by Captain Michael Manis
It’s been a trying summer on our coast. It’s probably anybody’s guess as to how our fishery will come through all this. Catch and release is something we can all do and try to get the fish back in the water as quick as possible. Keep in mind, when we take a fish out of the water, they can’t breathe. Try holding your breath the entire time you have a fish in the air and that’s what they’re experiencing.
Generally, about this time of year, it’s not unusual to find yourself fishing some typical summer patterns while also looking at some new opportunities. For all practical purposes, even though we feel like fall is on the way; it’s still summer. Just like last month, tarpon are still holding in and around the deeper holes of the upper harbor as well as the bridges. Early in the morning, looking for rolling fish is a great way to begin any day. This is the time to throw the deep running or trolling model D.O.A. Bait buster.
For new opportunities, even though the heat still makes it feel like summer to us, fish are generally ahead of the curve and snook should enter a transition phase as summer winds down. As their spawning season comes to a close, they’ll begin making their way away from the deeper cuts and move towards the rivers and backcountry creek systems. They’ll also need to put on weight after spawning. Out of Punta Gorda, shorelines bordering the harbor that intersect cuts and sloughs are worth exploring. On the east side, the stretch from Ponce Park to Pirate Harbor, a labyrinth of small islands can fish well and don’t overlook the west wall across the harbor where there’s eight miles of potential shoreline.
With this in mind, I’ll still try to spend some time looking for redfish. Typically, this and next month provide some of our best redfish fishing of the year. It’s now that the fish begin to school up in preparation for the spawn. When in schools, if not spooked, they can be very aggressive as they compete to eat. I’ll probably look towards the top of the harbor on both the east and west sides as well as around Hog Island.
Until next month, good tides.
Captain Michael Manis
Punta Gorda Fly Charters