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
We took a quick trip to one of my favorite fishing spots along north beach road in Englewood! The west winds haven’t been favorable to the natural beaches in this area, causing most of them to still be under water. Since it was calm and such a beautiful day we decided to wade out and try to catch some fish we saw jumping around over the reef! We tied on every lure in the box with no luck! Whenever this happens its time to break out the net! Some days they only want live bait. We saw a few green backs swimming along the shoreline. Still smaller than usual but Andrew was skilled enough to grab a few in the net! The best tip about live bait on the beach has come from Captain Cayle’s wife Barb. She told me to put a frozen water bottle along with my bubbler in my bait bucket during really hot months. It helps to keep the bait active and alive!
We quickly tied on some hooks for live bait. I like a simple loop knot for fishing along the beach, it helps the fish swim naturally. It wasn’t long until we started catching some smaller jacks & spanish mackerel! These are fun to catch on light tackle and make great bait for larger fish in the area. We were only staying about an hour so all the fish went back today to swim another day! Today I was testing out my new purple Fishin Franks pole paired with my Penn Conflict! As we were relaxing in the surf my son caught his first sea bass & I caught my very first gag grouper! Just a baby but its a wonderful sign that the reef in this area is healthy and coming alive this spring! Have a wonderful weekend fishermen!
Snook season officially opens on the gulf coast on Saturday! The season officially reopens on March 1 in Florida’s Gulf of Mexico state and adjacent federal waters, including Everglades National Park and Monroe County. The season ends April 30th! Thats a nice window of time to catch some great snook! Last fall was my first experience ever catching a snook. I love spending weekends on the local beaches its even better when the fishing is great! We started out in the early morning near stump pass park, just as the fog was disappearing and it was finally warming up. Andrew cast net some live green backs that were swimming around near the shore.
The snook around here really seem to love live bait. We go though so many greenbacks here that we usually turn our cooler into a live well using a bait blubber and some frozen water bottles if its a very hot day! Barb gave me this idea when I complained to her we were having trouble keeping the bait alive. Works like a charm and makes them very lively! As you walk down the shore line on an ideal day you will see schools of fish swimming down the beach. I love this type of fishing. Its so exciting to see the fish your trying to catch. The snook here along the beaches range in size from juvenile’s to keeper’s but they are so much fun to catch especially on light tackle! My first keeper was caught on my Fishin Franks rod! Keeper slot is 28- 33 inches. Everyone else must swim away!
We freeline bait and use 3/0 circle hooks and 30lb fluoro. I try to cast my bait ahead of the fish im trying to get the attention of. I cast my bait ahead of a swimming snook school and wait, trying to pay attention to where my bait is swimming with out getting too close to the shore line. On a clear day the fish can see you pretty well. Here comes the exciting part! When your snook is checking out your bait and deciding if hes going to eat it or not. It a split second you can watch him eat your bait and create some serious splashing action as hes trying to throw your hook! Im curious this season to try some live shrimp along with the bait we net while were at the beach.
I have caught snook on a more blustery wavy day in the surf on a lure. Some days its just difficult to find live bait! I was simply casting down the surf line and using strong action. Lures that resemble green backs or small mullet seem to work the best in this location. The bite for me along the Englewood beaches have been best in early morning to afternoon and right at sunset. This type of fishing is great because its inexpensive and almost anyone can be successful fishing this way even the beginner! Good luck to all the snook fishermen heading out this weekend! Check out our video below of our fun fall snook fishing along the area beaches!