by Captain Michael Manis
Towards the end of last month, at first light, it was noticeably breezy and cooler. Here, this began the transition from late summer and fall into what could be considered a winter pattern. It’s not the winter we’ll see in the next three months; but it’s a change from the last couple months. Moreover, the cooler temperatures should help alleviate the red tide that is plaguing the coastline.
Snook, seeking stable water temperatures, should be in full transition towards river and canal systems as well as backcountry creeks. A good cold front will really get them moving. As these conditions make bigger fish vulnerable, I’ll concentrate on smaller fish. More so than last month, I’ll move further into the backcountry up the harbor working the upper end of the west Wall and over towards the Myakka Cutoff. Too, I’ll begin exploring creek systems within both the Myakka and Peace River looking for those out of the way places that see minimal pressure.
In addition to lower temperatures, we’ll begin to see some lower tides that could provide tailing redfish opportunities. If the water clears up, those that can pole a quiet skiff could do well on a low incoming tide. The east side of Pine Island Sound below Pineland Marina and the eastern shoreline below the Bascule Bridge in Matlacha are worth a look. Bay style boats that aren’t built for poling would be a good fit for Turtle Bay. It has some deep shorelines, several oyster bars, quite a few creek mouths and the outside bar can really turn on.
With the cooler mornings, spotted sea trout should eat well. Here, find a combination of the cleanest water and the best turtle grass flats in two to four feet in Gasparilla or Pine Island Sound. I prefer a mixed bottom of sand and grass and like working sand hole edges. Essentially, during the cooler months, sight fishing gator trout has become one of my favorite ways to spend a day.
Lastly, look for sheepshead to begin stacking up around any artificial reef, dock or pier structure. From land, the Placida trestle is a favorite spot. Here, shrimp and fiddler crabs are the bait of choice.
Until next month, good tides.
Captain Michael Manis
Punta Gorda Fly Charters