fishing Forecast

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  • 09/30/2021 3:26 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Who doesn’t like October?
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    Another month of rain danced across Southwest Florida. Some areas got a few inches here and there, and other areas got soaked. Anglers this month will still need to dodge these storms occasionally, but as this month comes to an end things begin to calm down. Lightning both in the mornings and afternoons concern most boaters and will continue to do so for about another month. Fishing between or before storms was good for most anglers throughout Southwest Florida last month and should continue along with some new targets.


    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 some areas will drop as much as 5 degrees on the surface. 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 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.


    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.


    Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper
    Snookstampcharters.com Fort Myers Beach, FL
    239-313-1764


  • 09/30/2021 3:23 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    As the water cools the fishing heats up
    by Captain 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 post spawn, are looking to fatten up and will begin making their 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. As they’ll be keying on the scaled sardines that are so prevalent, baitfish patterns are my fly of choice. In addition, the stronger tides on the week of the 4th and the 18th should really put them on the feed.  


    Redfish will be schooling throughout the bays and sounds that surround the harbor. Keep an eye out for mullet schools as there’s a good chance the redfish won’t be too far off. Redfish in groups can be very competitive when it comes to food and mullet kick up a lot of small easy prey species like grubs, crabs, and shrimp off the bottom. The redfish version of the drive thru. Here too, the redfish are also keying on the scaled sardine so the same fly patterns I’ll use for snook are perfect.

    Spotted sea trout are also a good bet. Look anywhere in two to four feet around any grass flat in close proximity to a pass. They like the higher salinity and cleaner water that flushes in from the gulf. All our inshore predator species are keying on the scaled sardine so here too I’ll stick with the same baitfish pattern.

    For a change of pace, bonito are migrating down the coast following schools of baitfish.  Take a run outside any 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

  • 09/30/2021 3:16 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Transition Fishing
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    Fall has arrived on the Treasure Coast. As we transition this month, 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!

    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.

    Redfish has continued to be a good bite for us again this year. There will be some good 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. 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 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 hobby....it's an ADVENTURE!!

    Good Fishing and Be Safe,
    Captain Charlie Conner

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

  • 08/28/2021 4:03 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Dodging Weather
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    Well, it’s still crazy hot, it rains every day, fire occasionally comes from the sky, and the waters almost 90 degrees. With that said fishing continues to be good and this pattern should continue into September. The best bet is to start as early as you can, fish until it starts getting hot or the lightning chases you off the water. 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.


    Offshore anglers will be fishing from 70 feet all the way out to 150 generally. The closer runs will be primarily for snappers of many varieties and cut baits or even shrimp will work just fine for that. Most of the big snappers i.e., three plus pounds 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. Should anglers get out past 150 feet then tuna, dolphin, a few sailfish, and even wahoo will be also available to target.


    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 towards 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. Late September or certainly in October anglers can expect pushes of fish coming down from the North as water temperatures begin to slowly cool off.


    The nearshore snapper bite has been good for snappers usually 1-2 pounds. Pilchards, pinfish, and shrimp are the standard baits. 3/8oz and 1/2oz jigs with 20lb fluorocarbon for the snapper works just fine. Snook are still going to be around the wrecks and reefs however you will need at least 30-40lb leader should you target those. Cobia have been showing up mostly when permit fishing. Having a rod with a jig or swim bait ready to throw is a standard as they do not usually stick around long.

    Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper

    Snookstampcharters.com
    Fort Myers beach, Fl
    239-313-1764 

  • 08/28/2021 4:01 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Bait Schools Mean Action
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    September will continue to be warm, but the fishing is always exciting.  August was a super-hot month!  It’s a great time of year to target tarpon, snook, and redfish around the Treasure Coast.  Lots of bait has arrived in the area and the predators are chasing it both in the river and on the beach.  Water temperatures will continue to be warm and have been in the upper 80’s lately.   It is always best to fish early or late in the day.  The fall mullet run begins this month and that will bring exciting action to the area. September is an awesome month to fish the Treasure Coast!
     

    Photo: Eli found this nice pompano while fishing along the channel edges in Fort Pierce.

    Snook season opens again on September 1st.  Live bait, DOA Terror Eyz, and assorted other favorites used around jetties, bridges, and sea walls can get you hooked up to that slot fish. Make sure you are prepared for the season and check your equipment.  It’s always good to check your license and snook permit, too.  

    Fish the shallow water early.  Look for redfish around docks and mangroves this month.  They like the shade these areas offer, and you can get a nice redfish fishing live bait, DOA shrimp, and CAL grub tails.  The trout bite improved this year, and you can find some nice fish around Bear Point, Harbor Branch, or Round Island flats.  Fish top water early and switch to DOA shrimp or CAL jerk baits as the sun warms up.   

    Find the bait schools and you’ll find the action! It's easy to spot the bait this time of year.  The fall mullet run is going on strong in September.  If you do not find bait around your favorite fishing spot, you will most likely not find many fish there.  Move around if you need to find active bait.  Fish love this time of year and they are out there gorging themselves on the bait in anticipation of the coming winter months.  Water temperatures will begin to mellow out and will get back to normal.  It's a great time of year to be fishing!

    Remember, fishing is not just another hobby....it's an ADVENTURE!

    Good Fishing and be Safe,
    Captain Charlie Conner
    www.fishtalescharter.com

    captaincharlie@fishtalescharter.com
    772-284-3852

  • 08/28/2021 3:51 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Hit the Outside Bars Early
    by Captain Michael Manis

    With the heat still ever present, I’ll continue working early and concentrate on outside shorelines that run adjacent to open water bar systems. In particular, shorelines that adjoin creek mouths and deeper cuts are my favorites. This type of habitat can hold snook, redfish, and juvenile tarpon.


    Redfish are beginning to school up now and they can be a lot of fun when grouped up. Keep an eye out for stingrays as they kick up a lot of sediment and redfish will hang close looking for an easy meal. When they’re on the feed like that they’re a bit less cautious and when there’s a few fish together they’ll also be more competitive. Also, the rays are sometimes easier to spot than a fish and that’s particularly true when the water is on the tannic side.


    While on any outside bar system,  don’t be surprised if you see a school of jack crevalle cruising and busting bait. They disappear as quick as they show up so be ready to throw no matter what you’ve got rigged. 

    The spotted sea trout bite will start to get better as the month progresses. For the most part, anywhere in two to four feet within the proximity of a turtle grass flat should be good first thing in the morning. 

    Tarpon will be scattered throughout the upper harbor. The bigger fish are around the deeper holes and bridges. Some smaller fish can be found around the perimeter canals of Punta Gorda and outer mangrove shorelines that adjoin creek systems. In addition, this is a good time to keep an eye out for schools of black drum bouncing back and forth between the U.S. 41 bridge and the same perimeter canals holding tarpon.

    Also, don’t be surprised if you run into some sharks around the deeper holes. Black nose, blacktip, and bull sharks are always possible. Spanish mackerel could be anywhere especially if you’re around one of the markers.  Smaller sharks are great sport on the bars that border the open harbor. When it’s hot, these bars stay a bit cooler from a decent tide flow.

    Whether from land or a boat, fishing off the beach can be a lot of fun this time of year. There are still snook in the surf and many of these fish are also going to be making their way to shorelines and dock structure inside the passes. 

    Schools of Spanish mackerel are here too and will be moving in and out of the passes busting bait. As always, find the bait and the fish won’t be far off.  

    Until next month, good tides.

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

  • 08/28/2021 3:48 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    The Mullet Run Begins
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    September marks the beginning of the fall bait migration on Florida’s east central coast. Consisting primarily silver mullet, baitfish numbers will be increasing as we progress into October and November. It is hard to predict exactly 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 it is shaping up to be a good run.


    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.

    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 have 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.

    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 is a good time to target these schools. Please remember these are brood stock fish, so if you target them, please use adequate tackle (20-pound class or better) to get them in quickly and 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
    www.irl-fishing.com
    407-416-1187

  • 07/30/2021 12:57 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Dog days, early mornings and light winds
    by Captain Michael Manis

    As we approach the height of summer, it might seem that while enduring the heat, humidity, and thunderstorms our options are limited.  However, there are some unique opportunities if you’re ready to get up early and be on the water before sunrise. The flat calm conditions make the boat ride worthwhile and it’s a short ride at that. Most days, plan on being back for lunch. 


    At first light, the upper harbor is a good place to start looking for rolling tarpon. It’s a lot of area and can definitely use up some of that window. From the 20 foot hole between the West Wall and Ponce Park up to the mouth of both the Myakka and Peace Rivers is the zone. In particular, around U.S. 41 Bridge can be really good. Moreover, loading at either Ponce or Laishley Park makes for a short run.


    On fly, I’ll throw a 3/0 red and black or purple and black Puglisi peanut butter pattern. On conventional tackle, the deep running D.O.A. Baitbuster is a good soft plastic and it’s always tough to beat a live threadfin herring. Around the 20-foot hole, don’t be surprised if you run into some sharks. Black nose, blacktip, and bull sharks are always possible. 

    In addition, smaller sharks can be great sport on the bars that border the open harbor. It’s not unusual to see blacktip and bulls cruising and on the prowl. These bars stay a bit cooler from a decent tide flow. Typically, Turtle Bay and the Bokeelia bars fish well. Also, don’t be surprised to see a school of jack crevalle cruising and busting bait on these bars. They disappear as quick as they show up so be ready to throw no matter what you’ve got rigged.

    Shorelines adjacent to these bar systems do hold numbers of redfish that provide for some sight fishing opportunities. The best time to look is on the lower tides before the fish have an opportunity to get up in the bushes.

    With slick mornings, the markers offer a unique opportunity. Because it’s structure, there’s always bait and consequently predator species won’t be far away. Spanish mackerel, jacks, blue runners, and mangrove snapper are just an example. It may not be any of the more glamorous species; but it’ll keep your rod bent and on fly and light tackle it’s still plenty of fun. Artificial baits like plugs, feathered jigs and spoons are all you need.

    On the other side of the harbor, there’s another good option, snook on the beaches. In fact, this is one of the best opportunities for shore bound anglers all year. Again, I’ll throw a Puglisi design but here I like the 2/0 silver and white peanut butter pattern.  There are usually good numbers of pilchards or scaled sardines on the beaches so a suspending plug with some flash like a Mirrolure Mirrodine fishes well.

    Until next month, good tides. 

    Captain Michael Manis

    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    941-628-7895
    mike@puntagordaflycharters.com
    www.puntagordaflycharters.com

  • 07/30/2021 12:54 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Summer Patterns Continue
    by Captain Tom Van Horn

    The heat is on and it Looks like it is going to be an active season for summer squalls, but as long as they stay away fishing along the beaches and in the inlets will remain equally as hot.


    The Labrador current (cold water upwelling) as it is known by many anglers arrives during the summer and can cool down bottom temperatures and the bottom fishing in some areas along Florida's east coast. This phenomena can drop bottom water temperatures into the mid-sixties, so finding warmer water is the key to locating fish. Studies have shown the phenomena is the effect of a prevailing south wind combined with the Coriolis effect pushing the warm surface water offshore and the cold bottom water moving up to replace displaced water, but either way it equates to some tough fishing at times. Look for the blue water bite to improve along the inshore reefs and wrecks of Chris Benson, 8A Reef, and Pelican Flats, with kingfish, dolphin, black fin tuna, and cobia serving as the primary species, along with an occasional wahoo or sailfish. This is also the time of year when cooler waters sometimes push the giant manta rays in close to the shoals off the Canaveral Bight, bringing cobia with them. Further offshore, the Gulf Stream typically moves in closer making tuna a possibility for smaller boats, and as long as the summer squalls stay away, running to the other side of the stream isn't out of the question.

    Along the beach, look for the silver kings (tarpon), smoker kings, blacktip sharks, jumbo jack crevalle, and redfish to be shadowing pods of Atlantic menhaden (pogies), threadfin herring (greenies), Spanish sardines, and bay anchovy (glass minnows) in close to the beach. Also look for snook fishing in the surf to improve, as we get closer to the commencement of the fall bait run. Remember snook are out of season until September 1st , so if you target them, please handle and release them with care. In and around the inlets, look for Spanish mackerel, tarpon, jack cervalle, and bonita to be working schools of glass minnows on the outside, and snook, redfish, mangrove snapper, and flounder around jetties and other structure.

    Angling on the in-shore lagoons will continue to show improvement, with fishing in the predawn and late evening hours being most productive. Look for redfish in the skinny water up close to the shoreline holding in the vicinity of bait concentration, and target them utilizing smaller top-water plugs. Once the sun starts to grow hot, the top-water bite slows down, and bait becomes your better option. For larger trout, fish live pigfish in close to docks and other structure adjacent to deeper water. In deeper water, look for large schools of ladyfish, small trout, and tarpon pushing schools of glass minnows near the surface. Finally, look for pompano schools holding in the shadows of the causeway bridges. Fish jigs tipped with shrimp or sand fleas (mole crabs) along the deeper edges and drop-offs.

    In closing, I would like to thank all of you who enjoy angling on Florida's east central coast for your courteous and respectful treatment of the resource, other anglers, and the sport, and as always, if you need information or have questions, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    www.irl-fishing.com


  • 07/30/2021 12:49 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Getter Done
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    We move into August with a good understanding of what has happened in July. When we had a bit of a scare from a storm named Elsa. Nothing happened that was unexpected for this time of the year, and we got through with no issues. Those rains will continue for awhile and there is a good thing about that. Back Bay fishing will continue to be predictable, the nearshore bite will be more about wind direction, and offshore fishing will be great for those out past 150 feet of water.


    Starting off with the back bay fishing is important in August, as water quality is a big deal. Red tide has been nonexistent in Southwest Florida as of the last week in July, and minus one small push several months ago things are going very well. The rain is a good thing, and it keeps things consistent for another two months. Mouths of rivers, creeks, and even drainage areas will be fantastic. All those little morsels of food will be flowing full speed daily, based on when the sheet flow gets to them. Tarpon especially the juvenile size along with snook will be your best bet.


    Offshore has been fantastic in July. This month will be ditto, but some different fish will now become targets. Those fishing deep last month crushed red snapper from 140 feet plus regularly. One of the benefits of being out that far, i.e., 40-70 miles out depending on your port, is the bi catch. This month target gag grouper, porgies, tuna, and certainly Aj’s for fun times. There will still be plenty of opportunities for red grouper in 100 feet out.


    Nearshore is again a wind game. Storms will be a bit of an issue, but usually not till after 2-3pm. Getter done and get home is the best bet. Typically, you will have East wind early, calm winds midday, and then the sea breeze takes over before the storms unleashed.  Those that want tarpon and permit will have no problem catching them this month. An occasional cobia will be added to the mix, with a few snappers off the same bottom.


    Tight lines Capt. Greg Stamper

    Snookstampcharters.com
    Fort Myers beach, Fl
    239-313-1764


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