fishing Forecast

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  • 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
    www.irl-fishing.com
    407-416-1187

  • 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

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

  • 09/01/2020 8:05 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Fish Top Water Earlyby Capt. Charlie Conner

    With COVID-19 still affecting the Treasure Coast, more people have turned to fishing to get out of the house. August was a super-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 in the area and the predators are chasing it both in the river and on the beach. Water temperatures will continue to be warm. Temps 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. I love fishing in September!

    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.

    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 stamp, too.

    Fish the bait schools! 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

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

    Small changes in the airby Captain Michael Manis

    Even though it may still feel like summer, the harbor and surrounding bays are beginning to transition. For the most part, rain accumulation and somewhat cooler overnight temperatures will combine to drop water temperatures just enough to get the fish moving. However, it’s still warm enough that most of our snook and redfish will remain on the outside shorelines and adjacent bar systems along the harbor’s perimeter. In particular, areas adjacent to creek mouths and deeper cuts should be most productive. In addition, it’s not unusual to find baby tarpon, five to ten pounds, in the same areas.

    Furthermore, redfish are grouping up as their spawn, which runs from August to Mid-November, begins to peak this month. Too, snook are at the end of their spawn and should be looking to put on weight. Keep in mind, water temperatures are still warm enough that careful handling is important when releasing all these gamefish. Keep them as wet as possible before taking them out of the water for a quick picture. Remember, every second they’re out of the water is the same as your head being under water.

    Out of Punta Gorda, the shoreline and bar system that runs from Ponce Park all the way to Alligator Creek can fish well. A bit further south, the first or second sets of islands inside and including the bar down towards Pirate Harbor can be good. Down below Burnt Store, from Big Dead Creek to Buzzard Bay is one of my favorite areas. Here, the proximity to Matlacha Pass ensures good current flow.

    Across the harbor, there are some good creek systems along the west wall that are worth exploring. Because of the deeper cut and current flow, the southern end where the wall meets Cape Haze Point is a good spot. A bit further west, the Catfish Creek area includes quite a number of drainages that flow into Gasparilla Sound. Here, the bar system that also borders the intracoastal waterway with it’s clean oxygenated water provides for a real healthy  habitat.

    Just like last month, there are tarpon scattered throughout the upper harbor. The bigger fish are in the deeper holes and around the U.S. 41 and Myakka bridges. Smaller fish can be found outside the perimeter canals of Punta Gorda Isles. Particularly with the smaller fish, early is better as they tend to disappear when the sun gets too high about 9:00 a.m. Also, keep an eye out for black drum schools around these perimeter canals.

    Until next month, good tides.

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

  • 07/29/2020 11:40 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Beach Bite Good
    by Captain Tom Van Horn

    The heat is on, as fishing opportunities kick in along the Indian River Lagoon Coast of Florida. Looks like its 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.

    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 in the area of jetties and other structure. If snook are of interest, Sebastian Inlet is the place to be.

    The Labrador current (cold water upwelling) as it's known is still holding off this year, but when it arrives it will cool down bottom temperatures and the bottom fishing in some areas along Florida's east coast. With average bottom water temperatures in the mid-sixties, finding warmer water is the key to locating fish.

    Studies have shown the phenomena is actually 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 Cape, bringing cobia with them. Further off shore, 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.

    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.

    Last but not least, 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. Lagoon water levels are extremely low, so please use caution when accessing skinny water.

    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
    mosquitocoast@cfl.rr.com
    407-416-1187 on the water
    Book a charter at http://www.irl-fishing.com/reservations  and let's go fishing.

  • 07/28/2020 4:33 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Early works best!
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    So here we are smack dab in the middle of our Summer. I’ll give you the forecast for the entire month, Partly cloudy with a 60% percent chance of rain and highs in the low 90’s. Of course, the feels like temperature will hover from ninety in the morning to the low hundreds in the afternoon. With this said the early bird gets the worm this month, as well as those fishing the dock lights and bridges at night.

    Expect a lot of good fishing in our back bays and estuaries all month. The key is being out usually before sunrise hitting those fishing holes till about 10am. We have got a full moon in the beginning of the month so as it wans out the mid month tides should produce fantastic morning and nighttime tides. Those anglers that choose to fish during the day, drink lots of fluids and pick strong tides to fish, otherwise it will be tough.

    Snook fishing along the beaches will be good through August as lots of schools of white bait will be moving up and down them all month. Anglers that plan the trips based on Easterly winds will have the most fun, as they will be sight fishing often. Tarpon will also be found along the beaches, sometimes able to be caught by land anglers. Trout, mackerel, ladyfish, redfish, and jacks should round out your bycatch. 

    Those going out deep this month will probably be in a bit closer than last as red snapper fishing season is now over. Those that do get out past 120 feet will target groupers, an assortment of snappers, as well as the occasional tunas and mahis. There has been a few sightings of sailfish as well as wahoo as of late so be ready for either as when the chance comes, you’ll have to be ready.

    Nearshore anglers continue to chase tarpon around from 12-45 feet of water. These schools have spawned already so they should be hungry when you find them. Threadfin herring, catfish tails, crabs, and even pinfish will work well. Typically, I will use 50# leader and 5/o circle hooks either free lined or corked. Permit reports have been good for those that are getting out past 40 feet. The wrecks that have been inside of that mark do have them, just not as prevalent. Barracudas, mackerel, bonito, and goliath groupers will typically be found in the same areas. 

    Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper
    Snookstampcharters.com Fort Myers beach, Fl
    239-313-1764

  • 07/28/2020 4:30 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Sunscreen and hydration are most important for August fishing
    by Captain Charlie Conner

    With things still in chaos from the COVID-19, who knows what will happen the rest of the year. The dog days of August have arrived on Treasure Coast and rest assured it will be HOT! 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 it will certainly not be the usual start this year. Look for afternoon thunderstorms and plan your fishing for early mornings or late evenings for best results. Enjoy fishing in August!

    Redfish, trout, and snapper 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.

    Watch for tarpon 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

  • 07/28/2020 4:25 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Fish early 
    by Captain Michael Manis

    As we enter the peak of summer heat and humidity it might seem like our options are limited. However, there are some decent opportunities as long as you’re prepared to get up early and be on the water before sunrise. Typically, the flat calm conditions make the boat ride worthwhile. Most days, plan on being back for lunch.

    The temptation to look for tarpon at first light in the upper harbor is tough to resist. From the 20 foot hole off the west wall up to the U.S. 41 and Myakka Bridges is the place to look. Even better, this is a short boat ride from any of four ramps: Laishley or Ponce Park in Punta Gorda and El Jobean or the Beach Complex in Port Charlotte. For the most part, it’s so slick calm you can see them rolling from a distance. For sure, this is a great time to fish an artificial bait like a deep running D.O.A. Bait Buster.

    Also, while looking for tarpon keep an eye out around the bridges and outside seawalls in Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte for schools of big black drum. This is the time of year to see them finning just under the surface.

    Closer to the backcountry, I’ll concentrate on outside bar systems and adjacent shorelines. Because of their proximity to deeper water with more oxygen and cooler water a better habitat exists for snook and redfish. Some of my favorite areas on the harbor’s perimeter include the bar that runs from Cape Haze at the lower end of the west wall past Bull Bay and over to Cayou Pelau at the base of Gasparilla Sound.  Also, don’t overlook the southern end of the west wall from Cape Haze Point up past mud cove as this area can fish well on an outgoing tide.

    Across the harbor, the bar system that runs from Mondongo over to Patricio Island at the top of Pine Island Sound is worth a look. Here, the proximity to the intracoastal provides good clean water. Finally, on the east side of the harbor, the bar that runs from Burnt Store south to Matlacha can hold fish.

    If we get some consistent rain, look for tidal creeks along the west wall to fish decent at the top of the outgoing tide. Too, the many small creeks on the east side between Mangrove Point and Alligator Creek are fun to explore during rain periods.

    Until next month, good tides.

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

  • 06/29/2020 3:23 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    The Heat turns up!
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    And so, it begins. The dog days of Summer are here so stay hydrated.  Usually fishing early in the morning or later in the evening is best this month and next. July temperatures start off in the 80’s and will often hit the upper 90’s. It’ll be a hot few months with high humidity, rainstorms, and lots of sun. Starting early in the morning before the sun comes up is usually a good thing for both the fish and the fisherman.

    Fishing’s good this time of the year especially for snook, tarpon, permit, and redfish. During these hot water months proper catch and release techniques will be important. Keeping your catch in the water before a quick picture is taken, makes a difference.  Reviving your catch well before releasing, will be crucial to the fish’s survival. Remember the waters is hot, has less oxygen, and big fish can get warn out, especially on light tackle.  

    Tides and moving water will be an important piece of the puzzle for July. In general, good water movement between high and low tides is best. Strong morning or evening tides of which we will have about 12 good ones this month, will be the best days. With the real heat starting around lunch time here in Southwest Florida, slow tides or slack tides from noon till the afternoon rains begin, will make for tough fishing. Likewise, after we have the afternoon or evening storms the water cools down a bit, gets more oxygen and fishing in general will be better.

    Snook will be cruising the beaches and passes this month as well as patrolling our wrecks out to about 45 feet. This month and the next three, we will see schools of tarpon, jacks, snook, pompano, and hopefully trout along the beaches from Naples to Boca Grande. There is a good chance even for those fishing on foot to run across all these species. Look for these fish in cuts with good moving water, or in the beach troughs. Those that like the artificial game, just match the hatch and you’ll be fine on spin or fly.

    Those that get offshore during July will have a lot of fun as gag grouper, red snappers, as well as black tuna, Aj’s, and even some African pompano will be out in 120 plus feet of water. The boats that fish closer in from say 75-100 feet will find no problem catching mangrove snappers, yellowtail snappers, lane snappers, and even some porgies to fill their coolers.

    Tight lines Capt. Greg Stamper
    Snookstampcharters.com
    239-313-1764
    Fort Myers beach 

  • 06/29/2020 3:19 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Look for shade in July.
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    July will certainly be different this year.  Luckily, fishing has been an essential activity and even with the COVID-19 restrictions you can Still enjoy fishing.  It will be a different Fourth of July this year!  Water temperatures are warm so look for docks and mangroves that provide shade to help the fish cope with the hot weather. 

    Docks are usually very productive all year for us.  I like to fish docks and mangroves in July.  Redfish like the shade and a DOA shrimp can help you hook up on a nice red.  Top water lures are good to use early on the flats.  There have been some nice trout this year and it’s a great way to fish for them on the grass flats. Snook season being closed, I generally try not to target them in summer. 

    Bridges will be producing snapper, drum and sheepshead during July. Live or dead shrimp will be hard for them to resist.  There will be larger snapper in the river around structure and along channel edges.  Watch the tides and fish the slower sides of them for best results. Whiting will continue to be in the surf with the occasional bluefish and Spanish mackerel.  Watch for the glass minnow schools to flood into the river and you will find lots of action surrounding these small baiffish!  Jacks, Spanish mackerel and bonito are a few of the fish that love to feast on the glass minnows.

    I like channel edges for a variety of species as the water temps get into the upper eighties.  Incoming tides will bring in cooler water and that’s a good time to fish!  Try Harbor Branch, Queen’s Cove and Bear Point this month for some good action.  Enjoy fishing in July!

    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

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