fishing Forecast

  • 11/02/2016 5:30 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Back to the backcountry
    by Capt. Michael Manis

    Change is in the air. We’re approaching a winter pattern around the harbor as sporadic northern fronts combine with seasonally low tides. As well as contributing to cooler temperatures, these winds also push water out of the harbor escalating these tides. Typically, I’ll turn my attention to redfish and spotted sea trout. Both species tolerate cold well.

    As we get away from summer rain, our water clears up, cools down, and salinity increases. Consequently, I’ll start pushing into the backcountry and getting up into some of our many creek systems. As the oxygen and salinity increases, fish will begin moving in as well. As the water cools, a favorite prey species, scaled sardines, move offshore looking for more stable water temperatures. This forces the reds and trout to rely on shrimp and small crustaceans that these creeks provide as well as a refuge from erratic conditions.

    Therefore, I’ll begin throwing smaller clouser type patterns. I like the way it emulates the motion of a jig and gets down in the water column where small crustaceans hide. Unlike some patterns, it doesn’t stop moving during the retrieve when the angler is not stripping. A sinking bait is a good representation of fleeing prey.

    I like creeks that hold deeper edges off points and bends. If possible, I’ll pole in on a low incoming tide as fish will take advantage of the early tide stage to forage for previously unavailable and vulnerable prey. Fortunately, there are plenty of options. Out of Punta Gorda, the east side south of Ponce Park all the way to Matlacha has more real estate than most of us have time to explore. At the top of the harbor, Hog Island and the Myakka Cutoff provide another expanse of mangrove creeks. Lastly, the west wall incorporates enough of these areas to keep anyone busy all winter.

    When the wind lays down, pompano provide a change of pace. I like looking outside the bar along the southern end of the west wall and off the hard bottom outside Cape Haze Point. Here, a clouser is perfect as a ¼ ounce Nylure jig is the artificial of choice on a spinning rod. It’s not unusual to find them jumping your boat wake while running outside the bar along the wall.

    Sheepshead is a good bet. In fact, from shore, it offers one of the best opportunities all year. Docks, piers, and seawalls are all good. The Placida Trestle is very popular. The bait of choice is cut shrimp and fiddler crabs.

    Until next month, good tides.

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    (941) 628-957895
    mike@puntagordaflycharters.com 
    www.puntagordaflycharters.com 


  • 11/02/2016 5:22 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    November offers lots of options for fishing the backcountry
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    Fishing during the month of November can be very good because there’s plenty of different species to go after. During November the weather often dictates the plan, so if we get lucky like last year then it will be good all month! With that said, as we get bits and pieces of cold front tails, the windy days will make things a bit tougher -- especially if the high pressure gradients reach us. On the days that the wind blows hard, we’ll predominantly target the fish in the backcountry, where we can hide from the wind a bit. The North winds and Northwest winds can make things a bit sporty, and puts a bit of a hamper on the bite at times. However, get the right days with the soft winds and the fishing can be fantastic. Fish still have to eat and when you have those nice days or weeks, the bite is on. Our temperatures can range from the 60’s in the mornings to highs in the low 80’s, making for some cool early morning rides and pleasant afternoons. As air temperatures cool off, anglers begin to pay more attention to water temperatures as we would like it to stay in the mid 70’s for another month!

    When fishing nearshore this time of year you still have chances at tarpon, cobia, and kingfish to name a few. Calm mornings with east winds give anglers options to run outside along the beaches and see what’s going on. Tripletail begin showing up in full force hanging out on any piece of structure available. Most tripletail won’t be big, but occasionally you’ll be rewarded with a solid size fish. Often this time of the year the nearshore wrecks and reefs can also be great times, so it doesn’t hurt to check out a few of them with live baits, our trolling plugs.

    There’s lots of options for fishing the backcountry waters as redfish, snook, and trout are all available and willing to eat, minus the first day or so after a cold front comes through. Snook are now in their winter homes and settling in. Fishing docks along our bays and rivers can be a fun time, as long as you’re willing to lose some tackle. Snook will also be along mangrove shore lines, still hanging tight to the structure usually over sandy bottom. As the temperatures begin to cool off, you’ll also have a longer period to hunt your quarry since the water temperatures won’t be too hot after mid-day as they are during the summer.

    Redfish will continue to be a good bet as redfish, and their cousin the black drum, will be the target more often moving forward. Redfish don’t mind the cooler water temperatures and should continue to be active thru December. Targeting redfish along oyster bars and other structure using shrimp or even cut baits like ladyfish will work well during November. Other options for those that enjoy casting will be spoons, jerk baits usually rigged weedless, and flies.

    Sheepshead will begin to show up more and more especially as the water cools off. Most of the sheepies won’t be fat yet, but they will be eating as their spawn will start up as soon as things cool down even more. The sheepshead will be found both on our wrecks and reefs, and targeting these sly bait robbers can be difficult at times. Small hooks and pieces of shrimp verse the entire shrimp work well. Often when you feel a sheepshead picking at your bait, you can simply move it a foot or two away to finally trigger that fish to commit.

    The passes throughout the region will continue to be a great spot for action, and occasionally we’ll have a few visitors like bluefish show up. Most of the fish in the passes are smaller in size starting late this month, but if you’ve got kids then that’s a great way to get you day started. Besides you never know when a pack of mackerel, pompano, or jacks may storm by and clean house.

    Tight lines,
    Capt Greg Stamper
    snookstampcharters.com
    239-313-1764


  • 11/02/2016 5:13 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    If large tarpon are your target, step your leader size
    By Capt. Tom Van Horn

    Although November’s notorious for greeting us with a blustery easterly fetch, fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River Lagoon and the inlets of Ponce De Leon, Canaveral and Sebastian will remain outstanding until ocean water temperature drop below 70 degrees. Water levels are still elevated in the wake of Hurricane Mathew, but they will continue to fall and the water clarity has cleaned up. In a few weeks fishing conditions on the lagoons will be perfect. Currently a high pressure system has been blasting us with a strong easterly wind, but sooner or later Mother Nature will have to inhale and ocean conditions will bless us with some fishable days.

    On the lagoons, falling water levels and cleaner conditions will facilitate increased sight fishing prospects for redfish, black drum and sea trout. Currently water levels in the lagoons remain elevated allowing excellent access to the backwaters, but on the flipside all of the sandy shoals are submerged, so if you are not familiar with the lagoons please exercise caution while under way.

    In the inlets of Ponce De Leon, Port Canaveral and Sebastian, snook fishing will remain excellent during low light periods and at night as the remaining baitfish traveling south down the beach are forced in close to the jetties and other structure with the best action occurring during slack tidal periods, especially the end of high tide. During these periods hungry gamefish take advantage of slow currents and feed heavily. As the tide begins to fall, gamefish move into their ambush locations to finish off their frenzy. Breeder size redfish, snook, jack crevalle, bluefish, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, sharks, and tarpon all share in the fury, so step up your tackle size and hold on.

    One of my favored techniques when fishing the inlets in November is to cast net live mullet for bait, and drift them through the passes on a sliding sinker rig. Look for areas of feeding activity, birds diving and fish busting, and adjust the size of your weight based on current. The rig I use starts out with a Daiichi Bleeding Bait circle hook proportionate to your bait size to allow a natural swimming appearance. In simple terms, small bait small hook, large bait large hook. Next, I attach a 30-inch section of 30 to 40 pound test Gamma fluorocarbon leader to a 20-pound test braided mainline. If large tarpon are your target, step your leader size up to 60-pound test and your main line to 50 pound test. Before I tie on my hook, I slide my slip sinker on to the leader, and finish the rig off by using a small swivel located between the barrel sinker and the hook adjusted to keep the weight off of the hook. As I drift through the passes, I like to cast parallel to my drift with just enough weight to keep the bait in the feeding zone, and increase the barrel sinker size as the current picks up. Additionally, as we near the end of November and finger mullet diminish, switch to live pinfish on pigfish as bait. Most importantly, pass fishing in November can be dangerous, so as I drift through the inlet I keep the helm manned with my engine running, keeping a close eye on boat traffic and sea conditions, and always be prepared for evasive action if needed.

    As the first significant cold front passes and surf temperatures reach the 68-degree mark, flounder slide into the inlets on their annual spawning migration out to sea. The exodus usually begins with the arrival of the smaller 1 to 3-poung gulf flounder (three spot), which are later joined by the doormat size 2 to 10-pound southern flounder. Many anglers prefer to anchor up and fish live finfish on the bottom, but I favor drifting the lagoon side of the passes bouncing a 1/4 ounce DOA CAL Jig 3" CAL Shad tail on the bottom.. This vertical jigging technique allows me to cover more area and catch a wider assortment of species. Likewise, as lagoon temperatures cool, pompano are another likely target as they congregate on the lagoon side of the passes before moving out to their winter haunts along the beaches to feed on sand fleas (mole crabs) one of their favorite winter food.

    In the near-shore ocean waters cobia and tripletail fishing can be very good this time of year depending on ocean temperatures (71 to 74 degrees is best) and winter weather conditions. To target them, head east out of Port Canaveral or Sebastian Inlet looking for rips, sargassum and flotsam pushed in by the easterly fetch. Once you have located the floating structure, work the rip with the sun to your back looking for fish suspended underneath, and catch then on spinning tackle or fly, and a live jumbo shrimp on a jig works best.

    Last but not least, Hurricane Mathew runoff has pushed the water levels on the St Johns River up to flood stage in some areas and a strong easterly fetch in Jacksonville has held up river discharge, but the water levels have and will begin to drop fast. Currently, good reports of speckled perch (crappie) are coming in from the big lakes of Harney, Jessup and Monroe just in time for the 8th annual Central Florida Shad and Crappie Derby (https://www.facebook.com/cfshadderby). In addition to a good crappie bite, increased water levels equal increased currents, which sets the stage for an excellent channel catfish bite.

    As always, if you have any questions or need more information, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn

    Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters

    407-416-1187

    Special Note: Now is the time to purchase fishing charter holiday gift certificates for those anglers close to your heart. Please visit my website (http://www.irl-fishing.com/gift-certificates) and purchase yours online.


  • 11/02/2016 4:41 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Fall is time to change your tactics
    by Capt. Charlie Conners

    November is always a fun month to enjoy the fishing along the Treasure Coast. We are in the middle of our winter transition and you can also count on cooler temperatures that will start the thermometer sliding when it comes to the water temps as well. The days will remain nice and warm, but the nights will become cooler this month. It’s time to change your fishing tactics out on the water. We enjoyed a very mild winter this past year and hopefully it will be the same again this winter. The fall mullet run will continue into November and bring lots of action to the inlets, rivers and beaches throughout the area.

    Trout will continue to be a target of many anglers. The trout bite will be good on the flats, but you must move to the deeper areas as the temperatures cool the water down. Look for them to be in three to six feet of water this month. My favorite lures are DOA shrimp or Deadly Combos when trout fishing. Don’t forget to fish the sand holes and drop offs on the flats. Many sand holes are much deeper than the flat and you can expect some nice fish to be hiding in them waiting for that easy meal to drift by. Harbor Branch is especially productive for me during this time of year as well as the Midway Road area. The pompano beginning to return to the river and will be a favorite target for anglers throughout the winter. When fishing the surf, use sand fleas or clams and the same in the river. Don’t forget to try a Doc’s Goofy Jig for the pomps. Many are located when they skip behind the boat wake. Keep your eyes open for them.

    The snook bite will continue to be good, especially at night. The inlet, jetties, bridges and docks around the river will be holding snook. Lighted docks are very popular when night fishing. Live baits, Bait Busters and Terror Eyz are very popular for snook fishing. Don’t forget the spillways when the water is running over them. They can be another very productive area for snook. Redfish can be found hanging under mangroves during the day and will strike a DOA shrimp or CAL jerk bait. You might also find some hanging under some of the docks around the river. Look for them in shallow water as long as the sun keeps the temperatures warm. I love the CAL grub tails this time of year around the mangroves. A gold spoon can be another good lure in winter for hooking up on a redfish. We had a record year for over slot redfish this year. The population continues to grow in our area.

    Docks and bridges will hold black drum, sheephead and the sand perch should also show up this month. Live or dead shrimp always works best on these fish. I love fishing docks this time of year. You just never know what might be lurking under one. I fish my lures from up tide of the dock, so that it will stay under the dock. You only have to twitch it and can fish it much longer that way. It’s always a challenge in getting a fish out from under one, but the excitement is well worth it. You should still find some flounder around on the sand flats of the inlet and river. The mackerel, bluefish and jacks will fill up the inlet this month. Most shiny lures will work on these predators. You can also find them hanging in the channels up around Harbor Branch. It might be breezy out there…..but the fish will be feeding!

    As always, remember, fishing is not just another hobby....it's an ADVENTURE!!

    Good Fishing and Be Safe,
    Captain Charlie Conner
    http://www.fishtalescharter.com
    email: captaincharlie@fishtalescharter.com
    772-284-3852

  • 10/01/2016 3:29 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Tarpon on the beaches
    By Doug Stamper

    October is upon us, and so we begin the gradual transition from hot to the beautiful "this is why we live in Southwest Florida" weather. Traditionally October is the first month when we finally see daily high temperatures that aren't in the 90’s. This turn of events rings the dinner bell for those pelagic and local species to fatten up as they migrate south, or for some species, the last few months of easy pickings in their hometown.

    Tarpon traditionally make their way here along the beaches following massive schools of threadfin herring both this month and the next. Cobia, kingfish, bonito, and even tripletail will be on the move while getting fat on the buffet of baits moving south. If you fish offshore and nearshore during this time frame, pay attention to what you're passing, as you’ll see many of these species crashing baits within the first few miles of shore. The good thing for those that find these pushes of fish, is that when we don’t receive any real cold fronts from up North, often the massive schools of bait will stick around -- and so do those fish. To give an example, last year we had amazing fishing all the way through December, as no true cold fronts pushed South of Tampa till the first week of January. The year before was pretty much the same scenario; easy fishing was over mid-November, with spurts of awesome until our first true cold front arrived.

    Fishing for reds in October can be fantastically ridiculous at times. Fish school up in great numbers and often you’ll see them pushing a wall of water ahead of them. Look for pushes of water, and then work fast to get baits in front of them, it’s that simple. You’ll also find massive schools of jacks and occasionally snook pushing water as well, not a bad bycatch. Topwater, jerk baits, live bait, and old school popping cork techniques will all work excellent. Redfish are consistent throughout the month and, as the tides move in, will be found up tight to the mangroves, versus along the edges of bars and flats during the lower tides.

    Trout will continue to get bigger in size and often eat baits meant for redfish during this time. Most trout will be found along the grassy edges in water as deep as 4 feet, but the big ones are usually up on the same flats as the redfish.

    Snook fishing begins to transition to the backcountry areas in October, but that too can be on a delay depending on our water temperatures and the first “cool fronts." The rivers and creeks can see snook of all sizes this time of the year and, depending on water quality, you can often sight-cast to these fish. When trying to locate schools of snook, occasionally throwing out some "freebies" of live bait can give away their hiding spot.

    You’ll have to experiment a bit with line, leader, and rod sizes to figure out what works best for the fish you’ve found. I like to start with 2/0 circle hooks and 30# leader on a medium heavy fast action rod. However, when a big snook in the 35” plus size range gets a hold of your line, it may not be enough. These are good problems to have though so I bring at least one other rod as my upgrade, and usually it’s a tarpon rod with at least 40# leader and a 3/0 circle hook since we all know exactly what that snook is going to do when it feels that hook!

    Tight lines, Capt Greg Stamper
    snookstampcharters.com
    239-313-1764


  • 10/01/2016 3:11 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Fall transition and migration
    By Capt. Michael Manis

    This is one of my favorite months as southwest Florida transitions out of summer but is still a month or so away from the first front that suggests winter is approaching. Cooler water temperatures put game fish on the move. This combined with moderate breezes provides opportunities from inshore shorelines to the beaches. Looking for redfish and snook, I still won’t venture too far into the backcountry, as I’ll stick to shorelines bordering the harbor’s perimeter. However, I will make my way off the beaches looking for migrating bonito. 

    Snook, in postspawn, are looking to fatten up and will begin making they’re way from the passes and adjacent channels. They’ll begin the transition to river, and backcountry creek systems where the brackish water will help them tolerate the cooler months ahead. For this reason, the west wall is one of my favorite spots. However, it’ s not really a spot but an eight-mile long mangrove shoreline from Cape Haze Point all the way to the Myakka River. It’s a mix of new and old growth mangrove, broken timber, oyster bars, and creek systems that typically holds good schools of scaled sardines.

    Redfish are still schooling and throughout our bays and sounds there are good options. From the Placida ramp, I like Catfish Creek and the Three Sisters Islands flats. North up the intracoastal, the grass flats in lemon Bay on either side of the intracoastal both north and south of Stump Pass are worth a look. Out of Pineland in northern Pine Island Sound, the grass flats and oyster bars south of Cabbage key and Useppa can fish well. In addition, from Ponce Park in Punta Gorda, the mixed sand and grass from Mangrove Point to Alligator Creek has been holding fish since last month.

    For a change of pace, bonito are migrating down the coast following schools of baitfish. Again, from the Placida ramp, take a run outside Gasparilla Pass and if it’s going off, you’ll know. Keep an eye out for diving birds as they’re picking at the scraps from the bonito blowing up on bait. It’s a feeding frenzy and you can get close enough to throw just about anything into the mix. It’s a great opportunity to get into the backing with a fly reel.

    Lastly, schools of black drum are bouncing back and forth between the U.S. 41 Bridge and the perimeter canals of Punta Gorda. They eat flies and will also get you into the backing.

    Until next month, good tides.

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    (941) 628-7895
    mike@puntagordaflycharters.com
    www.puntagordaflycharters.com


  • 10/01/2016 2:57 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Fall transition fishing on Treasure Coast
    By Capt. Charlie Conner

    October marks the transition into the fall weather patterns along the Treasure Coast.  You can expect temperatures to begin to cool down somewhat into more comfortable days to enjoy the outdoors.  Water temperatures will begin to slowly cool off as well.  This year has brought us lots of rain and a quiet hurricane season so far. October provides great weather and hungry fish. It's a fantastic month to be fishing!

    The fall mullet run will continue to dominate the area as large schools of finger mullet fill the beaches, inlets and rivers of the area.  You can expect lots of big fish to be feeding on them both day and night.  Snook fishing will be best during the night hours on the higher ends of the tides.  Live finger mullet, croakers and pigfish will be the best live baits to use.  DOA Terror Eyz, Bait Busters and feather jigs will be good artificial lures to use for snook.  Try around the jetties, turning basin and bridges as well as many of the deeper docks around the river.  Lighted docks are especially productive when fishing at night.

    Redfish has continued to be a wonderful fishery for us again this year.  Each year has seen their population increase and many anglers have enjoyed the experience of fishing a large school of reds this year.  October will continue to be a productive month for those who seek redfish on the flats.  The new DOA 2 3/4 “ shrimp or CAL grub tails are two of the best choices for redfish along with a variety of live and cut baits.  The west shoreline south of Fort Pierce is always a good area when looking for redfish.

    The trout bite will be good this month.  Get out early with a top water lure for some exciting action on the river.  Switch to a DOA shrimp or CAL jerk bait later in the mornings.  Harbor Branch, Queen's Cove and Middle Cove are all great areas to fish for trout around the Treasure Coast.  Look for some sheephead, black drum and snapper around the bridges, docks and channel edges.  The surf will be alive with jacks, snook, bluefish and other predators, which will all be chasing the bait schools along the beach.

    Snook season has been in full swing for the past month and anglers are always looking for that slot fish to take home. Beaches, jetties, bridges and mangroves are all popular areas to seek snook. Top water lures, DOA Bait Busters, CAL Airheads and live baits are all great ways to target snook in October. Have fun this month!

    It's another great month to fish along the Treasure Coast!  Have fun and get out fishing soon!

    As always, remember, fishing is not just another hobby....it's an ADVENTURE!!

    Good Fishing and Be Safe,

    Captain Charlie Conner
    http://www.fishtalescharter.com 
    email: captaincharlie@fishtalescharter.com
    772-284-3852


  • 10/01/2016 2:34 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Migrating mullet will trigger hungry predators
    By Tom Van Horn

    Believe it or not, fall has arrived on Florida’s Space coast. As I sit down to write this forecast, Hurricane Matthew is turning hard just south of Jamaica and it’s looking like he may have Florida in his sights. Mathew is a late blooming summer squall warranting our attention, so over the next few days, please stay focused on this storm and be safe.

    The fall bait migration is in full swing on Florida's Space Coast with good concentrations of migrating baitfish working south down the beach and through the lagoon exciting both gamefish and angler alike. Triggered by shorter days, cooling water temperatures, and approaching cold fronts, pockets of mullet stream down the beach harassed by hungry predators. 

    As the bait works its way south in the troughs of the surf, bluefish, ladyfish, jacks, Spanish mackerel, redfish and snook keep them hemmed up close along the surfs edge, with tarpon, blacktip and spinner sharks lurking in the waves eager to fulfill their position at the top of the food chain. As the baitfish feed out the inlets on the falling tide, breeder redfish, tarpon and snook, take advantage of the easy meal as the fleeing mullet are forced away from the shelter of the shoreline. Additionally, October and November are the best months to target snook at Sebastian Inlet as long as water temperatures stay above 70 degrees.

    Once the water temperatures near the 68 degree mark southern and gulf flounder moving through the inlets usually follow the first major cold front. It's difficult to predict the precise moment of the run, but serious flounder pounders know when the moment is right, and they're often rewarded with doormats from 8 to 14 pounds.

    In the deeper water, both tripletail and cobia move into the depths of 40 to 60 feet of water shadowing pods of threadfin herring (greenies) and Spanish sardines (cigar minnows) pushing south along the Canaveral shoals, often hanging just below the abundant flotsam carried inshore by the easterly breezes. Once you locate weeds and other debris, look for tripletail to be hanging just below the floating structure. Live shrimp and small jigs tipped with shrimp work well when targeting these brim on steroids. 

    It helps to fish later in the day keeping the afternoon sun to your back to improve your range of sight, and always keep a medium heavy rod rigged with a one ounce chartreuse or white buck tail jig ready to throw to any cruising cobia. Also, look for the fall kingfish run to commence as well as an occasional sailfish or black fin tuna on the near-shore reefs and wrecks like 8A and Pelican Flats.

    In the lagoons, breeder schools of redfish are abundant in deeper water through the north IRL. These schools of oversized redfish are our brood stock, so if you target them please step up your tackle size ( 20-pound test) and handle and release them with extreme care. In addition, schools of pompano will begin forming up and moving thought the inlets invading the beach in search of mole crabs (sand fleas) their favorite winter food.

    As always, if you have any questions or need information please contact me.
    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
    www.irl-fishing.com
    407-416-1187 Cell

  • 08/31/2016 10:09 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Look for the bait schools
    By Capt. Tom Van Horn

    Before sitting down to write my September fishing forecast, I took a short stroll outside. As I walked quietly through the woods in the early morning darkness I could hear all of God’s creatures waking up to the new day. Taking a short break to just stop and listen quietly I could feel a brisk warm breeze in my face.

    Hurricane season is upon us and as we welcome the arrival of September with hot and humid days, we will say goodbye to the summer as September exits on the shoulders of a prevailing northeast wind. Shorter days, longer nights and the prevailing shift is the winds and swells all signal the end of summer, and the beginning of the mullet run.

    Along the beach, schools of bait move out of the inlets and south down the beach in pulses rather than a continuous flow, so as always, locating bait is the key to success. Bait pods are easily located by watching for diving birds and fish working them on the surface just inside the breakers. Look for snook, tarpon, redfish, bluefish, jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, and sharks crushing and shadowing bait pods all along the beach. Once you've located the bait concentration, simply determine its direction of movement, usually south, and set up in front of it and let them come to you. This is also my preferred time of year to target tarpon and snook in the surf.

    The beach snook run has already started with a few fish being reported, and it will pick up substantially, just in time for the opening of snook season on September 1st. When fishing from the beach, I prefer using live finger mullet as bait, matching the run. Fish the very edge of the beach, just beyond the whitewater, and walk along the beach letting your bait drift along in the direction of tidal flow.

    My rig consists of a #3 Daiichi Bleeding Bait circle hook, a one ounce barrel sinker, and a 24" section of 40-pound test fluorocarbon leader. I also prefer to use 20-pound test braided high-vis Courtland line to improve sensitivity and avoid line twist. First, slide the barrel sinker onto the terminal end of your braided line, and then splice in the leader, the knot will allow the sinker to slide freely up the braided line, keeping it off of the leader and the hook. This technique will allow bait to cover more ground and help keep your bait in the strike zone longer. Make sure your reel has the strength and line capacity to handle a large fish, so you don't get spooled.

    Nearshore, good numbers of kingfish and tarpon will continue to work the beaches, Port Canaveral buoy line, and the inshore reefs and wrecks in 70 to 120 feet of water. When targeting kingfish my preferred method is slow trolling live pogies (Atlantic menhaden) on stainless steel stinger rigs. Also as the water temperatures cools, look for the large manta rays to move into shallower water bringing cobia with them. In Port Canaveral and Sebastian Inlet look for flounder, mangrove snapper, large redfish and snook around the jetties and other structures, and tripletail, barracuda, and cobia under the Canaveral buoy cans.

    Inshore, breeder redfish schools have started forming up in their traditional locations and will hold together through September. Remember, these schools are breeders so try not to work them too hard which is easer said that done in most cases. Also watch for the larger redfish to begin forming up just outside Sebastian and Ponce De Leon Inlets to spawn, and feeding on small baitfish, mullet, and small blue crabs washing out with the tide.

    In addition, the sea trout bite on top water plugs will increase along the deeper edges of the grass flats with the best bite happening at first light and sunset. Also look for ladyfish, tarpon, and jacks to be mixed in. When targeting these fish, work top water plugs for explosive action, or try working ¼ ounce DOA CAL jigs or DOA Shrimp. Near the end of the month, start looking for the pompano and flounder to begin moving out of the lagoon through the inlets into the near shore waters along the beach.

    As always, if you need more information or have questions please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
    www.irl-fishing.com
    407-416-1187 Cell

  • 08/30/2016 5:43 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    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. 

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