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