by Capt. Greg Stamper
It is called red October for a reason as the redfish fishing in our area gets good. The back bays and near shore waters are now cooling off a bit signaling to all our fish friends Fall is in the air. The offshore bite as well as the nearshore bite will follow suit as this transition occurs. You can expect great reports this month for all species including those beginning their migrations South. We’ve got about another month of rain, but were close to the humidity starting to give us a break.
We will start off with the shallow water as the Fall bite started early this year. This was kind of expected as it seems everything happened a month early since last November. It is the year 2020 so I am not surprised with anything these days. Redfish have been schooling up since early September in my neck of the woods, giving anglers plenty of big number days. This early grouping up of redfish should continue all month making things fun. Snook fishing continues to be excellent and the move to the back bays, rivers, and creeks will not start until we get our first cold front or two. Trout are finally caught with regularity in Estero bay which seemed to be the last place they filled back into, after our horrible red tide issues years back. Pompano, mackerel, and bluefish will be the next targets to go after once the cool downs begin.
Nearshore fishing is great for tarpon in October. Large groups of tarpon are now pushing South from the panhandle down. These fish are following the schools of threadfin herrings down the beaches and easily targetable. Find the bait and the fish will not be far. Some years these big schools of tarpon will stick around through December, especially if it does not cool down much. Cobia will be another fish that will been seen in this same pattern. I would recommend hitting some of the wrecks around these schools of threadfin, as when you see one cobia this time of the year there are many. Those same wrecks should continue to hold mangrove snappers, groupers, and certainly barracuda.
The offshore bite should get a little closer as the water temperatures drop a bit. The trend toward September’s end for many anglers seemed to confirm this already beginning. Good size mangrove snappers, lane snappers, and even mutton snappers can be found in 75 feet now. Grouper of the large size will be in about 100 feet plus, and using squid, pin fish, grunts, or jigs is the standard. Those that troll out that far will continue catching blackfin tuna, occasional kingfish and amber jacks.
Capt. Greg Stamper
Snookstampcharters.com Fort Myers beach, Fl