Stick close to outside edge and bar systems
By Michael Manis
High water temperatures, high 80’s and low 90’s, and lots of rain have combined putting numbers of redfish and snook on bar systems and outside edges at the harbors perimeter. In particular, areas adjacent to creek mouths have been most productive. In addition, it’s not unusual to see baby tarpon, five to ten pounds, in the same areas.
Even on the higher tides, the warm water and the lower salinity are keeping these fish on the outside. Out of Punta Gorda, the bar that runs from Ponce Park all the way around to Alligator creek is a good bet. Early morning at first light is best and if possible a low tide is preferable.
Across the harbor, along the west wall just about any one of these confluences where creeks meet open water can be good. Because of the deeper cut with its resulting current flow, the lower end where the wall adjoins Cape Haze Point has been a good snook spot.
A bit further west, the Catfish Creek area includes quite a number of drainages that flow into Gasparilla Sound. Here, the bar system that also borders the intracoastal waterway with it’s clean oxygenated Gulf water provide the habitat to hold redfish and snook with this combination of heat and salinity. At times, I’ve seen baby tarpon rolling here.
Just like last month, there are tarpon scattered throughout the upper harbor. The bigger fish are in the deeper holes and around the U.S. 41 bridges. Smaller fish can be found outside the perimeter canals of Punta Gorda Isles around to Colony Point and down towards Ponce Park. Particularly with the smaller fish, early is better as they tend to disappear when the sun gets too high at about 9.00 a.m. Too, schools of Black drum have been bouncing back and forth between the U.S. 41 bridges and these canal seawalls.
Keep in mind; redfish are grouping up as their spawn, which runs from August to Mid-November, peaks this month. As well, snook are at the end their spawn and should be looking to put on weight. With lower salinity brackish water, I like to keep an eye out for glass minnows. Snook shouldn’t be too far away.
Lastly, we have two new and one full moon this month. The first and the 30th are new; and the 16 is full. No matter what the species, the three days on either side of these dates should be good.
Until next month, good tides.
Captain Michael Manis
Punta Gorda Fly Charters