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 25-27


There’s been good action, if you could dodge the thunderstorms. Crews found hungry grouper, snappers and others from 5-to 20-plus-miles out. There’s good bait to be found on the beaches and scads of threads on the close reefs, easy sabiki stuff. My crews caught palm-sized pinfish and squirrelfish on the reefs. We hooked smaller grouper, goliaths and Spanish on our cobia hunts, no cobia though. There are oversized redfish and lunker snook on some of the close reefs. Tarpon are on the northern of our region from Knapp’s Point to Redfish Pass and further north. There’s plenty of action, just watch out for the lightening!


Bonefish caught on Capt. Brad Brown's Moonlite Charters in Estero Bay, FL.

Plenty of reds all along the region! Pins, whitebait and live shrimp were the top picks for live baits with frozen shrimp and Spanish sardines close seconds. My crews had mini slams in both Estero Bay and Pine Island Sound. The slot reds were the highlight of the trips. We caught snook but we really weren’t targeting them. Other snook hunters battled some bruisers in the Cape Canals, Peace River and so on, good stuff!

Weirdness of the week: Guys caught some BONEFISH in Big Carlos Pass and Hickory Pass off Estero. CLIMATE CHANGE, FISH FROM MARS! Your guess is as good as mine. {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.