fishing Forecast

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  • 08/30/2019 9:51 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Mullet Madness
    by Captain Tom Van Horn

    September marks 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. 

    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. The technique I like to use for beach snook fishing from the beach is to simply slide a ½ to 1 once barrel sinker onto your line, next attach a swivel which will serve as a stop for the weight, and help keep your line from twisting as it rolls down the beach. I use about 24 inches of heavy leader, 30- to 50-pound test, and a 3/0 Daiichi Bleeding Bait circle hook.

    You'll need to step up both the hook and leader size if tarpon are present. My favorite bait is a live finger mullet, fishing the very edge of the surfcasting 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 white or darker 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).

    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 
    www.irl-fishing.com
    407-416-1187 on the water
    mosquitocoast@cfl.rr.com

  • 08/29/2019 11:46 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Waters great!
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    What a contrast in water quality this year in comparison to last. This has so far been exactly what we needed to allow fish stocks to redeem themselves and ensure future success of our estuaries. The continuation of closures to redfish, snook, and trout has already produced the first batch of future studs for Southwest Florida. Pilchards and other baits continue to be found along the beaches and in the back bays, all that were extinct last year with the severe red tide.

    So, we’ve had a lot of rain throughout the area especially during the first two-thirds of August. This is typical in Southwest Florida and is a pattern we expect. This makes fishing in back bays, rivers and creeks, as well as the beaches predictable. The salinity levels of areas with inland runoff will be much more brackish, and even sometimes almost fresh water. Likewise depending on wind and tides there will be areas of clear saltwater, dark run off water, or a mix. So, depending on what you’re targeting, you can use these differences as references for specific species. Likewise, if your using live baiting you’ll need to consider what bait you’ll be taking where.

    Juvenile tarpon will continue to be a top billing throughout the area. Tarpon will be found mostly in the back bays, rivers, and creeks and can be targeted many ways. Best bet for the tarpon is early morning, but if there’s overcast, you’ll most likely get an extra hour or two. Fly fishing is a cool way of catching these 10-50lb fish and is a great experience for the customers when they are rolling. Live bait is an option as well, but salinity levels can be low in areas, so shrimp and some baits won’t survive there. Mullet, pinfish, and creek chubs are examples of low salinity baits. There’s larger local tarpon mostly out front and there will be for months. These fish are typically 80-120lbs and can be targeted in the usual fashion, crabs, threads, and cut baits.

    Redfish should continue to be great, as the numbers caught last month were good. A lot of rat reds have been caught throughout the area along with some studs mixed in. The closure of redfish for a year has made a big difference and should make next year’s fishery outstanding. The snook have also followed the same pattern as we are finding good numbers of juniors through the entire Southwest Florida area. Snook and reds have been about everywhere we fish from docks, oyster bars, and mangrove shorelines. Some of the local passes that aren’t very wide have been holding some 40 plus inchers. Artificial lures have been working well when moving down shorelines such as DOA terror eyes or CALs along with the big swim baits. When we’ve been staying closer to the beaches, we’re using white bait as it’s plentiful, both freelined and on corks.

    The nearshore bite continues to be good. Cobia, permit, gag grouper, sharks of all sizes, and mackerel have been plentiful. There are guys going out at night 30-50 miles and crushing the mangrove snappers. If you’re going at night I’d recommend getting to your spot before the sun goes down, anchor up, and chum like crazy for an hour. Doing this usually brings them up, right behind the boat and you can limit out in less than an hour. Cut baits of sardines has taken tops recently, but pinfish aren’t far behind.

    Tight lines,

    Capt. Greg Stamper
    Snookstampcharters.com
    239-313-1764

  • 08/29/2019 11:42 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Season of Opportunity
    by Captain Michael Manis

    About this time of year, it’s not unusual to find yourself fishing some typical summer patterns while also looking at some new opportunities. For all practical purposes, even though we feel like fall is on the way; it’s still summer. Just like last month, tarpon are still holding in and around the deeper holes of the upper harbor as well as the bridges. Early in the morning, looking for rolling fish is a great way to begin any day.  And, even though a live threadfin works great; this is the time to throw a deep running D.O.A. Bait Buster. 

        .

    For new opportunities, even though the heat still makes it feel like summer to us, fish are generally ahead of the curve and snook should enter a transition phase as summer winds down. As their spawning season comes to a close, they’ll begin making their way away from the beaches, passes, and deeper cuts and move towards the rivers and backcountry creek systems. They’ll also need to put on weight after spawning.

     Out of Punta Gorda, shorelines bordering the harbor in close proximity to creek systems are worth exploring. On the west side, the west wall, an eight-mile long shoreline that runs from Cape Haze Point to the Myakka River has lots of potential. On the east side, the stretch from Ponce Park to Pirate Harbor, a labyrinth of small islands, can fish well. Out of Placida at the base of the Boca Grande Bridge, outside shorelines from the southern edge of Cayo Pelau down through Bull and Turtle Bay to the southern edge of Cape Haze Point is good real estate. 

    With this in mind, this has traditionally been a good time to look for redfish. Typically, this and next month provide some of our best redfish fishing of the year. It’s now that the fish begin to school up in preparation for the spawn and some of the larger oversized fish come in from the Gulf. It’s these fish that are fun to run into up on the flats. When in schools, if not spooked, they can be very aggressive as they compete to eat. In general, flats adjacent to the passes are good places to look. Conveniently, from Stump to redfish Pass we have five passes to explore.

    Until next month, good tides. 

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

  • 08/29/2019 11:38 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Hot Bite in the backcountry heat
    by Captain Joe Garcia

    So generally I’ve recommended slowing things down in the heat of the summer since fish may be lethargic and lazy.  Well with the rains we’ve had and the cloudy days I decided to “test the waters” so to say.  Going against my own rules we have been throwing larger top water baits, hard jerk baits and large soft baits with crazy results!  Water temps in the back have been hovering on the cooler side in the low to mid 80s and though it may not seem like much, it has made a measurable difference.  It would appear that the added fresh water intrusion and cooler temps have lit up the bite.

    The Jacks, Bluefish, Snook, Reds, Trout and Juvi Tarpon bite has been impressive.  Concentrate your efforts on main creeks and mangrove edges that have good tide flow and work the top of the incoming or outgoing tides.  With the bait stacking up on the edges of oyster beds and mangrove islands our target species have been feeding aggressively in those areas and mixed in with the youngsters we’ve caught some studs.  The sound of the water popping and churning as the sun rises will have you on edge and heavily anticipating those strikes. 

    Top choices lately have been the Heddon Zara Spook in Bleeding Baitfish and the Rapala Coastal Twitchin Mullet, these lures have been pleasantly scarred and abused.  The Bassassassin 5” Shads in the Green Moon and Mama’s Chicken soft baits have been winners when throwing tight to cover and over shallow oyster beds.  The Bassassassin will also help access the fish holding a bit deeper.  The bite will dictate action but don’t be timid, work them hard.  Also remember to tell folks “never give up on a cast” we’ve had long follows and strikes right at skiff side.

    Get out early … Tight Lines and have fun folks!

    Captain Joe Garcia
    Southern Glades Charters
    941-281-5881
    www.southerngladescharters.com

  • 08/29/2019 11:29 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Snook season is openSnook season is open 
    by Captain Charlie Conner

    August was another hot month! September will continue to be warm, but the fishing is always exciting. It’s a great time of year to target tarpon, snook and redfish around the Treasure Coast. Lots of bait has arrived to the area and the predators are chasing it both in the river and on the beach. Water temperatures will continue to be warm, it’s 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. I love fishing in September! 



    Snook season opens again on September 1st. Make sure you are prepared for the season and check your equipment. It’s always good to check your license and snook stamp, too. 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.

    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.



    Fish the bait schools! It's easy to spot the bait this time of year. If you don't find bait around your favorite fishing spot, you will most likely not find many fish there. Move around if you need to in order 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

  • 07/31/2019 8:51 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Summer patterns sustain
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    Yep the waters hot and that’s going to be a factor, but planning will give you the most bang for the buck. Based on tides some days will be better than others to fish. Days when low tide is mid-day means fish early or fish late. Low water from one till the afternoon thunderstorms finish will be the toughest time to fish. Afternoon rains help cool down the water and add a bit of oxygen. Snook, redfish, trout, tarpon especially the juveniles, as well as sharks, and permit will be the targets for most of this month’s trips.

    Snook fishing along our beaches is the standard around here, as long the winds are low. Here in Fort Myers I certainly prefer winds from the Northeast clockwise to Southeast when fishing the beaches. Sight casting snook is hard to beat when the waters clear, and an assortment of lures and baits will work well. Slow rolling on a trolling motor within casting distance of the beach is the way to go. I prefer moving with the current as I sight fish, as most fish will be swimming at you. Generally, the snook will be within feet of the shore as they beat up on the schools of bait moving along.

    Juvenile tarpon will be plentiful throughout Southwest Florida during August. When targeting small tarpon, it’s best to start early. Being on the water before sunrise is important on the good tide days. Usually, anglers will have about the first two hours to be on the good bite. Small tarpon are anywhere from 10 to 40 pounds and can be handled on the same rods that we redfish with, so if tarpon aren’t eating that’s what we’ll go for next. The tarpon will take a variety of baits from shrimp, livebaits, and crabs, to a bunch of different artificials. 

    When the tides begin to slow down that’s a great time to head to the passes and cuts. These areas have current first or last during the tide shifts. Pompano, ladyfish, mackerel, sharks and trout are the usual suspects. A simple jig tipped with shrimp should do the trick. On days when the ladyfish are thick you can always keep a dozen of them and head off for some shark fishing, as there will be plenty of them around up to eight feet.

    Shark fishing is a fun time especially for anglers that want to catch something big. When targeting sharks, use heavy spinning outfits with 80-pound fluorocarbon leaders and 6/o circle hooks. Yes, we’ll miss a few as some of the sharks will cut through the leader, but you’d be surprised how many you land, not to mention how many hits you can get. Bullsharks, hammerheads, blacktip, gray reef, and spinner sharks are the usual suspects. While shark fishing have your clients throw jigs for anything that’s around. Catching anything from mackerel to catfish causes commotion and vibrations in the water that brings the predators in quicker. Tight lines.

    Capt. Greg Stamper
    Snookstampcharters.com
    Instagram Snookstampcharters
    239-313-1764

  • 07/31/2019 8:08 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Looking for cooler oxygenated water
    by Captain Michael Manis

    As we approach the two hottest months of the year, it’s a good time to head for the bars. Of course, I’m referring to the kind made of sand and grass. In particular, bar systems lining the harbors outside edge. With the exception of night and very early morning, the heat and resulting water temperature will push redfish and snook off the flats and onto these outer edges. For instance, the entire bar that runs from Cape Haze at the lower end of the West Wall to the southwest tip of Cayo Pelau at the bottom end of Gasparilla Sound is good water.

    Moreover, lots of anglers take the opportunity to wade. Because of the solid bottom, from Gallagher’s cut at the western edge of Turtle Bay down past Bull bay is convenient. They’ll wade up close to shore and cast out toward deeper water. It’s also a good idea to keep your baits down and work slow as fish aren’t going to be very aggressive. I like small baitfish patterns and I’ll strip extra slow. Across the harbor, the bar systems around Smokehouse Bay and the northeast end of Pine Island are also good.

    Tarpon will still be holding in the deeper holes off the West Wall and outside Pirate Harbor and the D.O.A. Bait buster is still a good bet. If you see them rolling; a slow retrieve anywhere in the area is worth a shot. Also, don’t forget about the bridges. In Particular, the U.S. 41 Bridge can be good.

    If you still feel like looking for snook and redfish on the flats, it’s not a bad idea to look for shorelines that are not too far from the intracoastal and be prepared to fish up under the bushes. Typically, anywhere along this waterway from Placida to Cabbage Key in northern Pine Island Sound has potential. There will still be snook in the surf along the beaches with the smaller fish up tight and some larger fish out a bit deeper.  Even though it’s a bit hot, spotted sea trout are still active. A good bet is the deeper water in Pine Island Sound, five to six feet, off the edge of a grass flat anywhere around the intracoastal.

    The snapper bite in Boca Grande Pass is also still good this month as well as just about anywhere there is structure. This includes canal and dock systems. Jack crevalle should also be moving in and out of the canals of Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte. They’re always on the move but just about any offering put in their path should be sufficient. Spanish mackerel could be just about anywhere in the harbor with the best bet being just inside Boca Grande Pass.

    Until next month, good tides. 

    Captain Michael Manis

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

  • 07/31/2019 8:05 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Top Water Action in the backcountry
    by Captain Joe Garcia

    We all can agree that the top water strike is like no other.  Even when it’s planned and expected, that strike will always get the heart racing and the adrenaline going!  Many of our first experiences fishing a top water plug was throwing a Skitter Walk, Arbogast Jitterbug (my favorite) or Zara Spook to bass in a fresh water lake or pond and pulling a big bass from cover and throwing water all around as it engulfs that plug.  Well top water fishing in the salt is all that and more.  Many, if not all the techniques we used for bass will more than work for our backcountry denizen. 

    The lures will be similar with the exception of stainless hardware and hooks that are stouter.  The Rapala Coastal Series and the MirroLure seem to dominate this arena.  The familiar “walk the dog” technique is a go to for Snook and Trout and many lures with propellers will do an extremely good job too.  The upside to the top water lures is that in many cases the larger of the target species will be the most aggressive to take the lure.  When fly fishing, the two most popular patterns are the Gurgler and the Popper styles.  These are worked with a short sharp cadence, producing the pops and bubbles needed to create that enticing disturbance on the surface.  With both plugs and flies the rhythm should be such that lure stays in the target zone as long as possible.

    The common belief was that top water is most effective in low light or calm conditions, but in the back country and inshore areas the top water can and is effective when many other techniques fail.  The commotion created tends to pull fish from water that’s maybe deeper as in a creek or trough and even from tight mangrove cover when the tide is high.  Throw them tight to cover or parallel to shorelines and work them in a manner and rhythm to make them stand out and be noticed, these are not finesse lures in any way.

    Break out that plug rod or tie to a spinning rod and have fun with these classics!

    Tight Lines and have fun!

    Captain Joe Garcia
    Southern Glades Charters
    941-281-5881
    www.southerngladescharters.com

  • 07/31/2019 8:01 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Fish early and late in August
    by Captain Charlie Conner

    The dog days of August have arrived, and you can bet on hot muggy weather for the Treasure Coast.  Make sure you take the usual precautions of sunscreen and hydration when outside this time of year.  Lobster season will be the most anticipated event this month and you can bet there will be lots of anglers out in search of the spiny critters when the season opens.  Look for afternoon thunderstorms and plan your fishing for early mornings or late evenings for best results.  Enjoy fishing in August!

    Trout, snapper and redfish will be the best opportunities this month.  Get your favorite top water lures ready for some good trout action on the flats.  Follow up with a DOA CAL jerk bait as the sun rises on a light jig head.  Water quality has been good so far this year and you can find plenty of grass flats to fish.  Harbor Branch, Queen’s Cove and Bear Point have all been productive so far this year.  Look for snapper and redfish around docks and mangroves.  Live bait or a DOA shrimp can help you find a nice slot redfish in August.  It has been a good summer for redfish already.

    Tarpon will be moving into the river along with many other species.  Look around the turning basin for the tarpon action with live bait or a DOA Terror Eyz.  Snook will be active around the jetties and bridges.  Channel edges will be active with snapper and sheepshead.  The glass minnow schools will be moving into the area this month and it will bring a host of hungry predators chasing them.  Lots exciting action awaits Treasure Coast anglers this month!

    Remember, as always, fishing is not just another hobby……it's an ADVENTURE!

    Good Fishing,
    Captain Charlie Conner
    www.fishtalescharter.com
    captaincharlie@fishtalescharter.com
    772-284-3852

  • 07/31/2019 7:55 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Expect improved fishing off the beach
    by Captain Tom Van Horn

    Angling on the in-shore lagoons will continue to show improvement if the summer squalls (hurricanes) stay away, with fishing in the predawn and late evening hours being most productive. Look for redfish in the skinny water holding in the vicinity of bait concentration, and target them utilizing smaller top-water plugs or soft plastic swim baits like the DOA Bait Buster and Airhead.

    Once the sun starts to grow hot, the top-water bite will shut down bait becomes your better option. For larger sea trout, fish live pigfish in close to docks and other structure adjacent to deeper water. In deeper water, look for ladyfish, small trout, and tarpon pushing schools of glass minnows near the surface. These schools are easy to locate by watching for concentrations of birds, (terns and cormorants), joining in on the frenzy, and they are perfect for fly anglers who are interested in the continuous fast and furious action provided by these speedsters.

    Last but not least, look for schools of black drum and pompano holding in the shadows of the causeway bridges where the water is deeper and cooler. For pompano, fish small jigs tipped with shrimp or sand fleas (mole crabs) along the deeper edges and drop-offs.

    Offshore, 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, 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 Cape, bringing cobia with them. Further off shore, the Gulf Stream typically moves in closer making tuna a possibility for smaller boats working in the areas of anchored shrimp boats and thermals, 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, jack crevalle, and redfish to be shadowing pods of Atlantic menhaden (pogies), thread fin 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, so if you target them, handle and release them with care.

    In and around the inlets, look for Spanish mackerel, tarpon, jack crevalle, and bonito to be working schools of glass minnows on the outside, and snook, redfish, mangrove snapper, and flounder in the area of jetties and other structure.

    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
    www.irl-fishing.com
    407-416-1187 on the water
    mosquitocoast@cfl.rr.com

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