Fishing ReportsSouthwest

Southwest Florida

Southwest Florida Fishing Report:

Hey good morning Southwest Florida!


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Photo: Capt. Jesse McDowall

Capt. Jesse McDowall here of Florida Inshore Xtream charters.

For this report you’ll find water clarity on the inshore side of the house is still a bit of an issue in some areas ….so try to find the cleaner water on the morning incoming tide around the passes. That’s where you’ll find some good bait schools and better water. Look for schooling jacks or ladyfish and also keep an eye peeled for some big snook lurking around those bait pods… I’ll tell ya, those big snook will put up a good battle so make sure you bring the right guns to the fight. My recommendation for these big sows would be a 7’ med-heavy spinning outfit. Now I know you’ve all seen the commercials for the Shakespeare Ugly Stick. Its low cost will get you a rod that will catch some serious fish. I like this glass rod because it allows a little more distance when you’re tossing live bait as opposed to slinging a topwater for hours. For that, you’d want to use a similar length graphite rod with a fast tip. When choosing a spinning reel, I would recommend the new Spinfisher V 4500 series from Penn. This reel is waterproof so if the kids drop it in the water or that big ol’ snook gets the best of you, it gives you a chance to get your gear back and use it again in the future. For line, I would recommend a braid. There are tons to choose from but you’ll see most of the guides use Power Pro. I switched to braid back in the late 90’s and never looked at a spool of monofilament again. Braided line has strengths and weakness just as anything but its strength greatly outweighs the weaknesses. One thing you will have to overcome with the braid is its inability to stretch. I tie a “shock leader” or simply “leader” to my braided line before attaching a hook or lure. I use 100% fluorocarbon and nothing smaller than 20 lb test. If you’re targeting snook, you are going to have to make an on the spot decision. I like to rig two rods with different size leader and see which catches more fish then switch the others out with that same size leader. This is the time of year when it’s a good idea to change out your line, stock up on that fluorocarbon leader and make sure to check that leader often… larger snook and redfish are making their way back inshore now and I’ll tell ya… when they decide to grab that bait you just slung….you better be ready!

Offshore, I’ve been tearing up the grouper and snapper and you don’t have to go far… we’re still seeing keeper size gags on the near shore reefs and hard bottom. Something you want to look for on your machine is not only that “live bottom” but the bait and other smaller fish as well. One thing that’s always worked quite well for me when trying new areas is using a 3-6 oz. brightly colored jig. I like chartreuse and white and also pink and white bomber cobia jigs. I’ll cut a small 3-4 inch triangle of cut bait, cigar minnow or squid and drop it down and drift over the area you’ve marked as a potential hot spot.

Folks, that’s gonna do it for me this week. Bookings for our fall season are already filling up and if you want to get your FIX on… give me a call @ 941-698-0323 or… find me on Facebook, Instagram, You tube or my web page @

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Capt. Jesse McDowall