Outdoors

Get out on the water soon to hook onto some rare fishing action

By Jon Chapman

Special to the Herald

Capt. Scott Moore and Ann Henderson hold up a 40-inch snook caught in the Gulf. PROVIDED PHOTO
Capt. Scott Moore and Ann Henderson hold up a 40-inch snook caught in the Gulf. PROVIDED PHOTO

Capt. Scott Moore is a living legend among local captains.

Since the early 1980s, he's been guiding anglers on the flats of West Central Florida.

He's considered a pioneer of live bait fishing with scaled sardines, the go-to tactic for inshore anglers like myself.

When Moore accomplishes something he's only done four times during those years of fish catching, the game must be good.

"We were fishing a day ahead of the front, and bigger snook started biting," Moore said. "That's when my angler, Anne Henderson, caught two snook over 40 inches -- in one day, on the flats. I've only had that done four times in 35-years of guiding ... catching two snook on the flats over 40 inches in the same day."

Moore says the recent warm weather trend has been a key factor in big fish biting.

The two fish were landed in separate locations: one being near Sister Key and the other around Tidy Island.

The combination of an approaching front, dropping barometer, tide change and, most importantly, hungry snook, was the perfect scenario for big fish.

Both were caught on whitebait while using light tackle and 2/0 hooks.

"One fish was about 40 inches and the other was 44 inches. I've caught multiple big fish while fishing passes like Stump, Longboat and Redfish Pass, or at Port Manatee. To do it on the flats is pretty special," Moore said

In addition to snook fishing, Moore was catching kingfish nearshore this past week.

The warm weather is a blessing for captains whose toughest task might be deciding what to fish for.

"If it stays warm, fishing will be great into December," he said. "I expect the kingfish to stay around, and gag grouper should be biting. This moon should set the gags off and start spawning despite the water temperature. Snook are still scattered around, and flounder are starting to show up in their normal spots, too."

In addition to his ability to catch fish, Moore is a leader of conservation and the science behind it.

He works closely with groups like Mote Marine and Fisheries Research.

On Nov. 7, the Teach-A-Kid Fishing Clinic will be held at the Mote Aquaculture Park (7 miles east of I-75 on Fruitville Road). There will be six hands-on stations for children ages 5 to 16, but the event is limited to the first 120 children.

The cost is $10 per child, and lunch will be provided.

More information can be found at mote.org/fishingclinic.

The William R. Mote Memorial Snook Shindig Research Tournament will be the following weekend, Nov. 13-14, honoring Moore.

Fishing will begin following a Friday evening captain's meeting and end at noon Saturday.

The event will help provide valuable information on tagged hatchery-reared snook released into Sarasota Bay.

More information can be found at mote.org/snookshindig.

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