fishing Forecast

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  • 09/29/2020 6:29 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Sheepshead around the bridges.
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    COVID-19 still hangs over everyone on the Treasure Coast, but you can foresee things slowing down a little.  We transition into fall this month and the water will begin slowly cooling down for winter.  It has been a hot summer, 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!

    Later this month the fall mullet run will start winding down.  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.

    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.  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. 

    Look for some sheepshead, 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's an ADVENTURE!!

    Good Fishing and Be Safe,
    Captain Charlie Conner

  • 09/29/2020 6:20 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Fall Bait Migration Heats up Bite
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    Believe it or not, fall has arrived here in Central Florida.  Shorter days and prevailing easterly breezes have set the stage for some excellent fishing.  This past week the King Tide (highest I ever seen) and tropical squalls well offshore made fishing challenging, but conditions are improving and so is the catching.

    The fall bait migration is in full swing on Florida’s central east coast with good concentrations of migrating baitfish working south down the beach and through the lagoon exciting both gamefish and angler alike. Triggered by shorter days, cooling water temperatures, and approaching cold fronts, pockets of mullet stream down the beach harassed by hungry predators. As the bait works its way south in the troughs of the surf, bluefish, ladyfish, jacks, Spanish mackerel, redfish and snook keep them hemmed up close along the surfs edge, with tarpon, blacktip and spinner sharks lurking in the waves eager to fulfill their position at the top of the food chain.

    As the baitfish move out the inlets on the falling tide, breeder redfish, tarpon and snook, take advantage of the easy meal as the fleeing mullet are forced away from the shelter of the shoreline. Additionally, October and November are the best months to target snook at Sebastian Inlet if water temperatures stay above 70 degrees.

    Once the water temperatures near the 68-degree mark southern and gulf flounder moving through the inlets usually follow the first major cold front. It is difficult to predict the precise moment of the run, but serious flounder pounders know when the moment is right, and they’re often rewarded with doormats from 8 to 14 pounds.

    In the deeper water, both tripletail and cobia move into the depths of 40 to 60 feet of water shadowing pods of threadfin herring (greenies) and Spanish sardines (cigar minnows) pushing south along the Canaveral shoals, often hanging just below the abundant flotsam carried inshore by the easterly breezes. Once you locate weeds and other debris, look for tripletail to be hanging just below the floating structure. Live shrimp and small jigs tipped with shrimp work well when targeting these brim on steroids. It helps to fish later in the day keeping the afternoon sun to your back to improve your range of sight, and always keep a medium heavy rod rigged with a one ounce chartreuse or white buck tail jig ready to throw to any cruising cobia.

    Also, look for the fall kingfish run to commence as well as an occasional sailfish or black fin tuna on the near-shore reefs and wrecks like 8A and Pelican Flats.

    In the lagoons, breeder schools of redfish are in deeper water through the north IRL. These schools of oversized redfish are our brood stock, so if you target them please step up your tackle size (20-pound test) and handle and release them with extreme care. In addition, schools of pompano will begin forming up and moving thought the inlets invading the beach in search of mole crabs (sand fleas) their favorite winter food.

    As always if you have any questions or need information please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn

  • 09/29/2020 6:16 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Red October!
    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.

    Tight lines,

    Capt. Greg Stamper Fort Myers beach, Fl

  • 09/29/2020 6:10 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Good time to get out
    by Captain Michael Manis

    This is one of my favorite months. We are putting summer behind but are still a month or so away from the first front and signs of winter. Cooler water temperatures put fish on the move. Snook, redfish and even pelagic species like bonito and kingfish are entering favorable transition periods. This combined with moderate breezes provides opportunities to get off the beaches as well as inshore flats and shorelines.

    Snook, looking to fatten up after the summer spawn and before the slim pickings of winter will begin moving away from open water shorelines towards backcountry river, creek, and canal systems. Later in the month, they should really be on the move. It’s hard to imagine now, but these river and creek systems will provide protection and more stable water temperatures when the fronts and cooler temperatures start pushing through. Here, it’s hard not to put some time in on the west wall. It can see a lot of traffic, but it’s a natural migration path for fish making their way towards the Myakka River.

    Across the harbor, the east side on both sides of Alligator Creek can fish well. This area includes an extensive collection of mangrove islands and tidal creeks. Due to the warm water, I’ve been working the outer islands and in particular shorelines facing the open harbor. Now, I’ll begin making my way a couple islands deep anticipating the snook to do the same.

    The redfish spawn continues and look for them to be grouped up on open flats. They will move in and out with the tide so keep an eye out around shorelines on higher tides. Any bay or sound could hold fish. More often than not,  flats with good flush are a good bet. For this reason, I like flats adjacent to passes.

    The public ramp at Placida is relatively close to three gulf passes. Gasparilla, Stump, and Boca Grande. Flats inside and adjacent to the intracoastal around any of these passes are worth a look. To the south out of Pine Island, Captiva and Redfish are adjacent to some of the best turtle grass flats in our area.

    Outside the passes, this is a good time to feel the pull of a bonito and get into the backing of a fly rod.  Keep an eye out for diving birds as they’re picking at the scraps from the bonito blowing up on bait. It’s a feeding frenzy and you can get close enough to throw just about anything into the mix.

    Also, schools of black drum can still be found bouncing back and forth between the U.S. 41 Bridge and the perimeter canals of Punta Gorda. They’ll eat a fly and will also get you into the backing.

    Until next month, good tides

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters

  • 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

  • 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
    Fort Myers beach, FL

  • 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's an ADVENTURE!

    Good Fishing and be Safe,
    Captain Charlie Conner

  • 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

  • 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
    407-416-1187 on the water
    Book a charter at  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 Fort Myers beach, Fl

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