by Capt. Greg Stamper
With the end of 2021 near the cold fronts are coming and depending on how far they get through our state, will depend on what, when, and where we will fish. Sometimes we get lucky, being on the southern end of Florida, as fronts are usually weak when they arrive here. October had very little influence from cold fronts, so things really have not changed up much. The “Red October” will probably be even better in November for the back bays.
The migration or push of fish has had a slow start with lack of cold air coming from the North. However, the biggest factor is when will our first significant cold front or two make its way past Tampa. As the weather to our North cools off we see migrating fish following the big schools of threadfin herring, menhaden, and pilchards South. The predators that eat these fish are not going anywhere unless the bait gets pushed South of here. Kingfish, Cobia, tripletail, bonita, and mackerel are just a few examples of what usually sets up home here in Southwest Florida.
The back bays are full speed for redfish, trout, black drum, and pompano. The water temperature should stay in the high 70’s barring any substantial cold fronts. If water temperatures stay up snook and tarpon will continue to be targeted along our beaches as well as the near shore waters, and of course the back bays. Lastly in our back bays we usually stumble upon some strangers this time of the year. Permit, tripletail, and cobia are good examples of fish we pick up randomly during these changing times, so be ready for anything.
The offshore guys will be watching the weather as cold fronts will make things rough. Those that choose not to make the long 40 plus mile runs can easily target kingfish throughout the area now. There is a lot of different ways to target these fish. Trolling large deep diving hard baits works well, or freelining blue runners in areas you already know they exist. Look for kingfish starting now regularly from 20-90 feet of water. Those that run out to the deeper waters will be able to find plenty of groupers, lane, mangrove, red snappers, and mutton snappers, as well as aj’s and kingfish. The regulations are constantly changing on these species, so be sure to download the fish rules app so you do not get in trouble for not knowing.
Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper
Fort Myers beach, Fl