fishing Forecast

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  • 11/01/2017 4:50 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Loving the Mullet Run
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    November is renowned for delivering breezy easterly winds to Central Florida as our first significant cold fronts pass. Although windy, fishing remains outstanding in and around the inlets until water temperature drop below 70 degrees and as long as sea conditions remain fishable.

    In the inlets of Ponce De Leon, Port Canaveral and Sebastian, snook fishing will remain excellent during low light periods and at night as the baitfish traveling down the beach are forced in close to the jetties and other structure with the best action occurring during slack tidal periods, especially the end of high tide. During these periods hungry gamefish take advantage of slower currents and feed heavily. As the tide begins to fall gamefish move into their ambush locations to finish off their frenzy. Breeder redfish, snook, jack crevalle, bluefish, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, sharks, and tarpon all share in the fury, so step up your tackle size and hold on.

    My favored technique is to castnet live mullet and drift them through the passes on a sliding sinker rig. Look for areas of feeding activity, birds diving and fish busting, and adjust the size of your weight based on current.

    The rig I use starts out with a Daiichi Bleeding Bait circle hook proportionate to your bait size to allow a natural swimming action. In simple terms, small bait small hook, large bait large hook.

    Next, I attach a 30-inch section of 30 to 40 pound test Gamma fluorocarbon leader to a 20-pound test braided mainline. If large tarpon are your target or are suspected, step your leader size up to 60-pound test. Before I tie on my hook, I slide my slip sinker on to the leader, then attach the hook, and finish the rig off by using a split shot, small swivel or plastic bead located between the barrel sinker and the hook adjusted to keep the weight off of the hook.

    As I drift through the passes, I like to cast parallel to my drift with just enough weight to keep the bait in the feeding zone, and increase the barrel sinker size as the current picks up. Additionally, as we near the end of November and finger mullet diminish, switch to croakers, pinfish or pigfish as bait.

    Finally and most important, fishing the inlet passes in November can be dangerous. So as I drift through the inlet I keep the helm manned with my engine running, keeping a close eye on boat traffic and sea conditions. Always be prepared for evasive action if needed.

    As the first significant cold front passes and surf temperatures reach the 68-degree mark, flounder slide into the inlets on their annual spawning migration out to sea. The exodus usually begins with the arrival of the smaller 1 to 3-pound gulf flounder (three spot), which are later joined by the doormat size 2 to 14-pound southern flounder.

    Many anglers prefer to anchor up and fish live finfish on the bottom, but I favor drifting the lagoon side of the passes bouncing a 1/4 ounce DOA CAL Jig 3" CAL Shad tail on the bottom. This vertical jigging technique allows me to cover more area and catch a wider assortment of species. Likewise, as lagoon temperatures cool, pompano are another likely target as they congregate on the lagoon side of the passes before moving out to their winter haunts along the beaches to feed on sand fleas (mole crabs) their favorite winter food.

    Cobia and tripletail fishing can be very good this time of year depending on ocean temperatures (71 to 74 degrees is best) and winter weather conditions. To target them, head east out of Port Canaveral or Sebastian Inlet looking for rips, sargassum and flotsam pushed in by the easterly fetch. Once you have located the floating structure, work the rip with the sun to your back looking for fish suspended underneath. You can catch them on spinning tackle or fly, or a live shrimp on a jig.

    Water levels are still on the high side in the lagoons, but as we move into the winter months falling water levels and cleaner conditions will facilitate increased sight fishing prospects for both redfish and sea trout. Additionally, we are currently near the end of our fall mullet run, so these inshore species of fish will be transitioning their feeding habits from finfish to shrimp and crab, so adjust your lure selections accordingly and look for more tailing fish up on the flats.

    Although coming down slowly the St Johns River is still at flood stage. As water levels drop and the ramps reopen, look for the crappie bite to kick in on the big lakes of the St Johns River. Cooler water temperatures will facilitate groups of crappie in deeper water in preparation for spawning. This seasonal transition marks the beginning of crappie season in Florida. My preferred methods are to slow troll several long lines out the side rigged with TTI Blakemore Road Runners tipped with live minnows as well with several vertical jigging rigs set up with tandem jigs tipped with live minnows. Crappie are often overlooked by most Florida anglers, that is until to catch a few and cook them up, and from that point on you are a crappie angler.

    If you are a crappie or American shad angler, the 9th Annual Central Florida Shad and Crappie Derby begins on November 1st and extends through the winter into spring. It's free for anglers and you can fish anywhere in Florida, so be sure you stop by a participating retail location before you hit the water and sign up. Visit https://www.facebook.com/OrlandoCoastalAnglerMagazine for more details.

    Saving the best for last, the 4th Annual Catfish Toy Rod Challenge for Charity is approaching. This event is the most fun anglers can have with their clothes on. It is scheduled for Sunday November 26th from 8:00 to 1:00 PM at Mullet Lake Park near Geneva, Florida.

    The Toy Rod Challenge is a holiday season charity toy run for anglers. Teams of anglers compete and the largest total inches of catfish wins. Rules require anglers to use only toy rods as they compete for  the title of Catfish King and Catfish Queen. The highlight of the event is a boat parade and fish fry at the end. For more details on the Annual Catfish Toy Rod Challenge please contact me at mosquitocoast@cfl.rr.com.

    As always, if you have questions or need more information, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
    407-416-1187


  • 10/31/2017 6:24 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Winter pattern begins
    by Capt. Michael Manis

    For the most part, this month marks the beginning of a winter pattern.  The combination of cyclical low tides combined with strong breezes associated with northern fronts change everything. In addition to dropping the temperature, the predominant northerly winds also push water out of the harbor making low tides even lower. This is the time small shallow draft skiffs have an advantage as many areas become just too difficult to navigate safely. Even with the shallower drafting skiffs, caution should be foremost as its way too easy to damage your boat as well as the shallow grass flats.

    In addition to changing the landscape, the weather is about to change the habits of our snook for a while. Being a sub-tropical species, they are particularly vulnerable to cold temperatures. They don’t like it when the water temperature drops below 70, and below 60, can be downright lethal.  It’s possible we won’t see this extreme until next month but you just never know. When the weather does cool, snook will begin moving off the flats and up creek and river systems where they can find more stable water temperatures.  

    Redfish and trout aren’t bothered by the cold and they’ll stay out on the flats; or, what’s left of the flats on low water. Under these conditions, the fish will gravitate toward the sand holes that are mixed in with the sand and grass. On the higher tide stages, they’ll move around on the flats; but, when the water drops out, they’ll have no choice but to drop into the slightly deeper holes. Deeper is a relative term and on the flats in and around Charlotte Harbor this can measure in inches. These depressions are referred to as “potholes” and they’re much easier to find when the sun gets up a bit.

    It’s more or less like sight fishing. There are flats all over that contain this kind of bottom structure; however, my favorite areas also include good amounts of turtle grass. Three areas in particular, Lemon Bay, and Gasparilla and Pine Island Sound hold some of my favorite flats.

    On the flip side, there are going to be days where the wind lays down and that’s the perfect time to get out those boats that can’t navigate the skinny water. Pompano should be all over the hard bottom off cape Haze Point and black drum are a good bet at the U.S. 41 Bridge. A piece of blue crab is great bait. All in all, it’s tough not to stick your nose out of one of the passes and idle around within a mile of the beach between Boca Grande and Little Gasparilla Pass. Keep an eye out for birds; you’ve got a shot at kingfish, bonita, spanish mackerel, big jacks and blacktip sharks.

    Until next month, good tides.

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    (941) 628-7895
    mike@puntagordaflycharters.com
    www.puntagordaflycharters.com


  • 10/31/2017 6:11 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Nearshore wrecks and reefs could be hot
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    November has begun and this month gives some of the best fishing available. With the cooling of the waters to our North, fishing in Southwest Florida will be great. Cold fronts will be the only concern during November as that’s about the only thing that can slow a bite down for a few days. Typically, as cold fronts push through we will watch the water temperatures.  A drop in water temperature can stunt the fishing for a few days at a time.

    With a little luck, we won’t see many cold fronts and day time temperatures will be in the low 80’s with mornings in the mid 60’s. These perfect conditions are conducive to good fishing both in the backcountry and along our nearshore wrecks and reefs. Redfish, snook, and trout will be the major back bay targets, as well as tarpon, cobia, kingfish and tripletail in our near shore waters.

    So now that we know what we’re dealing with let’s talk about how to use that knowledge to our advantage. On the days when the wind is low and preferably East, patrolling the crab buoys and markers is a great option especially for sight casters. Tripletail are a popular species for anglers of all skill levels, and are in good numbers throughout the area. This run and gun type of fishing also tends to find you coming across other pelagic species often.

    Bonita can be found quiet often and can be seen from miles away at times crashing schools of threadfins. Cobia are making their migration South following the same bait as the tarpon, so if you’re paying attention you’ll have shots at both. You’ll also see free jumping kingfish this time of the year. If you have a plug already rigged up and ready to go a quick troll around those areas will probably get you one.

    Now on days with wind I’ll be fishing the back bays, rivers, and creeks. The redfishing will be good and you can target them many ways. Cut baits, shrimp, skipping baitfish under bushes, or artificial lures are all very popular depending on your anglers’ skill level.  We’ll begin seeing more blackdrum, mackerel, and sheepshead as the water temperatures push closer to the low 70’s. This usually starts toward the end of the month, however its Mother nature driven so you never know.

    Snook if they haven’t already moved into the winter haunts, they will now. Targeting the creeks and rivers is a good start when looking for the line sider. Bait shouldn’t be a problem and if we don’t get to cold to fast it should be here.

    Our passes and nearshore areas will give those looking for action plenty to do. Targeting these areas when the wind isn’t coming from the West is a good bet. As the sand in these passes gets moved around bait becomes plentiful for lots of fish. I prefer throwing jigs tipped with a piece of shrimp. This technique will work for an array of species from pompano all the way to ladyfish. When fishing passes a rarely anchor down. Simply setting up long drifts through different depths of water will give you the best idea of what depth fish are in. Often starting near the sand bars is best. Tides move in and out also produce different bites so experimenting a little often helps.

    Tight lines,
    Capt. Greg Stamper

    Snookstampcharters.com
    239-313-1764


  • 10/31/2017 6:03 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Pomps a Possibility
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    November is always a fun month to enjoy the fishing along the Treasure Coast.  We are in the middle of our winter transition and you can also count on cooler temperatures that will start the thermometer sliding when it comes to the water temps as well.  The days will remain nice and warm, but the nights will become cooler this month.  It’s time to change your fishing tactics out on the water.  We enjoyed a very mild winter this past year and hopefully it will be the same again this winter.  

    The fall mullet run will continue into November and bring lots of action to the inlets, rivers and beaches throughout the area.

    Trout will continue to be a target of many anglers.  The trout bite will be good on the flats, but you must move to the deeper areas as the temperatures cool the water down.  Look for them to be in three to six feet of water this month.  My favorite lures are DOA shrimp or Deadly Combos when trout fishing.  Don’t forget to fish the sand holes and drop offs on the flats.  Many sand holes are much deeper than the flat and you can expect some nice fish to be hiding in them waiting for that easy meal to drift by.

    Harbor Branch is especially productive for me during this time of year as well as the Midway Road area.

    The pompano are beginning to return to the river and will be a favorite target for anglers throughout the winter.  When fishing the surf, use sand fleas or clams and the same in the river.  Don’t forget to try a Doc’s Goofy Jig for the pomps.  Many are located when they skip behind the boat wake.  Keep your eyes open for them.

    The snook bite will continue to be good, especially at night.  The inlet, jetties, bridges and docks around the river will be holding snook.  Lighted docks are very popular when night fishing.  Live baits, Bait Busters and Terror Eyz are very popular for snook fishing.  Don’t forget the spillways when the water is running over them.  They can be another very productive area for snook. 

    Redfish can be found hanging under mangroves during the day and will strike a DOA  2 ¾” shrimp or CAL jerk bait.  You might also find some hanging under some of the docks around the river.  Look for them in shallow water as long as the sun keeps the temperatures warm.  I love the CAL grub tails this time of year around the mangroves.   A gold spoon can be another good lure in winter for hooking up on a redfish.  We had a record year for over slot redfish this year.  The population continues to grow in our area.

    Docks and bridges will hold black drum, sheephead and the sand perch should also show up this month.  Live or dead shrimp always works best on these fish.  I love fishing docks this time of year.  You just never know what might be lurking under one.  I fish my lures from up tide of the dock, so that it will stay under the dock.  You only have to twitch it and can fish it much longer that way.  It’s always a challenge in getting a fish out from under one, but the excitement is well worth it. 

    You should still find some flounder around on the sand flats of the inlet and river.  The mackerel, bluefish and jacks will fill up the inlet this month.  Most shiny lures will work on these predators.  You can also find them hanging in the channels up around Harbor Branch.  It might be breezy out there…..but the fish will be feeding!

    As always, remember, fishing is not just another hobby....it's an ADVENTURE!!

    Good Fishing and Be Safe,
    Captain Charlie Conner

    http://www.fishtalescharter.com  
    email: captaincharlie@fishtalescharter.com   
    772-284-3852

  • 09/30/2017 5:15 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Transitioning to schooling
    by Capt. Greg Manis

    This month continues the transition that began last month as we push slowly towards cooler weather. Although it’s still extremely hot during the day, I can feel the difference just before dawn. Before low tides and consistent north winds push our way, it’s time to take advantage of the best redfish angling of the year as the spawn peaks and fish are schooled up throughout the area. Although our redfish fishery is not what it used to be, there’s still nothing quite like setting up on a group of reds. Of course, catch and release is standard procedure. 

    Besides the obvious visual experience, there’s another advantage and even one disadvantage to working a group of fish as compared to the singles or doubles we find throughout the year. When grouped up, the fish tend to be a bit more aggressive as they have to compete for food. On the downside, it’s fairly easy to spook or scatter an entire school as all you have to do is alarm one fish and it can mess up the whole bunch. That’s just the nature of schooling fish; I see it with mullet all the time. It’s amazing how quick an entire school can just disappear. Fins and no fences we like to say.

    Fortunately, there should be groups of fish scattered throughout the bays and sounds that surround Charlotte Harbor. So, no matter where you load or fish from, you shouldn’t have to travel too far. To the north, Lemon Bay can be good and don’t hesitate to look on either side of the intracoastal around Stump Pass. Besides holding fish, I like the fact that it’s an idle zone outside the Intracoastal that means the fish aren’t getting run over all day. This makes a big difference.

    A little further south, the Placida area around the Boca Grande Causeway just outside the public ramp holds some good turtle grass flats that can fish well. On the other side of the causeway, over in Gasparilla Sound, all the flats from outside Gasparilla Marina to down past the Whiddens area and out towards Devilfish Key have potential. I also like to spend time in Pine Island Sound looking around the flats adjacent to the intracoastal in the Useppa and Cabbage Key area. If you like to load at Ponce Park in Punta Gorda, keep an eye out on the bar anywhere from Pirate Harbor down to Buzzard Bay.  

    Even though it’s prime redfish time; if you’d like, there are plenty of other options. Trout are scattered just about anywhere there is mixed sand and grass in two to three feet. Snook are transitioning and Turtle Bay and the west wall should fish well for catch and release. In addition, tarpon are in the upper harbor and the bridges are prime spots. Lastly, if you’re looking for a mixed bag that might include trout, jacks, spanish mackerel, and maybe even a red, try a drift or two on Cape Haze Point.

    Until next month, good tides,

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    (941) 628-7895
    mike@puntagordaflycharters.com
    www.puntagordaflycharters.com

  • 09/30/2017 5:12 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Red October
    by Capt Greg Stamper

    October is finally here and nicknamed “Red October” for a reason. Redfish will be top billing all month as they begin schooling up and chasing bait. Typically, this is the month in Southwest Florida when redfish school up on the flats, beaches, and offshore as they fatten up on the hordes of bait, crabs, and mullet available. It’s a great time to be fishing especially on the strong tide days as fish can be seen pushing water from great distances. The cool part about seeing pushes of water, is it isn’t always what you think it is. Often, you’ll be pitching baits at a school of redfish only to be greeted by snook, jacks, or trout all good with me either way. There’s a lot of other targets we will pursue throughout the month but redfish are certainly first choice when schooled up.

    Snook fishing is also very good during October, but being that the season is open they’ve also been subjected to a little more pressure. Regardless, if you know where they are, you can have a lot of fun with fish ranging as small as 18” all the way up to those pushing 40” plus. Your best bet is to put your trolling motor down and cruise slowly around the areas you think they should be in. Snook like to hang out in groups or packs this time of the year so if you see one, there’s probably a bunch more around so we’ll work those areas well. Snook can transition toward their Winter haunts during October if we get any cold fronts that make their way through the area. If no real cold fronts make it, then the fish won’t go anywhere till next month as there will be plenty of bait still on the beaches and nearshore waters. Last year that push to the rivers, creeks and similar winter haunts didn’t even happen till December, so it’s all up to Mother nature in that respect.

    Tarpon fishing can be outstanding October and November based on the cold fronts and what happens there. We had no real fronts make their way through Southwest Florida till December last year and thus we caught tarpon all the way till then as the schools of herring left end of the year. Tarpon will be found along our beaches, bridges, and nearshore feeding well till the water finally gets to cold and the bait continues its journey South. Typically, these migrating tarpon are around a hundred pounds so be sure to bring the right tackle to get the job done.

    Our nearshore wrecks and reefs are another awesome fishery during October. Permit, cobia, snappers, etc.. are all available to target as well as one of my favorites the tripletail. It’s not uncommon to catch tripletail upwards of 20 pounds down here over the next few months. Most tripletail are caught site casting, but those willing to put faith into their favorite markers and bridge pilings can also be generously rewarded. Tripletailing is a run and gun type of fishing, so covering lots of ground usually gives anglers the best chance of getting a big one.

    Finally, the cuts, river mouths, and passes heat up from here till it gets cold.  I use the word cold loosely as my Northern friends laugh when I say, “you realize it’s going to be 59 degrees tomorrow morning” but that’s cold for us! As we get close to the end of the month the water temperatures can drop into the high 70’s. That triggers pompano to start chewing, as well as trout, mackerel, and the occasional bluefish. When the water finally starts cooling off everything will change around here. So keep tabs on water temperatures and watch for those initial fronts moving down the coastlines and you’ll be able to plan out a great day of fishing for yourself.

    Tight lines Capt Greg Stamper
    Snookstampcharters.com
    239-313-1764


  • 09/30/2017 5:05 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Mullet run dominates
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    October marks the transition into the fall weather patterns along the Treasure Coast.  You can expect temperatures to begin to cool down somewhat into more comfortable days to enjoy the outdoors.  Water temperatures will begin t!o slowly cool off as well.  This year has brought us lots of rain and Hurricane Irma so far.  Irma was not kind to Florida!  October provides great weather and hungry fish.  It's a fantastic month to be fishing

    The fall mullet run will continue to dominate the area as large schools of finger mullet fill the beaches, inlets and rivers of the area.  You can expect lots of big fish to be feeding on them both day and night.  Snook fishing will be best during the night hours on the higher ends of the tides.  Live finger mullet, croakers and pigfish will be the best live baits to use.  

    DOA Terror Eyz, Bait Busters and feather jigs will be good artificial lures to use for snook.  Try around the jetties, turning basin and bridges as well as many of the deeper docks around the river.  Lighted docks are especially productive when fishing at night.

    Redfish has continued to be a wonderful fishery for us again this year.  Each year has seen their population increase and many anglers have enjoyed the experience of fishing a large school of reds this year.  October will continue to be a productive month for those who seek redfish on the flats.  DOA shrimp or CAL grub tails are two of the best choices for redfish along with a variety of live and cut baits.  The west shoreline south of Fort Pierce is always a good area when looking for redfish.

    The trout bite will be good this month.  Get out early with a top water lure for some exciting action on the river.  Switch to a DOA shrimp or CAL jerk bait later in the mornings.  Harbor Branch, Queen's Cove and Middle Cove are all great areas to fish for trout around the Treasure Coast.  Look for some sheephead, black drum and snapper around the bridges, docks and channel edges.  The surf will be alive with jacks, snook, bluefish and other predators, which will all be chasing the bait schools along the beach.

    Snook season has been in full swing for the past month and anglers are always looking for that slot fish to take home.  Beaches, jetties, bridges and mangroves are all popular areas to seek snook.  Top water lures, DOA Bait Busters, CAL Airheads and live baits are all great ways to target snook in October.  Have fun this month!

    It's another great month to fish along the Treasure Coast!  Have fun and get out fishing soon!

    As always, remember, fishing is not just another hobby....it's an ADVENTURE!!

    Good Fishing and Be Safe,
    Captain Charlie Conner

    http://www.fishtalescharter.com
    email: captaincharlie@fishtalescharter.com  
    772-284-3852

  • 09/30/2017 5:00 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    How to Reason with Mullet Season
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    Fattening up for Winter

    Shorter days, prevailing northeasterly winds and cooler nights are a sure sign fall is in the air along Florida's east central coast. Another sure sign of fall is the waves of baitfish working their way south through the lagoon and along the beach as the fall bait run commences. Hordes of black and silver mullet, Atlantic menhaden (pogies), thread fin herring (greenies), and bay anchovies (glass minnows) have begun their southerly migration following the warmer waters. This migration creates a smorgasbord of yummy little baitfish shadowed by a large array of hungry predators looking to fatten up for the winter. 

    Weather permitting, near-shore opportunities are the best you will see all year. Along the beaches, target areas of concentrated bait schools for a mixed bag of snook, tarpon, kingfish, cobia, jack crevalle, oversized redfish, and sharks. Additionally, snook fishing in the surf will improve as the baitfish move south along the beach. Also look for schools of glass minnows to begin showing up bringing larger Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and tarpon with them.

    In and around the inlets of Ponce, Port Canaveral and Sebastian Inlets look for flounder, snook, jack crevalle and oversized redfish feeding on migrating baitfish along the jetties and just outside the inlets. Easterly swells, falling tides, and aggressive anglers can make for sporty angling conditions in the Sebastian and Ponce Inlets, so please pay attention, keep the engine running with someone at the helm, be patient and enjoy the rewards.

    In the North Indian River and Mosquito Lagoons, higher water levels will allow anglers to venture into areas normally inaccessible during the spring and summer months. Look for slot redfish in close to the grassy edges along the shoreline shadowing pods of finger mullet, and for the larger redfish staged in deeper water ambush sites where migrating mullet are forced to venture out from the safety of the shallow flats. In deeper water areas, look for ladyfish, spotted sea trout, jacks, and tarpon feeding on schools of glass minnows.

    These schools of fish are easily located by watching for bird and fish activity. Once located, these schools will produce explosive action on small top water plugs, or popping bug flies. Also, if you locate a school of the larger black mullet, try fishing spoons or soft plastic baits deep under the school. Even though, mullet are vegetarians, redfish and sea trout will often mingle in feeding on shrimp and crabs kicked up from the bottom by feeding mullet.

    Remember, in fishing we always try to match the hatch, or in this case the migration, so mullet imitation lures will be you key to success. For larger redfish, tarpon and snook, I suggest the DOA BFL or Bait Buster and if toothy fish are in the mix, switch to hard baits like the Rapala Skitter Walk or Sub Walker.

    As always, if you have any questions or need more information, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn

    Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
    www.irl-fishing.com
    407-416-1187 on the water
    mosquitocoast@cfl.rr.com


  • 08/31/2017 11:46 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Early Transition
    by Capt. Michael Masin

    It’s the beginning of a transitional period around the harbor with some of our favorite inshore species on the move providing some of the best opportunities of the year.  As fall approaches, the next two months have good potential and this is just the beginning.  As for redfish, when the days begin to get a bit shorter and the water temperature cools down they begin their spawning period. As a result, the fish group or “school up.” They can show up in just about any of the bays and sounds that surround the harbor as well as the flats on either side.

    To the north, the grass flats on either side of the intracoastal inside Stump Pass in Lemon Bay are always worth a look.  A little further south in Gasparilla Sound, just about any flat outside Whidden’s Creek and towards the western edge of Bull Bay could be good. That being said, probably one of the most probable spots to find schooling reds is Pine Island Sound. Over the years, there hasn’t been a more consistent area. It’s a lot of ground to explore, but with so many passes bringing clean, cooler Gulf water, it’s simply great habitat.

    In addition, larger breeding size fish that have migrated to offshore schools to live out their lives tend to make occasional visits inshore during this fall spawn. The beach can be a great place to look for these larger fish. 

    Snook, if they haven’t already started, are close to being on the move. In a matter of speaking, compared with redfish, one is coming and one is going. In other words, while the redfish spawn is just starting, the snook spawn is winding down. They’re coming off the beaches and deeper troughs outside major flats preparing to settle down near backcountry creek systems, as the water temperature gets a little too cool for their liking. Moreover, they’re hungry and need to fatten up after the spawn and before food gets scarce over the winter.

    Unlike redfish, snook won’t be hanging out in open bays and sounds as they prefer sticking closer to shorelines and in particular, mangrove shorelines. With all the creek systems adjacent to Turtle Bay, any shoreline inside here can produce. Also, though it’s a busy area, the West Wall can be very good as it has quite a few creek systems and ends at the Myakka River which is where lots of snook are going to end up later this year. The other side of Charlotte Harbor, the east side or “East wall” consists of a labyrinth of islands that runs from Pirate Harbor north to Punta Gorda. Because of the island network, it’s not as busy as the West Wall and is one of my favorite spots, although it’s too big to call a spot, to look for snook.

    Until next month, good tides

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    (941) 628-7895
    mike@puntagordaflycharters.com
    www.puntagordaflycharters.com

  • 08/31/2017 11:39 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Constant action for kids
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    September should give us the last bit of the hot days, transitioning SWFL toward a Fall pattern soon. Don’t be fooled it’s still going to be hot most of the month, however by the end of the month we should be blessed with temperatures beginning to cool off a bit. 

    With that said, fishing early in the mornings or late in the evenings near sundown is still the way to go. As we approach October, we’ll begin to see a transition as water North of us begins to cool. As the gulf water in the panhandle begins cooling off, fish move South into our backyard following massive schools of baitfish. This is an exciting time to be in South Florida as everything is active and the fishing will be very good.

    Snook will still be on the beaches and near the rivers and cuts, fattening up trying to stay clear of anglers that harvest them. 28-33” is the slot size and one per person is the limit assuming you’ve got your snook stamp. Many anglers fish snook as catch and release these days regardless, so until the water temperatures begin to drop significantly, handling these fish properly is very important as hot water tires fish quicker. Keeping a snook you’ve just caught in the water and reviving them well before release is a good practice verse becoming shark or dolphin food.

    Juvenile tarpon is still one of the top billings here in Estero bay and the adjacent areas through this month. These feisty 10-40lb balls of energy can be a blast on light tackle and jump around much more than the grown-up versions. You can target these tarpon with swimbaits, flies, and of course white bait for the next two months or more. Pay attention for finning or rolling fish as you can pattern them in the same areas for days at a time on similar tides. When fishing for juvenile tarpon I typically go with 15-30lb leader, based on how clean the water is your fishing. It's better to get the bite and get broke off verse no bite at all, besides if there chewing you can always up the leader a bit and do it again.

    Redfish will continue to get better and better as we move closer to "Red October". They'll be a big target in October for us, as they typically begin to school up late September thru November. Redfishing can be very good in September and can be targeted many ways. The easiest tactic is putting out spreads for reds. Basically 3-4 lines thrown out along mangrove edges, cuts, and oyster bars with a variety of baits like shrimp, pinfish, cut ladies and crabs. Once you know where they’re at and what they’re eating your good for days.

    Top water fishing especially on incoming tides is a blast. There's a variety of different types of top water lures that you use in different ways, walking the dog is my favorite as you never know what may hit it next. Finally twitch baits and paddle tail soft plastics are a lot of fun for anglers that cast well. Work them on open flats that have potholes early in the tide, and along mangrove shorelines when the tides higher, you'll find this can be very productive.

    If it’s constant action your looking for with kids or anglers that are less patient, our passes, bridges, and docks will give lots of options. Snapper fishing can be excellent as well as other good eats like pompano and trout. Typically, a simple 1/4oz jig tipped with shrimp will work just fine allowing anglers to cover lots of ground. For those that aren’t casters using a simple popping cork with a live shrimp or white bait can keep people entertained. Other options nearshore for many of the same species can be the same simple jig dropped down to any of our nearshore wreaks and reefs with a live shrimp hooked through the tail. These reefs can be a great place to see how many different species one can find in a trip. It’s not uncommon to catch a dozen different types of fish doing so.

    Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper
    Snookstampcharters.com
    239-313-1764


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