March 24, 2023
By Capt. Greg Stamper
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
March 24 - 26
Well, we just got through what will probably be one of the last cold fronts for a while. Typically, we will get one or two cool fronts as we move into April, then the warmups begin. It was a good week overall, as some schools of bait fish moved back into the areas affected by red tide a few weeks ago. Mullet are beginning to school again in the back bays and are plentiful along the beaches. White bait is beginning to show up again near the passes as well as the nearshore rock piles. We are also finding rain bait in the backwater estuaries.
Snook fishing was surprisingly good this week. We caught snook in the rivers using artificial lures. Skip casting around docks and pilings that used to have docks worked well. When we did find white bait, we tossed it along mangrove shorelines. One of the big differences these days post-Ian is that some of the mangrove shorelines are burnt brown in color, leafless and probably dead. Other areas still have leaves, look healthy, and more importantly, have shade. So, find the good-looking mangrove shorelines and start there when you are freelining live baits.
Redfishing was hit or miss all week. Some days we picked up a few on trips, other days none were found. Cut baits did not do much this week when we used them. The best baits were shrimp, pilchards and what seems to be the hardest to find right now, pinfish. Hopefully, the pinfish population will start back up soon. My guess is the pinfish were killed in the red tide episode we just had and it will be a few weeks before we start seeing small ones on the flats again.
Trout, pompano, mackerel as well as black drum have been sparse as of late. Typically in years past, when we start seeing these schools of rain bait they are not far behind. The problem is, it is too early to know if the poor water conditions screwed that pattern up. Mother Nature is strong and these fish will return sooner than later. Now if we get another dose of red tide that sticks around for a few weeks, all bets are off.
Nearshore the tarpon are showing up. There have not been any large number days that I have heard of. Those that are running into tarpon coming from the south will try and keep that to themselves as long as possible. I’m just saying though, the possibility does exist.
Capt. Greg Stamper
Snook Stamp Charters