Another summer is coming to an end here in SWFL. I hope everyone had a fun summer with their families and friends. I took some time away this summer myself to spend time with family and made some new memories on the water. Fall is around the corner and with the seasons changing so does the bite.
I am thrilled to walk into Fishin Franks and see larger sized shrimp making a come back. These are great for fall red fish. They cant resist a jumbo shrimp walking by them. Fish them free-lined or on your favorite jig head. If you aren’t a bait guy, gold spoon’s and soft plastics will do the trick. These reds are starting to school up, feeding the best during early morning hours. The rain forecast this week could throw this off. I am welcoming weather forcast, this rain will cool down the water even more and could increase the bite.
Snook season opens this week. You can buy your snook stamp anywhere you buy a Florida fishing license. Catching and releasing in our area will greatly help the population grow. Their population was decresed by the freeze a few years back, still recovering. Target them with live bait in deep pockets along the flats, or right along any sandy drop offs. Working a top water lure along the shoreline around first light will lure a hungry snook out to eat.
If your fishing from the shore line you have a lot of great options too. The white bait is along the beaches from Boca Grande to Englewood. Snook and flounder have been prevalent along gulf beaches, jacks mackerel, trout and a few small tarpon in lemon bay. Have a great week on the water and try to avoid the rain, the fish dont mind they are already wet!
Mallory Herzog- BigBullyOutdoors
Captain Andrew stopped by his friends house this afternoon. Good friends always tell fish stories but today he had quite an interesting one, and pictures to back it up. You know what they say in fishing, “Pics or it didn’t happen”. He and his family were out fishing earlier this week offshore. They came upon two whale sharks. An amazing sight, many fishermen and scuba divers dream of!
They took a few snapshots and said these whale sharks were huge. They were looking on as they were filter feeding, pushing countless of gallons of water though their gills. He also mentioned how many cobia were traveling with these guys.
Pictures below of these massive sharks. Dorsal fin and tail above the water. Look closely in first photo to see its spots. Get out there and explore. You never know what you may find in your own back yard. Want to know more about these gorgeous creatures? Click Here
If you haven’t noticed by the amount of boats this weekend the tarpon have finally come into boca grande and surrounding waters. They are feeding best on crab, although I did watch a guy hook into a 100lb tarpon using a live jumbo shrimp. Threadfins also are great live bait for these guys.
Oh yea and you have to bow when they leap into the air. This is something I forgot this weekend. We were in the fleet of boats inside the pass. A pod rolls right next to me, I throw my crab in like I’ve done a thousand times before but this time FISH on! I was so excited that as she lept out of the water and almost on to my our friend Al’s boat, I just stood there frozen in awe! Well there will be many more this season and I’m sure I won’t forget next time.
After some heckling from my captain about my failure to bow he found a pod that was all alone, he hooked into the biggest one in the school! She was so large she couldn’t even jump fully out of the water. After a 45 min fight this big momma wore though the leader, but not before I got a few snapshots!
Get out there! The fish are here, don’t be intimidated by Boca Grande. Assert yourself and make your way towards the school. Pay close attention to other fishermen when you get out there. This will help you to know if they are jigging or live baiting. Also when to use a trolling motor and when to use your larger motor. Franks fishing club is meeting Tuesday & Wednesday this week and is ALL about tarpon. Make sure to attend if your after a silver King. Good luck!
Wind, and cooler temperatures this morning. Captain Andrew had a trip planned and decided to work around the weather. A rainy start after gathering bait. With a live well full, you just can’t waste it. They set off and decided to hide in one of our amazing canal systems in Port Charlotte. When the weather picks up the fish tend to hide in there too.
On the boat today was Wayne & Shierly Nichols. Wayne runs Red Eye Safari , and is a great local hunting guide. You may remember him from Andrew’s first turkey kill a few weeks back. They are newlyweds and we’re looking for a fun day on the water, some fish to tug back on the lines would be great too!
Today they are using free lined live bait on a circle hook and various soft plastics. All kinds of live bait works in this type of fishing. Pin fish, shrimp, green backs, threadfins, and sugar trout. These canals are vast, and full of all kinds of marine life. Throw your bait under docks and around pilings/bridges for best result.
These guys toughed out the less than perfect start to the day and were rewarded with a few nice catches! Contact Captain Andrew to book your back water guide today.
White bait or greenbacks have been plentiful on the flats and along the beaches, especially during the morning hours. Perfect to throw your net on and fill your live well for a day of fun. If they aren’t easily accessible, or smaller schools we chum them in close to the boat or beach. Frank sells a variety of dry bait chum. We love ” bait maker” brand. Dry chum is great and easy to store. Also works on pinfish. You can mix it with water or menhaden oil and throw it out to attract bait fish.
Snook and redfish enjoy live white bait. One of my favorite activities is sight casting snook along our gulf beaches. From the boat and the shore, it’s a blast watching them inhale your live bait. We use 3/0 circle hooks and a loop knot to aid in the bait swimming naturally despite having a hook in it. If your having a slow day you can try live chumming! Get a half net full of green backs, squeeze them until they squeal and put them in a chum slinger. Throw towards the shore line.
If there’s fish there, Snook and Reds will feed and go crazy picking off the weak damaged bait. Popping on the surface. Chasing bait on top. You get some assistance on where exactly to place your bait. You will be hooked up in no time! Andrew & I caught a few nice snook and reds while exploring new bait locations in Pine Island.
The fish are here and hungry! Contact Captain Andrew for a great day on the flats!
Charlotte Harbor flats are active with hungry fish! Redfish and snook have been plentiful. Nicely sized, plenty of in slot fish swimming around out there. Reds are liking the cooler morning hours and the bite tends to turn off as the afternoon heat sets in.
Snook don’t seem to mind our warmer temps. Nikki spent the day on the water with us this week. She hooked up to a few snook later in the afternoon. Live bait seems to be best at the moment. Large live shrimp and white bait puts them into a feeding frenzy!
Wanna get out on the flats with Captain Andrew? Contact us to book your guide today!
I spent a few days hanging on near shore wrecks with my captain. We had perfect conditions to get out there before the wind picked up. Pinfish are key and what gets eaten the most out there. Make sure you stock up at the bait shop before you head out or get them yourself by chumming them in on the flats. Sabiki rig or cast net work great. The first day was all gag grouper. Attacking our baits as soon as they hit the bottom of the wreck. Season is CLOSED so they went back.
Day two was all about the barracuda. Andrew wanted to land one on the fly. They were terrified of the motion used to cast a fly. I even tried leading them towards his fly with a cuda tube. They would not respond. Back to the fly tying station for these guys. We have something up our sleeves that they won’t be able to resist. I couldn’t just let them swim away so I teased them for a bit getting them all fired up. I love barracuda because they really put on a show. Watching these guys chase down your cuda tube and smash it just a few feet away is a rush. I landed a nice one after a 20 min fight using my 4000 reel.
Captain Andrew is now booking trips for the spring/summer season! Contact him today and reserve your spot.
Live shrimp or pinfish, and your favorite jig head is what has been getting the job done. The waters are heating up and so is the bite! White bait is also a great option and is slowing moving into our area. The bigger fish are getting charged up and eating well.
Want to gather your own bait? Sabiki rigs work great for large thread fin schools swimming around the harbor right now. We were able to grab a few for the live well on our way out. You could also use them for cut bait Free lining or a split weight is best for threadfins.
I was able to enjoy an early morning on the water this week. We caught a few nice redfish. Quality over quantity today. Bigger slot sized fish and fewer juveniles.
Have a great weekend! Tight lines
Its finally here. Another beautiful weekend in SWFL. Perfect for getting out on the water or beaches. The warmer weather is getting ALL the fish fired up.
This week we had a variety of trips. We started the week scouting for up coming shark trips. They are around right now from pint sized terrors to big bull sharks. Spring is here and our waters are getting sharky.
Whenever your shark fishing have a pair of wire/ cable cutters handy. When hook removal is difficult cut as close to the hook as you can. We caught a little guy with a leader twice his size dangling behind him. We freed this cutie so he could grow big and strong.
The flats are alive with reds and snook. Redfish have been pretty shallow. Anchor with in casting distance of a mangrove line and throw your bait towards the shore. Look for a sandy area to aim so your bait doesn’t burry in the grass. Live large shrimp and cut up lady or pinfish make great redfish bait. Snook are after white bait and pinfish. Captain Andrew hooked into a nice snook using a pinfish on a jig head.
As the day warmed up the redfish bite slowed but the snook only got better. Exploring our local flats is a great way to spend your weekend. Even if you don’t have access to a boat, there are plenty of parks to enjoy and areas to wade fish. Fishinfranks.com lists some of the best fishing spots from land and water in our area. Tight lines, hope to see your catches on the Fishin Frank’s Facebook page!
We started out early, the tide was low and we knew it was going to be a waiting game. We explored some new areas around Boca Grande/ Placida. It was a thick fog kind of morning making the run out slow. We reached our destination and quickly found some trout who we after bright colored soft plastics. This particular area was very grassy, not ideal for live bait. We tired a few different shorelines as the morning went on. I knew once it warmed up the fish would too. We found an area with more sand holes and we could see various fish moving about. Mullet, redfish hiding with them and sheeps head all searching for breakfast. A very healthy flat with lots of activity. We tried to stay off the shore line where all these fish were sitting, coming in quietly on the trolling motor.
By this time the sun was finally coming out, which turned the bite on. We started hooking into some really nice redfish. Aiden had caught a trout at the previous location, one of our goals today was to get him his first inshore slam. Using live shrimp on jig heads and casting towards the shore, seemed to be the most successful today. Only catching one redfish on a gold spoon. We caught so many redfish that I actually lost count. They had beautiful vibrant blue color in their tails since the water in our area is still pretty cool. They looked like they had been eating well. All nicely sized. Cameron caught the biggest of the day at 25 1/2 inches and around 7-8lbs. This redfish had a fat belly and was obviously a great eater, we let her go to be caught another day after a quick snapshot. After all he did catch it on super light gear. Penn battle 1000 and 6lb line. What a fun fight!
As we moved further down the flat we found some small snook. This was perfect to complete Aiden’s inshore slam. If your unfamilar with the term. A “slam” is catching various fish all in one day. Most common inshore slam is Snook, Redfish and Trout. After a few missed fish, and patiently waiting he was finally hooked up. The best way to sight cast these fish is to throw your bait past them, reel slowly until its closer to your catch. Its very exciting watching the fish you intend on catching turn and eat your bait. His first inshore slam and only 8 years old. Pretty great day. He did bother us all the way to the ramp, trying to convince us to search for tarpon. Which would of made his slam a “grand slam” All fish pictured were released. Take nothing but memories.
Blog written by Mallory Herzog