Fish behavior changes as tropical systems approach

Anglers fishing with Capt. Todd Romine enjoyed plenty of redfish action as Hurricane Matthew approached.
Anglers fishing with Capt. Todd Romine enjoyed plenty of redfish action as Hurricane Matthew approached. PHOTO PROVIDED

Growing up, I always wanted to fish when tropical systems approached. Stories of fish acting so silly that they wanted to eat anything and everything as the weather approached made it hard to resist getting out despite windy conditions. There is something about the approaching weather that sends fish into a frenzy. One of those silly fish bites happened this week for Capt. Todd Romine as Hurricane Matthew skirted the east coast of Florida.

“On Thursday I had a group of two anglers. One stopped counting after catching 35 to 37 redfish,” Romine said. “Between the two of them we probably caught 70 redfish with trout, snook, jacks and mackerel mixed in.”

For Romine, the fishing has been great since redfish showed up about three weeks ago. He’s been able to consistently get on schools allowing catches of large numbers of fish. When timed with the approaching storm, it sent the schools of fish into an absolute frenzy that led to incredible days this week. Imagine catching so many fish you’re worn out.

“Wednesday, the guys I had wanted to stop fishing at 11:30 a.m., they didn’t want to catch another fish. At one point there were three redfish on while porpoises greyhounded into the school. It was like the wild kingdom out there. But the fish held and kept eating, the porpoises didn’t phase them.”

The schools of redfish have been larger slot and over slot fish. When found, live or dead bait was eaten without hesitation.

One key that Romine said has helped find fish has been red tide. It has been causing issues off the beaches and around the bay. By knowing where the red tide is, he has avoided it, and the fish are concentrated in the areas of clean water.

“It’s a cycle and seems to happen every few years,” the captain of 32 years said. “The red tide has been bad, and it can kill your bait if you run through it. It’s really nothing new, and I’ve learned to fish around it. It can really concentrate the fish in areas where the red tide isn’t.”

After a hard west wind behind the storm moved red tide further into the bay, a potential strong northeast breeze this week will help push red tide and dirty water offshore while cleaning up bay and beach waters. This will set the stage for early fall fishing that could be some of the best of the year.

Capt. Todd Romine can be reached at (941) 920-5049.

Solunar table


6:25 p.m.

6:50 a.m.


7:15 p.m.

7:40 a.m.


8:05 p.m.

8:35 a.m.


9 p.m.

9:25 a.m.


9:50 p.m.

10:20 a.m.


10:45 p.m.

11:15 a.m.


11:40 p.m.

11:50 a.m.

Oct. 16

12 a.m.

12:20 p.m.

Oct. 17

12:40 a.m.

1:10 p.m.

Oct. 18

1:35 a.m.

2:05 p.m.

Oct. 19

2:35 a.m.

3:05 p.m.

Oct. 20

3:35 a.m.

4:05 p.m.

Oct. 21

4:30 a.m.

5 p.m.

Oct. 22

5:30 a.m.

5:55 p.m.

Oct. 23

6:20 a.m.

6:45 p.m.

Source: U.S. Naval Observatory data