Change Begins Now
by Capt. Greg Stamper
Well, we had plenty of rain across Southwest Florida all last month. Everyone got a few inches, and some got a few feet. Anglers this month will still need to dodge these storms occasionally, but now things start to transition to Fall. Typically, our lightning storms begin to taper down as we reach months end. We will be expecting our first cool front this month, or certainly the beginning of November. Fishing between or before storms was good for most anglers throughout Southwest Florida last month and should continue.
The back bays cool off when we get a lot of rain consistently. This makes the fish happy and more active than it was during dryer weeks. Water temperatures in the back bays will begin to drop. Redfish love this type of weather and the small schools that started to move around last month, now become bigger. We call it red October for a reason peeps, and there will be an abundance of them throughout the area. Snook, pompano, and spotted sea trout will fill in the rest of the main targets. As the waters north of us begin to cool down, black drum become much easier to target as well as pompano, bluefish, and mackerel.
Nearshore was a combination of Snook, permit, snappers, and mackerel as of last month. These fish should continue to be found as main targets for about another month. Those that fish the wrecks within 9 miles will do well on permit when using live crabs on long leaders. Those that use shrimp, crabs, or threadfin herring weighted or on the bottom will catch Snook and by now black drum. The snook are all big “35” plus and the black drums are in the 30-pound range, so be prepared to handle fish of that size. Mackerel can be found by simply looking for the birds going crazy. The beginning of the cobia pushing down from the panhandle begins now, so be ready for the brown clown when he shows up.
Offshore will continue to be a storm dodging type of month. Often in our mornings, you will see the big storms far off on the western horizon, exactly where those boats would be heading. Those with good radar and weather instruments can make good decisions on which way to head and when. Those without the right equipment, stay home. Fishing for mangrove snappers as well as groupers will continue to be the best bet. 100 feet plus is usually a good starting point for the red groupers and 75 feet for the snappers. Kingfish, cobia, as well as tunas, will now start showing up more often.
Capt. Greg Stamper
Fort Myers beach, Fl