by Captain Michael Manis
On average, this is one of my favorite months. Snook and redfish are entering favorable transition periods. Because, they’re separate and unique, sight-fishing opportunities are possible on mangrove shorelines and on open grass flats.
Snook begin moving away from open water shorelines towards backcountry creek systems. Last month, I began making my way further into the backcountry and I plan to push a bit farther this month. In Particular, on the east side below Punta Gorda, I’ll work the extensive collection of tidal creeks three or four islands deep. Later in the month, they should really be on the move. It’s hard to imagine now, but these creek systems will provide protection and more stable water temperatures when it cools off and the fronts start pushing through.
In addition, it’s hard not to put some time in on the West Wall. It does see a lot of boat traffic, but it’s a natural migration path for fish making their way towards the Myakka River. When it’s good, it’s really good. Tidal creek areas around the Myakka Cutoff are also a good place to look.
Redfish are coming off their August and September spawn and will still be grouped up on open flats. Any bay or sound could hold fish. In past years, flats with good flush from the Gulf were a good bet. For this reason, I have always liked the flats adjacent to Stump Pass in Lemon Bay and between Captiva and Boca Grande Pass in northern Pine Island Sound. This close to Gulf passes; water clarity and sight fishing opportunities improved.
This year, depending upon how long the red tide sticks around our beaches, we may have to spend more time looking inside the harbor. The Cape Haze Point area and around the bar outside Turtle Bay is worth a look. Further up the harbor, the flats outside Hog Island can fish well. Too, the bar system that runs from Mangrove Point to Alligator Creek is a possibility.
As a final thought, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has put a catch and release only rule in place from Anna Maria Island in Manatee County all the way down to Gordon Pass in Collier County for both snook and redfish. This is to help protect the species now that red tide has killed so many fish. It’s time that we all give a little back and practice preservation through stewardship.
Until next month, good tides.
Captain Michael Manis
Punta Gorda Fly Charters