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
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.
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
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.
Photo via Wikipedia
By MATT STEVENS
Man on the Pier
The bite last night was intense. Too bad it wasn’t the snook.
The real reason behind the October full moon being named the “blood moon” has nothing to do with the red color it was supposed to have taken on.
It’s because of the swarms of blood-thirsty mosquitoes patrolling the area’s old train trestles, which were converted into fishing piers. I knew it was going to be a rough night when, on the walk out to the Placida pier, I looked down and saw three mosquitoes chowing down on my hand. And those were just the ones I could see. Every few seconds I felt the telltale sting, constantly swatting at them, shaking my head and walking as fast as I could.
The assault was constant along the tree-lined path that leads to the pier, and it didn’t get much better out in the open. There wasn’t much of a breeze either, which sometimes deters the skeeters.
Dressed in my long sleeve Fishin’ Franks performance shirt, lightweight nylon pants, shoes and wearing a hat and a buff, I figured I would’ve been OK.
Not so much.
So I coated myself in Deep Woods Off!, but that didn’t seem to suppress the will of the persistent parasites. The constant bite of mosquitoes combined with the absent snook bite was enough to push me off the pier well before I had planned on leaving.
I have a feeling all the rain we’ve had recently is a big reason we’re seeing so many mosquitoes. Couple that with the temperatures staying on the mild to hot side and I don’t see the skeeters going away in the near future.
Plan accordingly if you’re heading out to Placida or El Jobean, especially, but really any of the area piers at night. Or else you might get eaten alive.
As for the blood moon itself, I didn’t think it looked that bloody. When I finally got a decent glimpse of it at 5:30 a.m. – there was a lot of cloud cover last night – it appeared more of a dark yellow color. The lunar eclipse had just started, covering about an eighth of the moon. Maybe I should have stayed up for the full eclipse. Oh well, maybe next time. We’ve got another blood moon coming on April 4, 2015, so mark your calendars.
Until next time, hook ’em up and fight ’em hard. Fish on, fellow anglers.
Over the weekend we intended to fish on the gulf. Mother nature woke us up to a different scene than we had planned on. We arrived to one of our favorite beaches in Englewood to find wavy blustery conditions. Winds blowing 20-30 mph. There was no way I wanted to spend the day fighting the waves to keep a bait out or the current and wind while im trying to cast a lure. We drove all the way out here so we might as well search for another place to fish in the area.
My friend’s family beach house also had access to a nice dock in lemon bay. We decided to try there. As we walked up David was on the dock with a nice keeper trout! He told me ” Every time I throw a line in I am getting bites, its been a great morning for fishing” It wasn’t long before we found out for ourselves! Andrew and I both caught a snook with in the first 10 mins of being on the dock! Andrew also hooked a snook that later threw hook that was a MONSTER! You don’t hook them all with top water but its so much fun to try! The bite went on like this for about an hour. Almost every cast you were hooking something. Trout, Snook, & Jacks were all over and hungry! We weren’t using any live bait today, which made all the bites we were getting that more exciting. Only gulp, and various top water lures such as Rapala and a Zara Spook Jr in bone white.
I was using a gulp and switching on and off of a popping cork. I wasn’t getting too much action so I switched to a top water lure. I’ve never used top water before but watched Andrew fish it countless times. I think its so exciting to see the fish on top water smash your lure before getting hooked. We were throwing on to a grassy flat area near some broken down old docks. Andrew showed me how to work the lure and get the action right so it would make that unmistakable “gulp” sound across the top of the water. Out of nowhere from around the corner came a very large school of jacks eating some glass minnows! Ive never caught a jack larger than my own hand so I was hopeful to get one of these to bite! I threw into the school of them with no luck they seemed to completely ignore my top water lure. One last cast into the back of the school and a big hungry jack smashed my top water lure making a huge splash and commotion.
It was a fun afternoon with some great fish! Andrew even went out wading on the grass flats and caught the fourth trout over 20 inches this morning. The fishing here is very versatile. This would be a great location for kayaking on a day with less wind. Boat traffic was pretty quiet and there are plenty of grass flats and mangroves to explore across lemon bay. We plan a return trip soon with our kayaks in tow. Im sure hooking these bigger jacks and snook in the kayak would be a blast! Im loving the new Penn Conflict, awesome drag and really smooth casting! I’m looking forward to testing its durability all summer to see if it can live up to the battle!
I hope everyone is having a great week so far! We are having some very beautiful weather here in South West Florida this week. This morning I was working in the shop. Robert and Barb working hard to train me on registers and fishing licenses for the day of the tent sale. If you haven’t heard already its March 15th! Doors open at 7am and its Frank’s BIGGEST sale of the year! All your favorite reps will be on hand to answer questions and show you their best new products & deals.
Captain Larry Smith of Bucket List Charters took us out this afternoon. Targeting some keeper snook, this was a great goal especially since Andrew and I have yet to catch a keeper in 2014! We launched out of PC beach complex and headed to the 41 bridge. Im used to fishing from on top of this bridge instead of under it! Ive only have ever fished it from the boat a few times. We set up with some live bait. Jumbo shrimp and some lively pin fish were choice today. Larry is a great teacher, always positive & very patient with the fact that I dont know how to fish out of a boat! As we set up on our first set of bridge pilings I only had my shrimp in the water 5 mins before Larry had a MONSTER snook next to the boat. That mouth was HUGE! Sadly he escaped us, but it was a great sign of life and I knew we were in for a fun afternoon!
Andrew was casting further under the bridge than me, letting his bait drift along with the current. Right in the shadow line. I was reeling up due to a snapper robbing me of my shrimp when Andrew got hooked up! This fish gave us quite the show and took some serious drag. He was using a live pin fish on a 7/0 circle hook and 40lb fluoro leader to pull this fish out and away from the bridge pilings! After a fun fight and this snook tangling itself in my line, finally our first keeper of the season! Andrew’s snook measured 30 inches. We tried a few other pilings on our way out with a few bites but none to the boat!
A fun afternoon on the water with family & great friends! Not to mention dinner tomorrow. Its so rewarding & healthy to eat what you catch! Snook is a very small season for those of us here on the gulf coast. I always look forward to keeping one or two through the season! Delicious I might add! My favorite way to cook snook its by using a butter, milk, egg wash and then ritz cracker breading. I bake about 350 degrees until golden brown! Yum! Larry tells me he grills his so I look forward to trying his recipe as well!
Some upcoming events on Thursday at 1130am & Saturday at 12:30pm we will be speaking at the Bonita boat show in the Fishin Franks booth discussing catching big game fish from the beach! Sharks, Tarpon & Goliath grouper! Hope to see some of you there!
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!