The bite this week continued to be excellent, even with a tiny cold front blowing through. The front was really nothing as it basically gave us a reprieve from the humidity for a day or two. Water temperatures dropped only a few degrees or so in most areas and practically did not change in others. There were a few days were our winds shifted from the West Southwest making offshore and nearshore fishing a bit interesting but overall, it was great.
The back bays take top billing this week, especially for redfish and snook. The amount of 2-3-inch bait throughout the area will certainly continue this trend. Redfish are schooling up from Boca Grande all the way down to the ten thousand islands in big numbers. Try artificial top water early in the morning, or live baits such as pinfish, pilchards, or finger mullet. Those looking for a snook bite did very well with live baits free lined in our passes, or flies that mimicked the baits in the same areas. Pompano, bluefish, mackerel and even black drum are all in play now depending on where you choose to fish.
Nearshore the tarpon bite continues to be good, if anglers keep track of where the big schools of bait are moving, you will have a chance. Anglers that are in the know continue to catch fish between 80 and 140 pounds. Permit fishing is still a good bet from the ten to fifteen-mile range eating free lined crabs that are 2-3 inches. The best part of the nearshore reports is that bonita are showing up full speed, which means tripletail and kingfish will not be far off. Another bonus for those fishing the nearshore wreaks and reefs is the big snook are still hanging out there. Use big thread fin herring on #/o circle hooks and a enough weight to get them down, to have fun with them.
Those that got offshore this week continue to have great success with red groupers in as shallow as 70 feet. The snapper bite for 14-17-inch mangrove snapper continues to be good, on pilchards or threadfin herring in the 2-3-inch range caught along our beaches before heading out. A few reports of blackfin tuna, sailfish, and even a few mahi came in this week for those that got out past 150 feet.
Capt. Greg Stamper