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
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!
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!
Raygin made the long drive from Ohio to visit friends and I’m so thrilled her friend Whitney stopped by for a fun day on the water. We planned to go out for goliath grouper and shark. You might remember Raygin from a previous sharky post about a year ago if you follow our blog! Every year Raygin is here more and more. Eventually I’ll convince her to just stay forever.
We started the day out looking for some big sharks. This time of year they are pretty scattered and loving near shore wrecks for an easy meal. After awhile Aiden started fishing with some shrimp on the bottom to pass time. He was quickly hooked up on a few sharks of his own. Kids love these on light tackle. Thx Raygin for the great pics!
After the bigger sharks didn’t want to cooperate we headed over to see if the goliath grouper would play tug of war. I’m not sure if it was all the snapper they stole earlier in the day or they just wanted to test my patience but the bite was slow!
Finally after a few snags and stolen baits Raygin was hooked up! She did great getting this powerful fish out of the structure near by. Mid fight the rod broke, she held on as Andrew hand lined. This goliath decided to make a quick release shortly after being brought to the surface.
What an adventure! Broken gear, big fish and a lot of fun. Near the end of the day we even got a visit from the local dolphin we call “friend”. Becareful not to pet or feed her, she is known to bite, and its illegal to do either. Always a beautiful day on the water giving your boat a show better than any seaworld or aquarium!
We went exploring on our local flats. Picked up Barry on the way out, had to have him check out our new saltlife optics and catch a few fish before returning to school up north. We stopped along a flat that looked promising with bait in the area. The east wall is a great place to hang out and put a line in the water during the less than favorable winter months. Fish are plentiful too. Snook, sheepshead, redfish & trout are all swimming along hoping for a meal. Barry was the first to hook up a nice sized trout on a soft plastic, we threw him in the live well hoping to collect a few more for barry to enjoy for dinner. The lady fish were also plentiful where we were sitting. Catching them on gold spoons every other cast. Fun to catch and great cut bait!
Gorgeous day, breezy but sunny skys and beautiful scenery. We used our trolling motor to move and explore around the flat a bit, until we found our next spot to set a few rods out. Tons of horse shoe crabs and sting rays moving about. We also saw a few VERY large snook swim by. Bait of the day was cut ladyfish, we also had some live and frozen shrimp that have been very popular among the winter fish lately. Barry didnt wait very long until he was tight again. First redfish to the boat, caught on live shrimp and jig head. We hit a few docks on the way in and Barry was able to fill his quota for trout dinner with a bonus sheepshead. Great day on the water with friends. Sunglasses by Salt Life Optics. Reels line & tackle available at Fishin Franks!
Tom’s friend Andrew was in town on a fishing vacation. His first stop was Miami area for peacock bass and snake heads. His last stop was our Gulf coast for a little pull of a Goliath grouper. Guys day out on the boat, both Andrew’s and Tom headed out in search of a local moster grouper, the conditions were perfect. They brought along some frozen mullet for bait but soon learned these grouper were going to be picky today. A few tries with the mullet on the knocker rig and no luck. Not a nibble. Then they started to notice some large jacks schooling around the area and caught a couple on swim bait’s. These are fun to catch and drag screamers at this size! They make nice goliath and shark bait as well. Since the mullet werent working the guys gave the jacks a try!
That sure did the trick! Andrew hooked one on the line and sent it down next to the piling where the grouper like to hang out. It wasnt down on the bottom for 3 mins before he was hooked up! Andrew was in for the workout of a life time, these fish are pretty strong and know how to take you into structure to cut your line. After a fight on the 80w reel Andrew landed his first goliath grouper! Check out the video below of his adventure, watch in HD for best quality.
Cold and blustery conditions is effecting getting out on the water. Luckily we live in florida and it usually passes with in a few days. Snook are starting to be pretty heavy around our local spillways, the cold fronts have triggered them to moved up the river and into canals. I stopped yesterday on my way home and caught a few on one of my favorite fresh water lures. Only a few more days until the GULF snook season is closed until spring time.
When you come into the boat ramp and forget to empty the live well before hand, you feed the dock pets. These are fish who hang around the cleaning table and love to steal whatever they can get! I like the sound they make as they eat. Here’s a short underwater clip. Look closely for giant snook. Note fishing is not allowed at this location, only feeding.
Tom has been wanting to get a big fish every since he purchased his boat! We took him out to a spot where we knew he would feel some serious pull on his Penn 80w! It was a beautiful day and conditions and currents were in our favor. Andrew carefully maneuvered us next to the structure where these massive goliath grouper like to hang out! As Tom held on to his reel I tossed his bait against the side of the pilings. It took a few passes, getting adjusted to the current flow and weight of the bait.
We started to get bites right away, one of them stealing our bait before tom was hooked up! Its a fun feeling on the boat to feel the grab your bait the first initial bump is the best! After a short fight Tom and the 80w whooped this fish’s butt! A few snapshots and she was de-hooked, back on her way down to be caught another day! So much fun catching these from the boat, I cant decide which is more fun, boat or beach?! Great catch Tom and fun day on the water!
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!