fishing Forecast

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  • 10/30/2019 8:01 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    A host of reasons to fish.
    by Captain Tom Van Horn

    As a Florida native I can't begin to count all of the outstanding fishing adventures I've experienced on the Indian River Lagoon Coast of Florida in November. We're truly blessed by the opportunity to experience the natural side of such a magnificent resource, and blessed am I to have a loving and considerate wife who understands and tolerates my passion for the outdoors and stretching line.

    For a host of reason, November prevails as one of the most productive months to fish Florida's east coast. It's the season of the mullet, with waves of baitfish (black and silver mullet) migrating south through the lagoon and along the beaches. Currently the inlets are jam-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. 

    As the water temperatures cool, look for the near-shore bite out of Port Canaveral and Sebastian Inlet to heat up. 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.

    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 already begun to show 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 endeavor 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 questions or need more information, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
    407-416-1187


  • 10/30/2019 10:33 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Patterns change.
    by: Capt. Greg Stamper

    There’s a lot of changes that begin happening both inshore and offshore starting now! We now begin seeing the change in both what we’ll find and where. Fish that we haven’t been seen much, start showing up all over Southwest Florida’s waterways. Temperatures begin to fluctuate as cold fronts begin touching Southwest Florida slowly dropping water temperatures. We’ll have some gorgeous days and some windy ones, so for those planning offshore trips paying attention to forecasts will be important.

    Clients start flooding down from up North and the phone rings constantly. Anglers that haven’t booked ahead by now, will be stuck fishing the slower tide days as all the good tide days will be booked up for the best guides. Tides also begin to drop down lower than in the Summer and can help or hurt fishing based on the winds.

    It’s time to start fishing early Winter patterns. This means watch your winds, pay attention to the tides, and be ready to improvise if need be. You’ll have options when fishing, for both action and perhaps trophies. Some of the fish we’ll be targeting this month include pompano, bluefish, bonita, tripletail, cobia, redfish, and black drum inshore. The Offshore guys will be focused on kingfish, cobia, red & gag groupers, and snappers when they can get out.

    Redfishing will continue to be good. For over a month now fish have been caught from 18”-35”. The closures on species in our area have greatly helped. Redfish will be found in typical areas this time of the year and can be consistently caught during the lower tides around docks and the outsides of oyster bars, as well as up in the mangroves during the higher water. Baits will typically consist of pinfish, cut mullet, ladyfish, shrimp, and other minnows. Water clarity will become a factor when choosing your bait, as well as where you’ll want to fish. Artificial baits such as paddle tails, topwater, flies, and jerk baits will work well also. Should we encounter considerable cool offs of the water, working baits slower than usual will be a must.

    Snook have now made their way off the wrecks, reefs, and beaches to the back bays and rivers. Snook are Floridians, so they don’t like cold weather. I’ll only target them when its warm or the water hasn’t changed much in temperature from now through March. Cold snaps will give snook lock jaw and even up in the rivers it will make things challenging at times. Snook do have to eat through, so being at the right place at the right time can be epic this time of the year.

    A cool part of moving into Winter, no pun intended are the different types of fish that show up. Through-out the area bluefish, bonita, flounder, kingfish, cobia, and other pelagic species start showing up. Depending on how and where your fishing, anglers can run into all kinds of surprises. The offshore guys will have to plan their trips on less windy days, but there definitely going. There’s gag grouper that will now come into the shallow waters as well as snappers, black drum, AJ’s and kingfish to target.

    Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper
    Snookstampcharters.com
    239-313-1764


  • 10/30/2019 10:27 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Change is in the air.
    by Captain Michael Manis

    Things are about to change and this month marks that beginning. We’re about to enter what could be considered a winter pattern on the flats in and around the harbor. Intermittent northerly fronts combined with lower morning tides combine to bring this change. In addition to cooler temperatures that affect the fish, these winds push water out of the harbor escalating already low tides.

    Of our game fish, snook are the most vulnerable to cold and should be well into their transition toward creeks, rivers, and canal systems. As a result, I tend not to target snook during this time of year. Out on the flats, I’ll typically turn my attention to redfish and spotted sea trout. Both these species tolerate the cold very well.

    Moreover, when the water temperature cools, the scaled sardines that make up a large extent of their diet move offshore. Like many prey or predator species, they are seeking more stable water temperatures.  This forces the reds and trout to rely on shrimp and small crustaceans. As a result, I’ll begin using smaller patterns, flies, and will also slow down my presentation as the cooler water will slow the fish’s metabolism.

     When the tide drops out the fish will move away from mangrove shorelines and have to drop into the deeper depressions or sand holes on the open flats. Also, as we get away from summer rain patterns, our water clears up and on many flats this is a sight fishing opportunity. Typically, the closer you get to the passes, the cleaner the water; however, even adjacent to the rivers, the water clarity is much improved this time of year.

    For a couple reasons, this is one of my favorite times of year to fish Pine Island Sound. First, it contains large expanses of turtle grass flats mixed with good sand holes; second, it provides lots of this type terrain with decent lee protection from the relentless northeast wind.

    When fishing sand holes, keep in mind that fish like to hang on the outside edge. Sometimes just inside the grass and sometimes in the sand. This doesn’t leave them as vulnerable as lying out in the open. Also, many times, the smallest holes hold good fish. Try not to look past them thinking the bigger holes are best.

    Every tidal flat in our watershed is affected by these same conditions. What’s more, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to consist of scattered sand holes mixed with turtle grass. For example, on the east side between Hobbs Point and Burnt Store, the fish will move out onto the outside bar and hang in the sand troughs. In Bull Bay, a very popular low water spot, ponds of all size form when the water drops out. It’s a mix of soft and hard sand and mud and if you find the right hole it can be good.

    Until next month, good tides.

    Captain Michael Manis

    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    (941) 628-7895

    mike@puntagordaflycharters.com

    www.puntagordaflycharters.com


  • 10/30/2019 10:15 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Check the docks for fall snook and reds
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    It’s hard to believe that it’s already November. 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 slowly begun to drop as we transition into winter fishing. Look for some windy days this month. Enjoy November and get out fishing soon! 

    and we are seeing the return of the seagrass in lots of areas. DOA shrimp and CAL jerk baits have all been working good on the grass flats for trout. North of Fort Pierce has been some good trout fishing for us. 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.

    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. 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. There will still be some tarpon around the area. My favorite is the DOA Terror Eyz. Live or cut bait will work also.

    The mackerel, bluefish and jacks will 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. You should still find some flounder around on the sand flats of the inlet and river.  It might be breezy out there…..but the fish will be feeding!

    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


  • 09/30/2019 4:02 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Arrival of the Mullet Run
    by Captain Tom Van Horn

    As hurricane seasons wanes off Florida's east central coast, passing summer squalls and higher water levels have impacted our seasonal fishing conditions we traditionally experience in October. Combined with a steady northeasterly fetch, the high lagoon and St Johns River water levels have arrived.

    The love bugs hatching, acorns dropping and my fall flora in full bloom are all signs of our seasonal changes and indications my favorite time of year to fish has arrived. Fall has arrived as masses of black and silver mullet, Atlantic menhaden (pogies), thread fin herring (greenies), and bay anchovies (glass minnows) have begun their southerly migration in search of warmer waters. This migration creates a buffet of yummy baitfish heading south, shadowed by a large array of hungry predators looking to fatten up for the winter. 

    If ocean conditions permit, near-shore opportunities are the best you will see all year. Along the beaches, target areas of concentrated bait schools for a mixed bag of snook, tarpon, kingfish, cobia, jack crevalle, oversized redfish, and sharks. Additionally, snook fishing in the surf has improved as the baitfish move south along the beach. Also look for schools of glass minnows to begin showing up bringing Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and large tarpon with them. For the past several weeks our sea state has been angry with elevated wave heights, so keep a close eye on the weather and watch for calmer seas.

    The inlets of Ponce, Port Canaveral, and Sebastian are good locations to target flounder, snook, jack crevalle, and oversized redfish all feeding on migrating baitfish along the jetties and just outside the inlets. Easterly swells, elevated and falling tides and aggressive anglers can make for challenging angling conditions, so please pay attention, be patient, and enjoy the rewards. Remember when fishing in these challenging conditions to keep your engine running and someone positioned at the helm ready to react if needed, wear your kill switch and be careful anchoring in swift currents.

    In the north Indian River and Mosquito Lagoons, higher water levels will allow anglers to venture into areas normally inaccessible during the spring and summer months. Look for slot redfish in close to the grassy edges along the shoreline shadowing pods of finger mullet, and for the larger redfish staged in deeper water ambush sites where migrating mullet are forced to venture out from the safety of the shallow flats. In deeper water areas, look for ladyfish, spotted sea trout, jacks, and tarpon feeding on schools of glass minnows. These schools of fish are easily located by watching for bird and fish activity. Once located, these schools will produce explosive action on small top water plugs, or popping bug flies. Also, if you locate a school of the larger black mullet, try fishing soft plastic baits deep under the school. Even though, mullet are vegetarians, redfish and sea trout will often mingle in feeding on shrimp and crabs kicked up from the bottom by feeding mullet. If you find heavy mullet schools working the shallows, try fishing with a DOA Shrimp or CAL Tail very slow within the mullet school.

    Lastly, this is the spawning season for redfish. Breeder schools of redfish can be found in the open waters of the flats, inlet passes and in open waters off the beach. These over slot redfish are great fun to catch, but remember their spawning success is the future of our fishery. With that said if you target them please step up the size of your tackle (20-pound tackle or larger) to facilitate a shorter battle 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
    407-416-1187

  • 09/30/2019 3:58 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    It’s Sooo, good
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    October is the beginning of Southwest Florida’s first cool weather. We now begin the transition from summer to fall. Getting into fall conditions takes much longer for us than being up North. For Southwest Florida this is more of a casual change, that may take from now until December.

    Temperatures don’t change much here in Southwest Florida; however, it’s cooling off up North. We’re now done with the brutal summer midday heat, and can expect some very pleasant morning runs in the low 70’s. None of our foliage changes color, but we do start getting a break in terms of humidity. With this change the migration of fish that don’t like cold water travel South. Fish in the panhandle, Northwest Florida and even West central Florida may feel the change in water temperature and start moving South. It’s the basic notion that where the bait goes the predators follow.

    Schools of tarpon from 60-150 pounds will be following schools of threadfins and other baits moving from the Northern waters to the South. Depending on how far down the tail ends of cold fronts reach, will control how far and when these fish move South. Some years cold fronts don’t make it to Southwest Florida and the schools of tarpon stay here until December. Targeting tarpon is easier in the Fall, as they’re eating a lot and showing themselves quite often.

    It’s called red October for a reason around here. The redfish bite gets good this time of the year. Redfish begin schooling up and often give away their location. Where there’s one, there’s many and can be anywhere from 18-33 inches. Our previous months showed that the recent closures of the species have helped the comeback from the previous years red tide. This is a good sign that our estuary will be strong moving into October and should produce some big number days.

    Snook fishing will continue to be good. There’s big fish typically on the wrecks and reefs within the first nine miles of the shore. These tend to all be big snook, so showing up with the right size rods will make or break you. I like heavy spinning gear much like what I use to tarpon fish with. These snook aren’t stupid and just like in the back bays, they will find any structure available to break you off on. Likewise, in the back bays we will find good numbers of snook, just not as many big ones.

    Pompano, mackerel, trout, sheepshead, and black drum all become targets starting in October.  When we do get water temperatures to fall a few degrees these fish show up in full force. Fishing the local passes and the beaches near them, will give anglers opportunities at all kinds of different fish. Another option that continues to be available will be sharks. We’ve got all the species of sharks and you will not have to go far to get into them. Fishing in as little as 12 feet off the beaches, anglers will have plenty of opportunities with these toothy critters up to 8 feet.

    Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper
    Snookstampcharters.com
    239-313-1764

  • 09/30/2019 3:55 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Transitioning into fall
    by Captain Michael Manis

    Year in and year out, this is one of the better months to be on the water.  Being fall, numerous species are in full transition. In addition, water temperatures are cooling a bit and the wind should still be moderate.  To begin with, as they’re preparing for the spawn, redfish should be schooling up. Water quality showed an improvement over the summer and I’ve been seeing some decent fish.

    Snook should be well into their fall transition. As they set up around creek and river mouths, they will be looking to fatten up before the slim pickings ahead that are typical with cool weather. To be expected, I prefer shorelines relatively close to creeks or one of the rivers. The upper end of the West Wall should be good as well as the network of islands on both sides of Alligator Creek on the east side below Punta Gorda. 

    Typically, about now, first thing in the morning, you can feel a difference in the air and this should make our spotted sea trout more active.  Most likely, anywhere near one of the deeper holes in Pine Island Sound should be a good bet. There are some good holes off Cove Key on the northeast side of the sound that should fish well.  Moreover, this is one of my favorite areas to look for schooling redfish.

    Last month, tarpon were scattered throughout the upper harbor and down along the east side. For the most part, the larger adult fish were in the upper harbor while smaller juvenile fish were bouncing back and forth between the bar and shoreline along the east side. We should see this pattern continue through this month.   

    Lastly, this is a great time to fish off the beach. The combination of changing seasons, migration patterns, bait, and minimal wind, no fronts yet, make for a dynamic setting. Keep an eye out for birds and there’s no telling what could be pushing bait to the surface. Bonita, Spanish mackerel, kingfish, sharks, big redfish, jack Crevalle, and even tarpon are possible.

    What’s more, this is a great time to break out the fly rod. When you find something like a school of bonita blowing up a school of threadfins they’re not about to pull away from the frenzy if you approach cautiously. In most cases, you should be able to get within easy casting distance and they will eat.  Most likely, you’ll probably find yourself getting into the backing.

    Until next month, good tides.

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

  • 09/30/2019 3:52 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Low water in the low country
    by Captain Joe Garcia

    Well we’ve experienced the first extreme tides these last couple of weeks. We fished a very low tide with high winds and the following week a super high tide where the camp ground and streets adjacent to the ramp were flooded. The fish were still active but where they were posted was a whole different story. It’s time to make adjustments to our fishing styles.

    Fishing Rookery Bay, The 10k Islands and the Glades on an ultra low tide can pose unique challenges just getting to or leaving your fishing areas, the low water will force us to concentrate on very specific routes of travel. Well same goes for the fish! A low tide will concentrate them in holes, deeper creeks and troughs, so having done some homework is crucial. The concentration will gather them and competition can make for a great bite. High water on the other hand will push them into the mangroves and further into creeks so precise casting will be the norm in this challenging scenario. The bass fishing skills of our youth will come in handy now.

    I usually forgo a top water lures so I can be as diverse as possible and not target any one species and to prevent snags. A 4/0 swim bait hook with one of the Bassassassin soft baits are my lures of choice. These soft baits can be configured “weedless” by imbedding the hook on the upper portion not unlike our bass fishing styles. The paddle tail such as the Sea Shad and the Die Dapper are great search baits, they can be cast and a simple retrieve will allow them to work as designed and elicit strikes out of hunger or reaction. When throwing to tight cover or mangroves I use the 4inch Shads, the lack of a tail helps cast better, prevents snags and moves them through tight cover easier. The Shad is worked with a “walk the dog” action, try to imagine a wounded fish with a very erratic swim action.

    As always the tides will play an integral part in our success to. Even with such extreme fluctuations be sure to plan to be in position for the top and bottom of each tide. These times will have the fish active but prevent them form having to exert themselves in strong currents to acquire their meals. Another beauty to this time of year is the weather permits us to fish two tide turns at times and what can be better that that!

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

  • 09/30/2019 3:49 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Great weather and hungry fish
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    We transition into fall this month and the water will begin slowly cooling down for winter.  It has been a warm year, 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!

    The fall mullet run will start winding down, but 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.  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. 

    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 sheephead, 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


  • 08/30/2019 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

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