing, Smith likes to use a whole dead ballyhoo. He rigs it on a 20- to 30-foot leader with a circle hook through both lips and a J-hook back in the middle of the bait.
“It’ll do great on the muttons, red, black and gag groupers and any kingfish that are down there,” Smith said.
For the latest, most up-to-date fishing reports and fishing tips from Smith and other top saltwater and freshwater captains, listen to The Nautical Ventures Weekly Fisherman radio show every Saturday morning from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. live on Fox Sports 940 Miami, an iHeart station. If you can’t tune in live, the Weekly Fisherman radio podcasts are available through:
Fox Sports 940 Miami:
https://foxsports940.iheart.com/featured/weekly-fisherman/about/ (click on podcasts)
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