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
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!
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
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!
Yesterday we had a great day on the water. We started our day loading up the live well with shrimp & pinfish. Andrew and myself have issues with redfish. For some reason they avoid us like we have Ebola. What? Too soon?
Cameron was determined to get us on a school he found earlier in the week in Charlotte harbor. The schools seem to be very broken up in this area as of yesterday. We were seeing a lot of reds, most of which were very spooky and did not want to eat anything we put in front of them.
Andrew decided to try a piece of cut up pinfish as everything else so far has failed us. Well it sure did the trick. As soon as his bait hit the water he was hooked up. First redfish of the fall season! As we were dehooking Andrew’s fish Cameron was rewarded for his guide skills and also caught a nice redfish!
These fish had beautiful tails today! We also caught a handful of juvy snook. A great day on the water with fishy friends, can’t ask for much more! Tight lines & happy weekend everyone, can’t wait to see your catches of Fishin Franks Facebook page!
While not as prestigious as Mallory’s first redfish, I was still pretty excited for my first black drum, caught on a live sand flea at Stump Pass beach last weekend.
By MATT STEVENS
Man on the Pier
There are certain species of fish that mean a great deal to you when you catch your first one. Some fish, such as cobia for me personally, seem to loom larger than life, consuming your thoughts and fishing trips until you finally land one. Other species just seem to sneak up on you.
I can vividly remember my first shark, a 4-foot bull caught at the Gilchrist Park pier in Punta Gorda.
Then there was the moment I broke the cobia curse, lucking into a 22-pounder while fishing for trout at the old Bayshore pier in Charlotte Harbor.
When I lived on a canal off Edgewater Drive in Port Charlotte, the first redfish I reeled in fell for a MirrOdine 17MR one winter night while I was casting off my dock.
While I could go on with tales about goliath grouper, pompano and a host of other species, you get the picture. The anticipation of catching these fish for the first time made the moment when it happened that much more special.
But when I caught my first black drum recently, I didn’t even realize it was the first of that species for me until I was holding the fish up for a picture. I had caught it on a live sand flea just moments after my first cast of the day hit the surf.
It’s a bit hard to believe, but for all my seven years of saltwater fishing in Southwest Florida I hadn’t caught a black drum until this past Sunday at Stump Pass beach.
While black drum aren’t exactly a highly sought-after species, they are a pretty regular catch around here. And while I’m pretty sure I’ve hooked and lost a couple big ones fishing the U.S. 41 bridges in Punta Gorda, I had never landed one.
This one was just a pup, and at 12 inches was still shy of the minimum length of 14 inches for a keeper. But as I released it back into the surf I was still happy that I could cross black drum off the list of saltwater fish I’ve caught.
What species are you hoping to cross off your list this spring?
Until next time, hook ’em up and fight ’em hard. Fish on, fellow anglers.