fishing Forecast

  • 10/29/2020 9:36 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    November Transition
    by Capt. Greg Stamper 

    With the end of 2020 near our focus turns away from watching low pressure systems. Our concerns of fish changing patterns moves from the warm waters of the Gulf and Atlantic, to the Florida state line. The cold fronts are coming and depending on how far they get through our state, will depend on what, when, and where we will fish.  

    Sometimes we get lucky, being on the southern end of Florida as fronts making it this far down are usually rather weak. With that said we hope all the fronts stall out near Tampa leaving us with incredible fishing till the years end. 

    The migration or push of fish has already been going on through October. However, the biggest factor is when will our first significant cold front or two make its way past Tampa thus effecting Southwest Florida. We have already seen many of the migrating fish that have followed the big schools of threadfin herring, menhaden, and pilchards that are everywhere in our area. The predators that eat these fish are not going anywhere unless the bait gets pushed South of here. Kingfish, Cobia, tripletail, bonita, and mackerel are just a few examples of what has already set up home here in Southwest Florida. 

    The back bays are full speed for redfish, trout, black drum, and pompano. The water temperature should stay in the high 70’s barring and substantial cold weather. If water temperatures stay up snook and tarpon will continue to be targeted regularly as they continue to fatten up for the future months of cooler water coming. Lastly in our back bays we usually stumble upon some strangers this time of the year that occasionally are just doing a drive by to see what is going on. Permit, tripletail, and cobia are good examples of fish we pick up randomly during these changing times, so be ready for anything. 

    The offshore guys will be able to target a lot of different species now. Those that choose not to make the long 40 plus mile runs can easily target kingfish throughout the area. There is a lot of different ways to target these fish. Trolling large deep diving hard baits works well, or freelining blue runners in areas you already know they exist are two of the easiest ways.

    Look for kingfish starting now regularly from 15-50 feet of water. Those that run out to the deeper waters will be able to find plenty of red grouper, lane, mangrove, and mutton snappers, as well as aj’s and kingfish. The timing of these trips very much depends on the weather so again paying attention to the cold fronts coming from the North will be important. Typically, the days leading up to a front arriving are your best bet. 

    Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper  
    239-313-1764 Fort Myers beach, FL

  • 10/29/2020 9:31 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Pompano Return to the River
    by Capt. Charlie Conner 

    November has arrived on the Treasure Coast.  2020 has been a tough year for everyone.    It was a hot summer, but things have been milder lately and it should provide us with some great fishing conditions this month.  Water temperatures have been in the mid 80’s as we transition into winter fishing.  Look for some windy days this month with chances of rain.  Enjoy November and get out fishing soon! 

    The pompano are 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.  Doc’s Goofy Jigs are great for using artificial lures for the pomps. You should still find some flounder around on the sand flats of the inlet and river.    

    Redfish can be found around docks and mangroves with DOA shrimp or live bait.  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 need 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.  Snook fishing will be good around the usual haunts.  Docks, bridges, and inlet fishing should produce some good snook action as the water cools off.  There will still be some tarpon around the area.  My favorite is the DOA Terror Eyz.  Live or cut bait will work also.   

    Look for mackerel, bluefish and jacks to 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. Docks and bridges will hold black drum, sheepshead and the sand perch should also show up this month.  Live or dead shrimp always works best on these fish. It might be breezy out there…..but the fish will be feeding! 

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

    Good Fishing and Be Safe,  
    Captain Charlie Conner  

  • 10/29/2020 9:24 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Time for a change
    by Captain Michael Manis 

    Towards the end of last month, first thing in the morning, it was noticeably breezy and cooler. 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.  

    As well, as we get away from summer rain our water clears up, cools down, and the salinity increases. As a result, like our snook seeking stable water temperatures, I’ll begin pushing further into the backcountry to get up into some of our many river and creek systems. As the month progresses and especially after a good cold front our snook should be in full transition mode. As these conditions make bigger fish vulnerable, I’ll concentrate on smaller fish. Most likely, I’ll put in a good amount of time along the east side south of Punta Gorda among the expanse of tidal creeks that can be found from Alligator Creek down to Buzzard Bay outside Matlacha.  

    Redfish and low water are a great combination. For those with quiet shallow draft skiffs, the next few months provide lots of opportunity. For stealth, poling is preferred; It’s more work but well worth the effort. I like the east side of Pine Island Sound below Pineland Marina. Across the harbor, the flats and small creek systems at the northern end of Bull Bay as well as the flats between Whidden’s and Catfish Creek can be good.  

    With the cooler mornings, the spotted sea trout bite should improve. In Gasparilla Sound, the thick turtle grass flats off the Three Sisters Islands outside Boca Grande can hold good numbers of trout. In Pine Island Sound, the deeper turtle grass flats , two to four feet, anywhere off the intracoastal are worth a look.  

    As the water cools, a favorite prey species, scaled sardines, also look for more stable water temperatures and move offshore. This forces our gamefish to rely on shrimp, small crustaceans, and localized bottom associated prey fish. Therefore, I’ll begin throwing small clouser type patterns. They’re a good match for this smaller prey and I like the way they emulate the motion of a jig and get down in the water column where small crustaceans hide. Unlike some patterns, they don't stop moving during the retrieve when not being stripped and actually drop like a fleeing prey.  

    On the bars surrounding the open harbor, pompano can 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, the clouser again is a perfect fly. On a spinning rod, a 1/4 ounce Nylure jig is tough to beat.  

    Lastly, look for sheepshead to begin stacking up around any artificial reef, dock, or pier structure. Moreover, I’ve been seeing good numbers along many of the shorelines I fish. 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 

  • 10/29/2020 9:14 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    November Signals End of Mullet RunNovember Signals End of Mullet Run  
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn 

    It’s hard to fathom all the outstanding fishing adventures I have experienced on the Indian River Lagoon Coast of Florida in November. We are truly blessed by the opportunity to experience the natural side of such a magnificent resource where catching is a year-round experience. 

    As the water temperatures cool, look for the near-shore bite out of Port Canaveral, Ponce Inlet and Sebastian Inlet to heat up. These inlets have been on fire all of October and the bite will continue as long as the seas are fishable. When the seas allow it, look for cobia and tripletail along the Port Canaveral buoy line, and on weed lines both inshore and offshore. Also, the cooler waters will trigger the snook and tarpon bite both along the beaches and in the inlets. 

    November prevails as one of the most productive months to fish Florida’s east coast. It’s the end of the of the mullet run, with waves of baitfish (black and silver mullet) migrating south through the lagoon and along the beaches. Currently the inlets are packed with bait increasing the diversity of species one can expect to catch. Along with this seasonal migration come the cooler temperatures and an influx of predators on a quest for warmer waters and an opportune meal. 

    On the lagoon flats, redfish and sea trout will begin their transition from finfish to shrimp and crabs as the mullet run wanes near the end of the month. Also, as the water levels begin dropping and the water cleans up, tailing redfish will become more common and sight fishing improves. When you’re in this situation, nothing beats a well-presented DOA Shrimp or 3″ DOA CAL paddle tail as these tailing fish are targeting smaller baits. 

    November is one of the best months to target snook at Sebastian Inlet. In addition, ocean flounder and oversized redfish have shown up on the Port Canaveral buoy line and in the inlets, and their numbers will only improve as the month progresses. Other notable predators shadowing finger mullet and glass minnow pods are Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and blacktip sharks. 

    On the inside, schools of pompano will soon begin to move off the lagoon flats through the inlets and invade the beaches in search of sand fleas (mole crabs), their favorite winter food. Also, look for large schools of ladyfish, small trout, jack crevalle, and Spanish mackerel busting pods of glass minnows in deeper water, and finger mullet near the shoreline and causeways. These schools are easy to locate by watching for bird activity, fish busting, and bait showering on the surface.  

    November also serves as the beginning of crappie season on the St Johns River and all major freshwater lakes in Central Florida. As the cold fronts pass, I will strive to keep my lines tight, and promise not to take nature’s blessing for granted. See you soon on the Lagoon. 

    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 on the water 

  • 09/29/2020 6:29 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Sheepshead around the bridges.
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    COVID-19 still hangs over everyone on the Treasure Coast, but you can foresee things slowing down a little.  We transition into fall this month and the water will begin slowly cooling down for winter.  It has been a hot summer, so don’t expect a huge temperature difference. October provides great weather and hungry fish.  Plan on enjoying this month.  It’s a fantastic month to be fishing!

    Later this month the fall mullet run will start winding down.  There will still be lots of hungry predators out there chasing them around the river and along the beaches. Live finger mullet, croakers and pigfish will be the best live baits to use.  DOA Terror Eyz and Bait Busters will be good artificial lures to use for snook.  Try around the docks, jetties, turning basin and bridges docks around the river.  Lighted docks are especially productive when fishing at night.

    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.  Redfish has continued to be a good bite for us again this year.  Their population continues to grow and provide some awesome action for anglers around Fort Pierce.  October will continue to be a productive month for those who seek redfish on the flats.  The 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. 

    Look for some sheepshead, black drum and snapper to be moving in 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.  Croakers and whiting will also be hanging along the beaches.  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's an ADVENTURE!!

    Good Fishing and Be Safe,
    Captain Charlie Conner

  • 09/29/2020 6:20 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Fall Bait Migration Heats up Bite
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    Believe it or not, fall has arrived here in Central Florida.  Shorter days and prevailing easterly breezes have set the stage for some excellent fishing.  This past week the King Tide (highest I ever seen) and tropical squalls well offshore made fishing challenging, but conditions are improving and so is the catching.

    The fall bait migration is in full swing on Florida’s central east 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 move 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 if 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 is 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 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

  • 09/29/2020 6:16 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Red October!
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    It is called red October for a reason as the redfish fishing in our area gets good. The back bays and near shore waters are now cooling off a bit signaling to all our fish friends Fall is in the air. The offshore bite as well as the nearshore bite will follow suit as this transition occurs. You can expect great reports this month for all species including those beginning their migrations South. We’ve got about another month of rain, but were close to the humidity starting to give us a break.

    We will start off with the shallow water as the Fall bite started early this year. This was kind of expected as it seems everything happened a month early since last November. It is the year 2020 so I am not surprised with anything these days. Redfish have been schooling up since early September in my neck of the woods, giving anglers plenty of big number days. This early grouping up of redfish should continue all month making things fun. Snook fishing continues to be excellent and the move to the back bays, rivers, and creeks will not start until we get our first cold front or two. Trout are finally caught with regularity in Estero bay which seemed to be the last place they filled back into, after our horrible red tide issues years back. Pompano, mackerel, and bluefish will be the next targets to go after once the cool downs begin.

    Nearshore fishing is great for tarpon in October. Large groups of tarpon are now pushing South from the panhandle down. These fish are following the schools of threadfin herrings down the beaches and easily targetable. Find the bait and the fish will not be far. Some years these big schools of tarpon will stick around through December, especially if it does not cool down much. Cobia will be another fish that will been seen in this same pattern. I would recommend hitting some of the wrecks around these schools of threadfin, as when you see one cobia this time of the year there are many. Those same wrecks should continue to hold mangrove snappers, groupers, and certainly barracuda.

    The offshore bite should get a little closer as the water temperatures drop a bit. The trend toward September’s end for many anglers seemed to confirm this already beginning. Good size mangrove snappers, lane snappers, and even mutton snappers can be found in 75 feet now. Grouper of the large size will be in about 100 feet plus, and using squid, pin fish, grunts, or jigs is the standard. Those that troll out that far will continue catching blackfin tuna, occasional kingfish and amber jacks.

    Tight lines,

    Capt. Greg Stamper Fort Myers beach, Fl

  • 09/29/2020 6:10 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Good time to get out
    by Captain Michael Manis

    This is one of my favorite months. We are putting summer behind but are still a month or so away from the first front and signs of winter. Cooler water temperatures put fish on the move. Snook, redfish and even pelagic species like bonito and kingfish are entering favorable transition periods. This combined with moderate breezes provides opportunities to get off the beaches as well as inshore flats and shorelines.

    Snook, looking to fatten up after the summer spawn and before the slim pickings of winter will begin moving away from open water shorelines towards backcountry river, creek, and canal systems. Later in the month, they should really be on the move. It’s hard to imagine now, but these river and creek systems will provide protection and more stable water temperatures when the fronts and cooler temperatures start pushing through. Here, it’s hard not to put some time in on the west wall. It can see a lot of traffic, but it’s a natural migration path for fish making their way towards the Myakka River.

    Across the harbor, the east side on both sides of Alligator Creek can fish well. This area includes an extensive collection of mangrove islands and tidal creeks. Due to the warm water, I’ve been working the outer islands and in particular shorelines facing the open harbor. Now, I’ll begin making my way a couple islands deep anticipating the snook to do the same.

    The redfish spawn continues and look for them to be grouped up on open flats. They will move in and out with the tide so keep an eye out around shorelines on higher tides. Any bay or sound could hold fish. More often than not,  flats with good flush are a good bet. For this reason, I like flats adjacent to passes.

    The public ramp at Placida is relatively close to three gulf passes. Gasparilla, Stump, and Boca Grande. Flats inside and adjacent to the intracoastal around any of these passes are worth a look. To the south out of Pine Island, Captiva and Redfish are adjacent to some of the best turtle grass flats in our area.

    Outside the passes, this is a good time to feel the pull of a bonito and get into the backing of a fly rod.  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.

    Also, schools of black drum can still be found bouncing back and forth between the U.S. 41 Bridge and the perimeter canals of Punta Gorda. They’ll eat a fly and will also get you into the backing.

    Until next month, good tides

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters

  • 09/01/2020 8:22 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Mullet Run Means Food Fishing
    by Captain Tom Van Horn

    September celebrates the beginning of the fall bait migration, primarily silver mullet on Florida's east coast, with their numbers increasing as we progress into October and November. It is hard to predict precisely when or how strong the mullet run will be, but along with the arrival of the bait, comes the predatory species we love so much. Thus far, the lagoons are loaded with mullet, so its shaping up to be a good run.

    Look for snook, tarpon, jack crevalle, sharks, and large kingfish crushing bait pods along the beach. These pods are easily located by watching for fish and birds busting bait. Once you've determined the direction of fish movement, usually south, simply set up in front and let them come to you. This is my preferred time of year for targeting snook and tarpon along the beach.

    The beach snook run started in mid-August with a few fish already showing up, and it will begin to pick up substantially, just in time for the opening of snook season on September 1st. My favorite bait is a live finger mullet. Fishing the very edge of the surf casting your bait just beyond the white water. Walk slowly along with the direction of tidal flow, so your bait does not wash in with the waves. The same system will work for tarpon, just cast it out further, and make sure you have adequate tackle and line capacity to handle these mighty fish.

    Near-shore, good numbers of kingfish will continue to work the beaches, wrecks and reefs. When fishing for kings, slow trolling live pogies on a stinger rig is one of the most productive methods.

    In-shore on the lagoons, seatrout are still plentiful on the deeper edges of the flats, with the best bite happening at first light or sunset. Look for ladyfish, tarpon, slot size reds, and jack crevalle to be mixed in. Fish with top water plugs for explosive action, or work ¼ ounce DOA CAL jigs with colored CAL Tails for the subsurface strike. Near the end of the month, start looking for the pompano and flounder to begin moving out of the lagoon through the inlets and into the near-shore waters along the beach. Also look for the larger redfish to begin to form up just outside the inlets, feeding on baitfish and small crabs carried out by the tide, and for Spanish mackerel and bluefish devouring schools of glass minnows (bay anchovies) in the same areas.

    September is also the time of year the breeder redfish school up for the spawn in the north IRL and inlet passes of Ponce and Sebastian, so it's a good time to target these schools. Please remember these are brood stock fish, so if you target them, please handle and release them with extreme care.

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

    Good luck and good fishing, 

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters

  • 09/01/2020 8:13 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    One more month
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    Well its still crazy hot and we can expect that pattern to continue thru month end. There has been a lot of good fish caught last month so fishing the same patterns should continue to produce in September. The back bays will be all about redfish, snook, trout, and tarpon. The nearshore bite will be good for snappers, snook, cobia, and permit. Those going out deep will have a variety of options depending on how far they choose to go out and obviously the weather cooperating.

    Starting with the offshore bite anglers will be fishing as shallow as 70 feet all the way out to 200. The closer runs will be primarily snapper trips.  Most of the bigger snappers will be caught on nighttime trips where they get out there at sunset and chum for an hour before fishing. Grouper fishing will start in about 100 feet of water with the bigger fish typically found deeper. Red grouper, gag groupers, scamp, and black grouper will be targeted more and more till year end. Occasionally those that venture out some 80 miles from shore tuna, dolphin. A few sailfish, and even wahoo will be targeted.

    Those fishing the back bays, creeks, rivers, etc... will need to play the tides. Generally, when the water is hot paying attention to when the tides are stronger will increase your chances. Incoming or outgoings does not matter to me, but I want them early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Slacking tides in the middle of the days heat makes things very tough. Start looking for redfish schooling up toward month end, as Red October is coming. Snook will continue to be found on the beaches, river mouths, passes, and sandy mangrove shorelines. Our juvenile tarpon fishing will remain good thru this month and will continue that way until things start to cool off.

    The nearshore snapper bite has been good for snappers up to three pounds. Pilchards, pinfish, and shrimp have been the best baits. I prefer 3/8oz and 1/2oz jigs with 20lb fluorocarbon for the snapper and 40lb leader for the snook. Snook are still going to be around the wrecks and reefs. Using side scan anglers can see these schools of snook laying up near the structure, not on it. Cobia have been showing up mostly when permit fishing. Having a rod with a jig or swim bait ready to throw is a standard when permit fishing as when that cobia shows himself, you better be ready.

    Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper
    Fort Myers beach, FL

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