Capt. Jim Klopfer’s Fishing Forecast: October

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October is a fabulous month to be fishing on Siesta Key. Shorter, cooler days result in water temperatures dropping into the low 70s, bait will be thick in the bays and out on the beach, and that will attract the gamefish.

Many species are going to be caught using a variety of angling tactics. Redfish will still be schooled up on the flats in the north bay, snook will be in the bays, speckled trout, pompano, and Spanish mackerel will be feeding on the deep grass flats, and the beach should be outstanding for king and Spanish mackerel, false albacore, cobia, sharks, and even a stray tarpon.


  Anglers with small boats can catch large fish this month. The techniques and methods are really pretty simple. Mornings that dawn with easterly winds will find the inshore Gulf of Mexico flat and calm. Pods of baitfish will be seen on the surface, along with schools of feeding fish. Spanish mackerel, false albacore, king mackerel, and sharks are the main targets. Threadfins caught on Sabiki rigs and free-lined out behind the boat will catch just about everything. Trolling spoons and plugs produce as well.

Anglers fishing the surf off of the Siesta Key beaches should experience good action this month. Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, pompano, flounder and more will hit live and artificial baits. Mackerel like fast, flashy lures such as Gotcha plugs and silver spoons while the pompano and flounder prefer a bait that is moving slowly near the bottom. Jigs and live shrimp are a good choice.

  Casting jigs while drifting over deep grass flats will produce a lot of fish in October. Speckled trout, pompano, bluefish, mackerel, jacks, and ladyfish will hit a gold or glow Bass Assassin Sea Shad soft plastic grub on a ¼ -ounce jig head. Root beer and olive are also productive colors. Use light colored baits in clear water and dark colored baits in stained water. Spoons, plugs, and flies will also work well, as will live or artificial shrimp under a noisy cork. These same lures fished in Big Pass and New Pass will result in plenty of hook-ups as the fish migrate from the Gulf into Sarasota Bay. Fish right on the bottom for pompano and just under the surface for blues and mackerel.

Redfish will still be schooled up, but their numbers will be diminishing. The shallow flats in Roberts Bay and the north end of Siesta Key are great spots to try. The docks and oyster bars off of Siesta Key will also produce redfish, along with snook, snapper, flounder, and drum. A live shrimp is a a great bait for fishing docks while Rapala X-Rap jerk baits are very effective working bars and points. A high, outgoing tide is best.

Snook will be back in the bays and feeding aggressively on the flats, bars, and mangrove shorelines. Shallow diving plugs such as an (08) olive X-Rap are very effective and allow anglers to cover water quickly. Creek mouths, points, bars, and docks that have current are likely ambush spots. Bridges will produce a lot of snook for nocturnal anglers.

Jim Klopfer
Author: Jim Klopfer

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