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Southwest Florida Weekend Fishing 4Cast

Sarasota to Bonita Beach

Includes Siesta Key, Venice, Englewood, Boca Grande, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Pine Island, Cape Coral, Captiva, Sanibel and Fort Myers

July 18-20


Not a whole lot to report, just the weather! Errant weather has thrown a wildcard element in planning and executing safe, successful outings. There were scattered reports along with scattered showers. The grouper and snapper are biting but it’s tough going to produce some nice fish!

There was some decent tarpon action off Knapp’s Point and up further north. You could have had a shot at the close marks, but it was iffy with the patchy daylong threatening weather.


Flats anglers didn’t have it any easier than offshore crews, just close in misery! My guys and me spent several days running and gunning, trying to keep out of the nasty weather. Lightning, O’ boy! There were lots of electrical storms in Pine Island Sound, Matlacha and who knows where else.

Crews managed some curtailed outings; the lucky guys found some pins for redfish on the oyster bars and features in the passes. Most of the shrimp are just that, “shrimpy,” but they will work.

There are snook in the creeks and off the beaches all along our region. Keep the faith, play safe and learn to tie flies or something until the weather straightens out!

Capt’s Corner

Baiting quality is still reported poor, that and the weather makes planning a day on the water less than promising. We found smallish whitebait on the Gulf Beaches, but mostly net stickers. Bring along cut bait stocks or scented plastics as a backup. Know the location of local fish markets if your crews are expecting a fish dinner! {239-267-9312}

  • roger

    How far out do you need to go to get out of red tide

  • erich

    Coming down next friday to see family. In englewood hows the beach fishing. As i can not tow boat

    • FLSportsman

      From Captain Ron: The surf fishing bite can be very good ,especially around the passes. There have been reports of pompano, Spanish mackerel and snook and flounder. Shrimp, skimmer jigs and scented plastics are all taking a share. If you're a shore bound angler don't overlook the canals and docks. Be a "see-gull" and checkout the successful locals patterns. Good luck, send me a picture of your catch.

  • BDC

    What kind of cichlids are available around south west florida?

    • FLSportsman

      BDC – From Capt. Ron: There are a number of cichlids in south and Southwest Florida. The Oscars are the prevalent species here but are often misidentified as since their nomenclature is used as a general term, to describe any number of cichlid type fish.

      There are Mayan cichlids with generally variegated yellow gray or orange scales with bared gray of blue vertical markings. Firemouth cichlids have a very distinct bright red orange throat.

      Oscars are the largest of what are considered cichlids found in our areas. They tend to be brown orange with dark brown black irregular vertical bars with an orange under belly. Oscars also have an ocellus (eye spot) or large black dots near the tail.

      Peacock bass , the largest of the cichlids in Florida, can occasional be found in the Everglades canals. Sadly after several severe winters the peacock bass have all but disappear from our region in any numbers. Peacock are however plentiful in the southeast coast canal systems. There is one cichlid native to the US and tha’s the Texas Cichlid or Rio Grande Cichlid, leave to “Tejas” to have a special critter.

      Tilapia is a generic name given to a whole batch of cichlid variants and are commercially farm raised here and in many subtropical environments. We’ve even caught ‘em up inthe Imperial, Estero, Caloosahatchee and Myakka when bass fishing.

  • Kyle

    Im coming down this weekend. hows the red bite in lemon bay? im going to be staying right by stump pass and we usually toss pinfish under mangroves or in holes depending on the tide. i was just wondering if that is still working or not?

  • John Madden

    I’ll be staying on the south end of Gasparilla Island, next week. I’ll get in the back bay, but We’ll fish it from shore some too……what’s your best guess for shore fishing ideas……

  • Richard Raborn MD

    Two nice reds yesterday North end of Bokeelia

  • snookman219

    im heading to sanibel this weekend to do some wading what bait should i use

  • CaptJ

    Heading out the boca inlet in the morning. What’s biting?

  • Scott

    I’m a noob. What’s “the pizza delivery zone” and the 5 min rule?

    • FLSportsman

      Scott, from Capt. Ron:

      “Pizza Delivery Zone”: An area where there is moving water along mangrove edges, points, creek mouths, oyster bars, docks, dead fall, subtle dropoff edges on grass flats, bottle necks and wind eddies. These zones will carry forage for bait animals and in turn prime forage zones for predators, i.e. “pizza delivery zones” as my buddies and I refer to them. You can identify these areas by looking for flotsam, mangrove leaves, twigs and such or by the subtle tidal or wind driven ripples.

      The “Five Minute Rule”: The five minute rule is simply a reminder to keep searching for moving water and actively feeding fish. It is not an ironclad inflexible rule, only a suggestion. If you’ve executed a thorough search pattern and have poor results move along. Tides, seasonal trends in weather, wind direction, water temps and clarity will alter the application of the five minute rule.

      Usually on the shallow flats where my crews and I fish, in 2 to 4 feet. of water or less, five or ten minute will reveal if there’s an active bite. If your crews like to chum, you may want to hang around a spot that you’re familiar with. With the bait patterns we generally use and with crews of 2 to 4 anglers, we do a lot of “stickin and pickin”. In other words putting down the power pole and working a spot for five minutes or so. We don’t work a drift fishing pattern a whole lot different; give an area a shot and move along if results are poor. I used to bring an egg timer on my boat , kind of a joke just to keep us awake, time flies when you’re on the water, hopefully having fun.

  • Ghost

    Why don’t you write your report without all the slang. Hard to understand for the everyday fisherman. Tx for the reports though.

  • Eric

    The way you write is stupid, you are writing a report not a kids book.

  • dtobias

    Thanks for the reports Captain….always appreciate your input. I would tell someone that if they don’t like the way you write your reports, simply don’t read them. Go find out for yourself. ‘nough said. Good luck and catch ‘em up folks.

  • Brian C

    I feel offshore gets left behind in these reports….It can’t have been too nasty out, I made out in my 20ft boat twice (20+ miles)

  • bryan

    What are the close marks you keep talking about?

  • LJ

    I have to agree a bit on the terminology you use. You act like your readers are 5 yr olds.

  • Bob

    New to the area. Have been fishing Estero Bay and near marks. Don’t hear much about trolling these areas. Any info on how, or where?
    I’m familiar with Chesapeak Bay and SE Alaska (previous life) and fishing (trolling) with bucktails, spoons and rigged hering. Havn’t had much luck here with those.

  • Darcy Heron

    Whats your take on the bait situation. Im hearing alot of people saying that bait (threads, pins and white) is really hard right now, and has been for a while.