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Southwest Florida Forecast

Southwest Florida Forecast
Southwest Florida Forecast
  • Capt. Greg Stamper of Snook Stamp Charters talks fishing from Sarasota to Bonita Beach, including Siesta Key, Englewood, Boca Grande, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Pine Island, Cape Coral, Captiva, Sanibel and Fort Myers. Contact Info: Capt. Greg Stamper; Snook Stamp Charters, Bonita Springs; 239-313-1764; www.snookstampcharters.com

Action Spotter Podcast


July 12-14 Report

Southwest Florida received a blast of Saharan dust this week. This Saharan dust layers the air almost like smog. When we get this anomaly, it can often last for a week or two. The weather patterns during this time are affected by this. Less rain generally will be in the forecast, but humidity and hot days will still be common. This dust, when present in high levels, acts like a blanket holding in heat. So, fishing early in the morning, or at night is the way to go. Combine the dust scenario with slacking tides that occurred late mornings and midday, and fishing during the cool hours will give anglers their best chance.

large red drum fish
Photo courtesy of Capt. Greg Stamper

Those who fished during the night did very well this week. Most anglers use local bridges, weirs and shorelines as the starting point. Tarpon, snook, sharks and redfish have been the primary targets. Those who fished with artificial lures did best. Throwing swim baits, large swim jigs, and in some cases topwater caught a lot of fish. Some anglers used live ladyfish dangled near pilings to entice tarpon and big snook to eat. When fishing the bridges and shorelines it is best to fish for them an hour before and after the slacking tide. This timeframe will have current, but not so strong to make fishing in the area tough. If you are fishing the levies and weirs current is your friend. The weir fishing is best after the rains when water is flowing over at a good pace.

Offshore fishing continues to be a go when the weather cooperates. Those that got out did well on the normal targets. Mangrove snapper and mutton snapper fishing was best at night. If you plan on fishing for these 3-7-pound mangrove snappers or 10-pound plus muttons it is best to anchor up on your spot as the sun is setting. Once you are set up try chumming for an hour or two using both boxed chum and a constant flow of sardine and threadfin chunks. After an hour or so of darkness, the fish will rise into the chum slick and be fired up. Once you see the fish rising, a freelined or slightly weighted piece of the chunks will get you to a limit quickly.

Capt. Greg Stamper
Snook Stamp Charters
Bonita Springs
239-313-1764
www.snookstampcharters.com


PREVIOUS REPORTS

July 5-7 Report

redfish
Photo courtesy of Capt. Greg Stamper

Another good week of fishing has gone by, but things are beginning to change. The outgoing tides that we have been fishing during the early morning hours have now turned into incomings. This shift in tidal influence made things a bit tougher the last few days. Undoubtedy the shift in tides with the continuance of heavy rains had things off kilter a bit. Similar stories of the fishing patterns being a bit off also came from the near shore and offshore guides.

The biggest difference in the back bays was the lack of redfish and snook catches. During the outgoing tides we did very well with many upper- and over-slot redfish being caught often. During these same outgoing tides, snook fishing was very good near our passes and along the beaches. Once we transitioned into the incoming tidal days, all that stopped. To be fair, we did receive a high-pressure system that probably hurt the bite a little. The heavy rains also continue to keep the waters near our river mouths and creeks very fresh. Some areas had enough freshwater in them to support some cichlids, tilapia and gar that must have pushed out of the rivers themselves. Another downfall of having so much freshwater was it was tough to keep pilchards, threadfin herring and shrimp alive in our livewells for any amount of time.

The nearshore fishing for permit and large tarpon was also good on the outgoing tides. Most of the good reports came from late last week through the weekend. Once the water started to come in early in the mornings about mid-week, things got tough. These same reports echoed the nearshore wrecks and reefs. As this high-pressure system moves out, we will see things get back to normal.

The offshore trips continue to be far runs. The lions share of trips have been heading out for their red snapper limits. Most of the good red snapper fishing starts in about 120 feet of water or more. The best reports came from those that fished in 150 feet of water or more, so 60 miles plus. African pompano, wahoo, mahi, and an assortment of mangrove snappers, vermillion, and lane snappers were the bycatch.

Capt. Greg Stamper
Snook Stamp Charters
Bonita Springs
239-313-1764
www.snookstampcharters.com


June 21 Report

tarpon at boat
Tarpon

Our inshore waters have been most affected by last week’s torrential down pours. The drainage of the inland waters does take a while, as runoff makes its way from the inland areas to the waterways themselves. This massive drainage of some 16-inches of rain over the last week has turned some area waters very fresh. The low salinity drives many fish out of smaller bays towards the passes and out. With so much water coming out of areas often the tide lines that typically bring water back into our bays from the Gulf never make it that far in. We probably will have another week of this before things go back to standard.

One effect of so much water being pushed out is many of the river and creek species are now in the bays. These fish are used to brackish or even fresh water and are now able to manage just fine in our back country. Some odd sightings of tilapia, cichlids, and even gar have been found in areas that are typically too salty for them. Juvenile tarpon up to 30-pounds have also been seen throughout these same areas, undoubtable feasting on small baitfish that came from the freshwater runoff. These freshwater species become easy picking for tarpon as the salinity creeps up. Eventually this freshwater fry will either make its way back up the rivers and creeks or become fish food.

Recommended


The winds been blowing good all week making offshore fishing tough. Very few are getting out past 20 miles or so as once you get out a few miles with the strong East winds, it starts getting rough. The hard easterly winds do allow some nearshore fishing. The land acts as a wind buffer, so the waters are calm on the beach and progressively get rougher each mile you head out. Some large tarpon can be caught in these areas, as well as bottom dwellers on the nearshore reefs, rock piles, and wrecks.

Capt. Greg Stamper
Snook Stamp Charters
Bonita Springs
239-313-1764
www.snookstampcharters.com


June 14 Report

snook
Capt. Greg Stamper photo

It has been a long time since we have seen a rain gauge overflow in a 24-hour period. Southwest Florida went from drought conditions straight into local flood advisories overnight. Some of the rain has been gentle for hours on end followed up with torrential downpours, as a tropical wave soaked us for four days straight. Whenever we get rain, fishing does continue if there is no lightning in the mix. Many anglers this week took advantage of the lighter rain timeframes to fish at many of our local spillways, locks and levees. Inshore fishing was doable on three days, as well offshore and nearshore.

Before the rains began, we had some excellent reports from offshore. American red snapper season has begun, and everyone that went out far to get them. The key to catching big red snappers was starting in at least 150 feet of water. Those fishing out this far also ran into nice African pompano, mahi and wahoo. One wahoo caught this week came in at 92 pounds. When boats did not get out past 40 miles, mangrove snappers, lane snappers, porgies and lots of grunts took up most of their time.

The nearshore bite was very good pre-monsoon. Permit fishing was the best it has been so far from this year. Lots of permit have been caught in the 10-to-25-pound class, with a few permit over 30 pounds in the mix. The same structures that held permit also had cobia, mackerel and snook on them. Those that continue to fish for tarpon are doing well. Tarpon fishing especially off Cayo Costa and Captiva on both the gulf and bay sides was good. The best tarpon baits this week was using a live crab. This totally made sense as we had predominantly outgoing tides to fish on the good days.

Inshore fishing continued to be easy for catching back-country slams. Snook are actively feeding along our beaches these days. Generally, if you find bait schools on the beach, then there are snook around. Redfish are active on the good moving water along the mangrove shorelines. Fishing for redfish has been best on the higher tides. Trout continue to be on all the grass flats in as shallow as a foot of water up to about four feet.

Capt. Greg Stamper
Snook Stamp Charters
Bonita Springs
239-313-1764
www.snookstampcharters.com


June 7 Report

redfish
Photo by Capt. Greg Stamper

The rain has begun, and with it we are officially into our summer. Moving forward we can expect a consistent forecast for months to come. The afternoon rains are a blessing, helping to cool things off a bit. With the rain our rivers, creeks, culverts, and drainage ditches feed critters into the bays. Along with a new place to find food, some fish push out of these areas into our bays. These fish will call the bays and river mouths homes for many months to come. Anglers will notice more schools of white bait and finger mullet in our shallow waters, as they reap the benefits of the new nutrient filled run off water.

The insurgents of bait moving in from the beaches and nearshore waters is a blessing to predators. Often juvenile tarpon, snook, jacks, and redfish will be the happiest of recipients. From this point forward when you find bait in areas throughout the bays, the big fish will not be far behind. Just like before the rains began, it will still be hot out. Temperatures will be in the upper 90’s, with feels like temperatures in the mid 100’s. Fishing early in the mornings or in the evenings will continue to be your best bet.

The offshore runs for American red snapper have begun. These trips start at about 50 miles offshore or at least in 130-feet of depth. Typically, American reds are easily found once out that far on the wrecks and any significant ledge or depth change. Baiting up with squid, pinfish, or sardines is all one needs to be successful. Those that do not go out that far to reach their two limits on Ars’ may choose to start in about 90 feet of water. There anglers can catch plenty of mangrove snappers, lane snappers, and with a flat line out a possible king fish.

Nearshore fishing continues to be good. There are lots of tarpon available, for those who do want them. Tarpon schools continue to be up and down our coastal beaches as well as sightings out to around 40 feet of water. Your best chance of catching a tarpon will be just off the beaches from Cayo Costa to Captiva just of the beaches. If you have side scan imaging on your GPS unit, they will be easier to find if they are not rolling on the surface much. Permit, cobia, mackerel, as well as small snappers continue to be other options for the nearshore guys.

Capt. Greg Stamper
Snook Stamp Charters
Bonita Springs
239-313-1764
www.snookstampcharters.com


May 30 Report

kid with sea trout
Trout fishing in the region continues to be very good.

We are getting closer to our afternoon thunderstorms becoming a daily occurrence. We need rain not only for better fishing, but to cool things off midday. It continues to be very hot, and based on weather predictions for the next week this trend will continue. Until these afternoon thunderstorms become a consistent part of our day, fishing early or at night is the way to go. Those that followed this pattern all week did well, especially during the night and first light timeframes.

The snook have begun their beach life and can be reliable for many months to come. Those that plan to walk the beaches in search of snook, will do best on easterly winds. The low wind mornings give anglers a good chance of sight fishing the snook harassing the schools of pilchards, threadfin, and finger mullet. Mimicking the baitfish you see with swim baits, flies, or even hard baits will work well. Those throwing artificials parallel to the shorelines, will often do better than the live bait guys.

Redfish continue to be active before the sun gets up to high. Redfish have also been seen around our local passes when the water is moving well. The beach redfish are feasting on the same baitfish as the snook and seem to move from the bays to the beach based on how much bait is available. Those fishing for redfish in the shallow waters had a good bite on the higher water morning tides, with less action after 11 am.

Trout fishing continues to be easy. We have a good trout fishery as of now. The impact of our red tide event of 5 years ago has finally dissipated. Trout are consistent in 2-4-feet of water on practically every grass flat from Boca Grande down. If you want action for kids, or just those that need it, then pull out a popping corks with a shrimp on it and have fun. Most of the trout will range from 12-20 inches, and you can literally catch as many as you want for hours at a time.

Nearshore fishing continues to be good for tarpon, permit, cobia, and snappers. Those fishing off our beaches from 1-5-miles will see the tarpon rolling, free jumping, and tail slapping periodically. Crabs, live threadfin herring, as well as cut baits will work. If you find yourself around and of the local wrecks, rockpiles, or reefs then expect your quarry to be a mix of snappers, mackerel, some pompano and trout.

Capt. Greg Stamper
Snook Stamp Charters
Bonita Springs
239-313-1764
www.snookstampcharters.com


May 24 Report

Summer heat is setting in as afternoon temperatures reach a “feels like” of 105. This pattern will continue until we start to receive our afternoon thunderstorms that cool things off. These predictable storms should start up in about 3 weeks, and we need rain. Those that fished during the morning hours, or at night this week did well. We have water temperatures reaching the high 80s’ now, combine that with the heat of the day and that’s why those fishing when it is cool are doing best.

The local bridges during the evening hours were great. The best fishing seems to be from midnight till sunup. Tarpons are the number one target around these bridges, with snook being a close second. Anglers have been throwing swim jigs along the shadow lines and are getting great results. Another option is to catch a live ladyfish, that are there, and put that right back out on a 10/o hook.

During the morning hours of the first light, the back bay fishing was good. The redfish bite continues to be top notch with lots of upper slot fish being caught. Snook fishing has finally gotten predictable. Snook are feasting on white bait schools along our beaches as they fatten up for the spawn. Snook can be found cruising our local shorelines along Sanibel and Captiva in good numbers. Often the schools of male snook can have 20-40 fish in a group. These fish are competitive and will eat. As you walk the beaches catching these 14-24-inch males, hopefully you will run into a big female and join the 40-inch club. Trout, pompano, some small permit, and jacks will be your bycatch.

The offshore fishing was all about snappers this week. A lot of mangrove snappers came into the fillet stations all week in the 2-4-pound class. Vermillion snappers, mutton snappers, as well as a few dog tooth also met the fillet stations. Only one report of wahoo, tuna, and sailfish came my way this week, but that is most likely good fishing as well. Should you be after those pelagic, then start in about 150 feet or more of depth.

Capt. Greg Stamper
Snook Stamp Charters
Bonita Springs
239-313-1764
www.snookstampcharters.com


May 16 Report

snook fishing
Photo by Capt. Greg Stamper

The bite slowed down a bit this week inshore, mainly due to slow morning tides. During the same slow moving tidal stages, near shore followed suit. This is typical this time of the year as we move through 4-6 good am tides, into some crappy ones. This coming week things move back into the fisherman’s favor, and likewise fishing will be good again.

Starting of with the back bays on times when water was moving well, fish were caught. We had a very good redfish bite for short periods before slacking tides. Redfish up to 37-inches have been caught by many. Live pilchards, shrimp, as well as artificial baits worked around the mangrove shorelines worked well. There has also been a lot of snook in play. Most of the snook range from 16-25-inches, but several big fish have been caught.

Many of the snook are being found near the passes, as they patrol the beaches that are full of bait. Trout fishing continues to be good in 2-3-feet of water. Most of the big tarpon seen recently in the back bays have moved into the passes and off the beaches. Certainly, both tarpon and snook are in the beginning stages of their spawn.

The permit fishing along with cobia on the beaches is good. Again, moving water affects these fish like those in the bays. Live crabs worked best for the permit ranging from 8-20-pounds. The cobia is kind of a surprise for many fishing the wrecks. Often cobia just shows up on the surface for a few minutes then moves back down to the structure. Mangrove nappers, triggerfish, trout, pompano, and even lane snappers have been the bycatch when using shrimp.

The offshore bite was doable three days this week. Those that went out mainly fished for bottom species of mutton snappers, lane snappers, as well as red grouper. There were a few African pompano caught while fishing for the bottom fish along with Ajs’, grunts, and an occasional vermillion snapper. No reports off wahoo, sailfish, or tuna came in this week.

Capt. Greg Stamper
Snook Stamp Charters
Bonita Springs
239-313-1764
www.snookstampcharters.com


May 10 Report

boy holds spotted seatrout
There are plenty of redfish, trout and snook to be had in the back bay. (Photo courtesy of Capt. Greg Stamper)

The continuation of great weather has kept the bite going. We have had some great days to be fishing this week, and there is no end in site. The occasional threat of weak cold fronts making their way into Southwest Florida is about the only game changer. Until these fronts no longer make their way into Florida, fishing patterns will stay the same. The Summer rains have not yet begun. The prequel of these afternoon thunderstorms is the midday sea breeze. These sea breezes give us a wind shift coming from the west, and in about another month will supply the energy needed for the thunderstorms to develop regularly.

The back bay fishing continues to be excellent. There were a lot of redfish, snook, and trout available. The ironic part as far as the trout are concerned is a surprising number of upper and over slot fish caught all week. Redfish continue to be found in good numbers, especially along the shady mangrove shorelines both early morning and a few hours before sunset. The snook are now being seen cruising along the shorelines in what appears to be the beginning of their first spawn.

Of course we must talk about tarpon fishing. The tarpon bite has been on fire all week. Some days especially after the sea breeze had begun, Pine Island sound was the place to be. If you’re not sure where to fish for them in Pine Island sound just look for the forty boats all parked near each other. Live crabs, ladyfish, and threadfin herring are your best baits. Those fishing the nearshore waters from the beaches out to 40-feet of water have also done well on the east winds. A good day of tarpon fishing currently will be jumping 8-10 fish and hopefully getting a leader touch on a few.

The offshore bite has been status quo. Those fishing inside of 100-feet are hammering mangrove and lane snappers daily. Trigger fish, kingfish, ajs’ as well as cobia are also being found in the bycatch. When anglers take the long runs, some 60-miles plus, African pompano, mahi, sailfish, as well as wahoo have been reported both trolling and freelining while bottom fishing for big grouper.

April 5 Report

fs-stamper-kidredfish
Fishing for red drum continues to be very good. (Photo by Capt. Greg Stamper)

It has been an interesting week. We had Mother Nature deliver two cool fronts to Southwest Florida. Although the temperatures did not have huge swings, the wind associated with them was strong. Strong winds over shallow water stirs up the bottom, making the water muddy. The result was one or two days of tough fishing, followed up with the bite getting back to the status quo.

The redfish bite continues to be very good. On the days when the water was its worst, fishing with cutbaits or shrimp on jigs worked well. Even on the days after the high winds, redfish, trout and snook were caught. It will take a few more days of strong tides to clean up the water, then fishing should be great. The surprise this week was catching small mutton snappers in the back bays. Although these fish are small, it is very cool to see a species you do not expect to catch. A few reports of bluefish also being caught this week. Shows you never know what may show up.

The nearshore fishing for tarpon gets to a halt when the winds are blowing hard. There are tarpon off our beaches as well as in the bays, but fishing in 30-mph gusts is not fun. On the days when the winds were lower, tarpon were caught even in the muddy water. Those who have side-scan on their GPS units can find them. The next week looks like we will have some great weather and low winds, so finding the silver kings will be much easier. Reports of tarpon schooling up near the Caloosahatchee River and Sanibel causeway areas came in often. The best tarpon reports came from those fishing from Captiva and Cayo Costa.

Offshore fishing only doubled twice this week. The boats that did get out started fishing in 130 feet of water and did well. African pompano seemed to be fired up this week and whole squid dropped on large jigs worked well. Snapper fishing was good as it has been for a while. Most of the snappers ranged from 1 to 4 pounds and were a mix of mangrove, lane and mutton. Groupers were caught when large live baits like grunts or pinfish were used in the same areas that the snapper was in.


March 29 Report

fish jumping out of water
Leaping tarpon. (Photo by Capt. Greg Stamper)

We continue to keep getting the little tail ends of cold fronts. These fronts drop our temperatures a little, but things warm up just as quick. The main issue with these fronts is wind. Wind mucks up the shallow-water areas making sight fishing impossible. The good part is most of the week fishing was good.

The back bay fishing for tarpon, redfish, snook and trout was good all but two days. On the good days, we were able to catch grand slams of tarpon, snook, redfish and trout. Shrimp has worked best for the redfish on simple jigs. Our snook are eating pilchards and are beginning to get bigger. Trout continue to be found in roughly three feet of water anywhere there are grass flats. The tarpon can be found along our beaches on calm days. If it is rough in the Gulf, try fishing in Pine Island sound where you can get some wind block.

Nearshore fishing will continue to be a tarpon thing for several months to come. Those who are fishing the reefs will do well on snappers, grunts, sheepshead, trout, mackerel and the occasional hogfish. Most anglers who fished the reefs use shrimp, but if you can use live white baits as well in the same areas, you may expand your species. Permit continues to be caught on the wrecks using both shrimp and crabs. Reports of large hammerheads and bull sharks moving into these same areas happened often. These big sharks follow the tarpon around but are more than willing to eat a permit.

The offshore fishing happened a few days this week. Most anglers did not go out very far. Most fished around the 40 mile out mark and caught snappers, a few porgies and small grouper. Those who trolled in the same areas had plenty of kingfish to play with, but nothing else but a few barracudas.


March 22 Report

red fish
Red fishing continues to be good.

It has been an interesting week of fishing. The north and east winds late in the week hurt the good tide days. Winds moving in from these directions will hold water out of the bay, making tides lower than expected. This effect of holding water out also allows for dirty water to develop in the shallows. Regardless of the challenges we did manage some decent fishing. Water temperatures did fluctuate a bit, but not enough to shut things down. Before this last cold front water temperatures steadied out in the low 70’s by midday.

Tarpon fishing continues to be a big target for many anglers. Tarpon have been active and are being caught daily. Schools of fish are now being seen along our beaches and around our passes in good numbers. An assortment of baits ranging from cut baits to live crabs have worked all week. Most of these tarpon range 80-to-120 pounds so set up your tackle appropriately. Red fishing continues to be good. We did have a few days on the northern winds where the bite did not happen until nearly the end of the high tides, but we got them. Snook, small jacks, snappers and even some bluefish became our bycatch.

Nearshore fishing for permit, cobia, kingfish and Spanish mackerel continues. The Spanish mackerel and kingfish can often be seen free jumping as they attack the schools of bait fish. The permit and cobia continue to inhabit the wrecks with higher relief and can be caught using small crabs, shrimp and artificial lures. When fishing the same wrecks and reefs sheepshead, snappers, pompano and spotted seatrout will be your bycatch.

The offshore trips have gone well this week. They had about four good days to go out far, and many anglers did just that. Lots of lane snappers, mangrove snappers, as well as porgies were caught. Those who fished out past the 130 marks did well on red grouper using squid, pinfish and sardines.


March 15

It is tarpon time for those anglers who want to mess with 100-pounders. The big schools of threadfin herring have made their way inshore, bringing the silver kings with them. Fish have been caught in the back bays, along the beaches and in the passes practically every day. Using threadfin herrings, crabs, live mullet and cut baits have all worked. Be sure you come armed with heavy spin rods with plenty of line, as the water temperature is hovering around the mid-70s. When the water is in this temperature range the tarpon are full of piss and vinegar making for some long fights.

fs-stampermarch15
Fishing for red drum continues to improve. (Photo by Greg Stamper)

In the shallow waters of the back bays, we continue to catch a mix of winter fish along with the resurgence of our summer targets. Sheepshead fishing continues to be good but will begin to tapper off. Black drum also are continuing to be found, especially during the outgoing tides. These black drum are looking for crab coming from the shallow flats. If you’re targeting black drum look for them near or in channels where the water is flowing off a large grassy flat. Snook are beginning to show up throughout the bay. There have been a few big snook caught, but most of them are small. Red fishing continues to get better and better. Redfish can be caught from 17 to 30 inches using shrimp, pilchards, flies and jerk baits. Most of the redfish are still a bit silver in color, meaning they just moved into the area. We also have tarpon in the back bays and they are big. The tarpon is targeting the schools of mullet that are filling in as well as ladyfish and trout.

The offshore fishing continues to be good. Our weather has allowed plenty of days to get out far without getting beaten up. Grouper fishing starts getting good in about 120 feet. Those that are fishing in 60-80 feet of water are catching their limits of lane, mangrove and grunts easily. Kingfish as well as cobia are also available and an easy way to end up with one is to always have a flat line out with live bait on it.

Capt. Greg Stamper
Snook Stamp Charters
Bonita Springs
239-313-1764
www.snookstampcharters.com




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