Cooler weather is going to push the warm air to the south and that should move the fish around quite a bit. That’s also going to change things up as far as fish location goes and may set a more winter like pattern. We’ll have to see if the drop in temperatures last or not.
Capt. Greg Stamper of Snook Stamp Charters said that the offshore and nearshore bite continued to be good over the past week as a plethora of bait continued to stick around. Cobia, king mackerel, tripletail and snapper fishing was good, with most fish caught in more than 25 feet of water. The backcountry bite was also good on incoming water that stayed fairly clean. During the below mean low water tides the redfish, seatrout and sheepshead could be caught on either cut lady fish or shrimp. Jigs and popping cork rigs worked best along the channel edges. Snook fishing continued to be good in the rivers along with jacks, trout and snappers that were chasing the bait meant for snook. Last, but not least, the passes continued to hold a bunch of different species including a lot of small sharks.
Capt. Alex Dolinski of Spot On Charters said that fishing this past week improved. Seatrout are plentiful on the grass flats and near oyster bars and they are hitting topwater and suspending plugs as well as live shrimp under a float. Pompano and spanish mackerel are chewing in and around the passes. Drift these areas using a 1/4 ounce jig tipped with shrimp. On the higher tides the snook and redfish are around many of the mangrove islands. They are taking live shrimp, cut mullet and live white baits. Tripletail and king mackerel are being caught offshore in 35 to 60 feet of water. Trips can be found along the crab buoys and the kings are going after trolled baits.
Capt. Neil Eisner of Fishing The Flats Charters reported plenty of action this past week in Estero Bay. With an abundance of pilchards netted along the beaches, his anglers found jacks and redfish in the long cuts and feeder creeks. Working the outgoing tides produced most of the hook ups. Capt. Neil’s setup was a 2/0 circle hook on 25 pound test leader. Chumming up the area with lots of live pilchards and waiting for the pops to start worked best. Make the cast and it shouldn’t take long before you get a fish on.
Capt. Jon Fetter of Catching The Cure Charters noted that the past week offered anglers lots of variety in the back bays. Redfish around the oyster bars were taking live shrimp on jig heads and on popping cork rigs. Sheepshead and mangrove snapper were caught in the same location. The flats, in 3 to 5 feet of water, provided seatrout, ladyfish, jacks and even a few sharks. Again, live shrimp under a popping cork was best. Pompano made a good showing this past week on the flats near oyster bars. Bouncing a lead head jig with shrimp was the ticket to success.
Capt. Larry Hendricks of Tall Tails Charters ran a reef trip with Tyler and Justice from Illinois. Barracudas, mangrove snapper, grunts, red grouper and gag grouper were all on the list. The group saw a big amberjack but couldn’t get it to bite. They also lost battles with goliath grouper and several mystery fish. Baits used were blue runners, pinfish, whitebait and shrimp. On a side note, they released a gag grouper that Capt. Larry has caught at least 6 previous times this year alone. It’s easily identified by a unique healed injury on its tail. If it keeps it up it’s going to be dinner when season opens.