The post Labor Day lull is in fishing activity, not fish activity. They’re biting.
Light winds predicted for the weekend should give anglers a good go at the very good red grouper bite well offshore. But a sharp eye out for storms will be a must.
Anglers into grand slamming should be able to catch big snook, redfish and trout, and small tarpon all in a day’s work.
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Freshwater fish have been heading for the frying pan in limit numbers of crappie on Lake Trafford, with theoretically unlimited numbers of exotic cichlids on Lake Okeechobee.
OFFSHORE: Two offshore trips this week with King Fisher Capt. John Baines have put as many as four keeper red grouper and lots of lane snapper, including some big ones on the table. Those fish have been biting off Boca Grande Pass in depths of 65 to70 feet.
Mike Westra of Lehr’s Economy Tackle reports a commercial fishing customer who employs electric reels in deep water has been having killer trips over the past month, using frozen cut bait.
Lee Longstreth reports his Labor Day outing with Capt. Walter Specht was labor intensive, after he hooked a nice bonito (little tunny).
ESTERO BAY: Get Hooked Charter Capt. Matt DeAngelis reports juvenile tarpon still are biting along the bay’s East Wall, where he released one and lost two others Sunday, baiting with live pinfish.
SANIBEL: Norm Zeigler’s Fly, Bait & Tackle Shop on Periwinkle Way reports Donna Yetsko of Sanibel caught and released a 32-inch snook while casting a Soluble Minnow fly from the west end of Bowman’s Beach last Friday with her husband, Steve. Since then Blind Pass has been a snook hotspot, with good numbers of spotted seatrout also biting for anglers fishing early and late in the day. Wildlife Drive (closed Fridays) in the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge has been the place for a red/snook combo. And for a grilled fish dinner of Spanish mackerel, the Sanibel Pier shoreline has been a great starting point.
PINE ISLAND: St. James City Capt. George “Artificials Only” Grosselfinger reports averaging eight to 10 snook per three-hour trip, staying close to home in southeastern Pine Island Sound. He released a 32-incher Wednesday in the rain, and reports six others that looked bigger blew up on, but did not touch his topwater lure, with some of those fish coming all the way out of the water. He’s also been catching trout and snapper.
Lehr’s reports several customers have caught very large redfish, from the mid-30-inch to high-30s range in Pine Island Sound.
CHARLOTTE HARBOR: King Fisher bay boat Capt. Brad Batz “wore out” the Lovell party of two, from Indiana, with catches of trout including some in the 20-inch range, plus lots of high flying ladyfish. After the catch-and-release action they moved off the northeastern harbor flats to the mangroves, where they also used shrimp to pack home a snapper dinner.
LAKE TRAFFORD: Ricky Kemp, of Felda, and his Immokalee mom used minnows in central lake depths to catch their limits of crappie on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Randy Perkins fished off the end of the pier at Ann Olesky Park and caught 13 on Wednesday, according to Lake Trafford Marina.
LAKE OKEECHOBEE: Roland Martin Marina & Resort Capt. Jose Betancourt reports a great weekend trip with Seminole Tribe V.P. Marcelluis Osceola and his son, Bill, who used live shiners to catch fish at Grassy and Ritta Islands, and Senkos and Speed Worms to catch more in the Monkey Box area of the western marsh.
Panfish including bluegill and exotic (no limit) Mayan cichlids are biting well on ultralight Beetlespin lures, crickets and live worms, on the West Wall and all along Observation Shoal, according to Bradley Lytle of Roland Martin Marine Center. The same area, plus the North Shore and Tin House Cove are good for bass, with the best bite from daybreak to 9 a.m. Topwaters and swimbaits are good for starters, after which Gambler Fat Ace or Senko stick worms in junebug or watermelon red are the ticket.
PIC OF THE WEEK
Sanibelian Donna Yetsko was casting at the west end of Bowman’s Beach when this 32-inch snook took a liking to her Soluble Minnow. Photo courtesy Norm Zeigler’s Fly, Bait & Tackle.
There’s lots of rain in this weekend’s weather forecast, at least through Saturday. On the up side, winds should be light except, as notably understated by the National Weather Service,”The winds and seas near thunderstorms may be higher than forecast.”
In fact, intense thunderstorms can generate winds of hurricane strength, with lightning that is deadly at any strength. So while fishing in the rain can be very productive, as St. James City Capt. George Grosselfinger found on the recent dreary Wednesday morning, it also can be dangerous.
The weather service updates forecasts four times daily, and can be monitored on VHF marine radio. But even better are the many forecasts available on smart phone apps, replete with imagery showing predicted storm paths. The free NBC2 Wx App features live Doppler radar and has a “Future Precipitation” option.
No. 1: Upper east side flats for trout; island points for snapper.
No. 2: Upper Pine Island Sound for whopper redfish.
No. 3: Big snook and reds in lower Pine Island Sound.
No. 4: Blind Pass for snook and trout.
No. 5: East Wall for juvenile tarpon.
No. 6: Offshore for red grouper and more.
No. 7: Lake Trafford for crappie.
No. 1: Tin House Cove for bass.
No. 2: North Shore for bass.
No. 3: Observation Shoal to the West Wall for bass and panfish.
No. 4: Ritta Island for bass.