Expecting cooler weather
By Greg Stamper
September fishing means the beginning of changes not just in Southwest Florida, but throughout the state. Here in Fort Myers rarely do we feel the weather shift from summertime to fall this early, but certainly by mid-month it can start happening. What occurs during the mid to late September thru mid-November transition period can be just awesome.
As cooler conditions slowly begin to touch North Florida, and the rivers and streams dumping into the North Gulf begin cooling off, something fishy takes place. This change in water temperature gets fish moving around, and looking to fatten up for the holidays. There will be migrations of fish, such as tarpon, that have been hanging out around the panhandle etc... that begin moving down the west coast of Florida following the bait. Taking a look at fishing reports and pictures being posted, you can see the push of fish moving south.
Traditionally somewhere during mid-September this will trigger our local quarry to get giddy just the same. Redfish begin to school up in places and continue this pattern through October. This is the time of the year when you’ll catch really silver redfish telling you there coming in from their offshore haunts ready to pack on the pounds.
When looking for redfish pay attention for pushes of water and, if you’re lucky, tails flagging you down on the flats! Often when you locate these schools you’ll have the opportunity to fish them for days at a time. Anglers that are good casters will have loads of fun walking the dog, throwing twitchbaits, and tossing flies in the direction of the school. Likewise, putting out spreads for reds will be very effective with all types of cut baits, thrown around the boat as if a sprinkler put them out.
Trout fishing gets good this time of the year, and we will continue to see them often in 3-5 feet of water over the grassy areas that run next to flats. Trout can be targeted a number of ways with the old school popping cork and live shrimp almost a guarantee for action.
For anglers playing the snook game, this is probably the last month or two you’ll see them on the beaches and in the passes as by November they’ll be back in their winter haunts. There’s plenty of bait available during this time of the year so free lined pilchards, threadfin, or pinfish will be the easiest choice to target them. Other options for snook will be small swim baits and topwater plugs thrown as tight to the mangroves as possible. The local passes will continue to be great areas to catch pompano, snappers, baby sharks, mackerels, trout, and all kinds of odd balls, but having moving water will be the key there.