fishing Forecast

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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's an ADVENTURE!!

    Good Fishing and Be Safe,
    Captain Charlie Conner

  • 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
    407-416-1187 on the water

  • 08/29/2019 11:46 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Waters great!
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    What a contrast in water quality this year in comparison to last. This has so far been exactly what we needed to allow fish stocks to redeem themselves and ensure future success of our estuaries. The continuation of closures to redfish, snook, and trout has already produced the first batch of future studs for Southwest Florida. Pilchards and other baits continue to be found along the beaches and in the back bays, all that were extinct last year with the severe red tide.

    So, we’ve had a lot of rain throughout the area especially during the first two-thirds of August. This is typical in Southwest Florida and is a pattern we expect. This makes fishing in back bays, rivers and creeks, as well as the beaches predictable. The salinity levels of areas with inland runoff will be much more brackish, and even sometimes almost fresh water. Likewise depending on wind and tides there will be areas of clear saltwater, dark run off water, or a mix. So, depending on what you’re targeting, you can use these differences as references for specific species. Likewise, if your using live baiting you’ll need to consider what bait you’ll be taking where.

    Juvenile tarpon will continue to be a top billing throughout the area. Tarpon will be found mostly in the back bays, rivers, and creeks and can be targeted many ways. Best bet for the tarpon is early morning, but if there’s overcast, you’ll most likely get an extra hour or two. Fly fishing is a cool way of catching these 10-50lb fish and is a great experience for the customers when they are rolling. Live bait is an option as well, but salinity levels can be low in areas, so shrimp and some baits won’t survive there. Mullet, pinfish, and creek chubs are examples of low salinity baits. There’s larger local tarpon mostly out front and there will be for months. These fish are typically 80-120lbs and can be targeted in the usual fashion, crabs, threads, and cut baits.

    Redfish should continue to be great, as the numbers caught last month were good. A lot of rat reds have been caught throughout the area along with some studs mixed in. The closure of redfish for a year has made a big difference and should make next year’s fishery outstanding. The snook have also followed the same pattern as we are finding good numbers of juniors through the entire Southwest Florida area. Snook and reds have been about everywhere we fish from docks, oyster bars, and mangrove shorelines. Some of the local passes that aren’t very wide have been holding some 40 plus inchers. Artificial lures have been working well when moving down shorelines such as DOA terror eyes or CALs along with the big swim baits. When we’ve been staying closer to the beaches, we’re using white bait as it’s plentiful, both freelined and on corks.

    The nearshore bite continues to be good. Cobia, permit, gag grouper, sharks of all sizes, and mackerel have been plentiful. There are guys going out at night 30-50 miles and crushing the mangrove snappers. If you’re going at night I’d recommend getting to your spot before the sun goes down, anchor up, and chum like crazy for an hour. Doing this usually brings them up, right behind the boat and you can limit out in less than an hour. Cut baits of sardines has taken tops recently, but pinfish aren’t far behind.

    Tight lines,

    Capt. Greg Stamper

  • 08/29/2019 11:42 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Season of Opportunity
    by Captain Michael Manis

    About this time of year, it’s not unusual to find yourself fishing some typical summer patterns while also looking at some new opportunities. For all practical purposes, even though we feel like fall is on the way; it’s still summer. Just like last month, tarpon are still holding in and around the deeper holes of the upper harbor as well as the bridges. Early in the morning, looking for rolling fish is a great way to begin any day.  And, even though a live threadfin works great; this is the time to throw a deep running D.O.A. Bait Buster. 


    For new opportunities, even though the heat still makes it feel like summer to us, fish are generally ahead of the curve and snook should enter a transition phase as summer winds down. As their spawning season comes to a close, they’ll begin making their way away from the beaches, passes, and deeper cuts and move towards the rivers and backcountry creek systems. They’ll also need to put on weight after spawning.

     Out of Punta Gorda, shorelines bordering the harbor in close proximity to creek systems are worth exploring. On the west side, the west wall, an eight-mile long shoreline that runs from Cape Haze Point to the Myakka River has lots of potential. On the east side, the stretch from Ponce Park to Pirate Harbor, a labyrinth of small islands, can fish well. Out of Placida at the base of the Boca Grande Bridge, outside shorelines from the southern edge of Cayo Pelau down through Bull and Turtle Bay to the southern edge of Cape Haze Point is good real estate. 

    With this in mind, this has traditionally been a good time to look for redfish. Typically, this and next month provide some of our best redfish fishing of the year. It’s now that the fish begin to school up in preparation for the spawn and some of the larger oversized fish come in from the Gulf. It’s these fish that are fun to run into up on the flats. When in schools, if not spooked, they can be very aggressive as they compete to eat. In general, flats adjacent to the passes are good places to look. Conveniently, from Stump to redfish Pass we have five passes to explore.

    Until next month, good tides. 

    Captain Michael Manis 
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    (941) 628-7895

  • 08/29/2019 11:38 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Hot Bite in the backcountry heat
    by Captain Joe Garcia

    So generally I’ve recommended slowing things down in the heat of the summer since fish may be lethargic and lazy.  Well with the rains we’ve had and the cloudy days I decided to “test the waters” so to say.  Going against my own rules we have been throwing larger top water baits, hard jerk baits and large soft baits with crazy results!  Water temps in the back have been hovering on the cooler side in the low to mid 80s and though it may not seem like much, it has made a measurable difference.  It would appear that the added fresh water intrusion and cooler temps have lit up the bite.

    The Jacks, Bluefish, Snook, Reds, Trout and Juvi Tarpon bite has been impressive.  Concentrate your efforts on main creeks and mangrove edges that have good tide flow and work the top of the incoming or outgoing tides.  With the bait stacking up on the edges of oyster beds and mangrove islands our target species have been feeding aggressively in those areas and mixed in with the youngsters we’ve caught some studs.  The sound of the water popping and churning as the sun rises will have you on edge and heavily anticipating those strikes. 

    Top choices lately have been the Heddon Zara Spook in Bleeding Baitfish and the Rapala Coastal Twitchin Mullet, these lures have been pleasantly scarred and abused.  The Bassassassin 5” Shads in the Green Moon and Mama’s Chicken soft baits have been winners when throwing tight to cover and over shallow oyster beds.  The Bassassassin will also help access the fish holding a bit deeper.  The bite will dictate action but don’t be timid, work them hard.  Also remember to tell folks “never give up on a cast” we’ve had long follows and strikes right at skiff side.

    Get out early … Tight Lines and have fun folks!

    Captain Joe Garcia
    Southern Glades Charters

  • 08/29/2019 11:29 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Snook season is openSnook season is open 
    by Captain Charlie Conner

    August was another 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 to the area and the predators are chasing it both in the river and on the beach. Water temperatures will continue to be warm, it’s 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! 

    Snook season opens again on September 1st. Make sure you are prepared for the season and check your equipment. It’s always good to check your license and snook stamp, too. 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.

    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.

    Fish the bait schools! It's easy to spot the bait this time of year. If you don't find bait around your favorite fishing spot, you will most likely not find many fish there. Move around if you need to in order 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

  • 07/31/2019 8:51 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Summer patterns sustain
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    Yep the waters hot and that’s going to be a factor, but planning will give you the most bang for the buck. Based on tides some days will be better than others to fish. Days when low tide is mid-day means fish early or fish late. Low water from one till the afternoon thunderstorms finish will be the toughest time to fish. Afternoon rains help cool down the water and add a bit of oxygen. Snook, redfish, trout, tarpon especially the juveniles, as well as sharks, and permit will be the targets for most of this month’s trips.

    Snook fishing along our beaches is the standard around here, as long the winds are low. Here in Fort Myers I certainly prefer winds from the Northeast clockwise to Southeast when fishing the beaches. Sight casting snook is hard to beat when the waters clear, and an assortment of lures and baits will work well. Slow rolling on a trolling motor within casting distance of the beach is the way to go. I prefer moving with the current as I sight fish, as most fish will be swimming at you. Generally, the snook will be within feet of the shore as they beat up on the schools of bait moving along.

    Juvenile tarpon will be plentiful throughout Southwest Florida during August. When targeting small tarpon, it’s best to start early. Being on the water before sunrise is important on the good tide days. Usually, anglers will have about the first two hours to be on the good bite. Small tarpon are anywhere from 10 to 40 pounds and can be handled on the same rods that we redfish with, so if tarpon aren’t eating that’s what we’ll go for next. The tarpon will take a variety of baits from shrimp, livebaits, and crabs, to a bunch of different artificials. 

    When the tides begin to slow down that’s a great time to head to the passes and cuts. These areas have current first or last during the tide shifts. Pompano, ladyfish, mackerel, sharks and trout are the usual suspects. A simple jig tipped with shrimp should do the trick. On days when the ladyfish are thick you can always keep a dozen of them and head off for some shark fishing, as there will be plenty of them around up to eight feet.

    Shark fishing is a fun time especially for anglers that want to catch something big. When targeting sharks, use heavy spinning outfits with 80-pound fluorocarbon leaders and 6/o circle hooks. Yes, we’ll miss a few as some of the sharks will cut through the leader, but you’d be surprised how many you land, not to mention how many hits you can get. Bullsharks, hammerheads, blacktip, gray reef, and spinner sharks are the usual suspects. While shark fishing have your clients throw jigs for anything that’s around. Catching anything from mackerel to catfish causes commotion and vibrations in the water that brings the predators in quicker. Tight lines.

    Capt. Greg Stamper
    Instagram Snookstampcharters

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