This is one of my favorite months. We are putting summer behind but are still a month or so away from the first front and signs of winter. Cooler water temperatures put fish on the move. Snook, redfish and even pelagic species like bonito and kingfish are entering favorable transition periods. This combined with moderate breezes provides opportunities to get off the beaches as well as inshore flats and shorelines.
Snook, looking to fatten up after the summer spawn and before the slim pickings of winter will begin moving away from open water shorelines towards backcountry river, creek, and canal systems. Later in the month, they should really be on the move. It’s hard to imagine now, but these river and creek systems will provide protection and more stable water temperatures when the fronts and cooler temperatures start pushing through. Here, it’s hard not to put some time in on the west wall. It can see a lot of traffic, but it’s a natural migration path for fish making their way towards the Myakka River.
Across the harbor, the east side on both sides of Alligator Creek can fish well. This area includes an extensive collection of mangrove islands and tidal creeks. Due to the warm water, I’ve been working the outer islands and in particular shorelines facing the open harbor. Now, I’ll begin making my way a couple islands deep anticipating the snook to do the same.
The redfish spawn continues and look for them to be grouped up on open flats. They will move in and out with the tide so keep an eye out around shorelines on higher tides. Any bay or sound could hold fish. More often than not, flats with good flush are a good bet. For this reason, I like flats adjacent to passes.
The public ramp at Placida is relatively close to three gulf passes. Gasparilla, Stump, and Boca Grande. Flats inside and adjacent to the intracoastal around any of these passes are worth a look. To the south out of Pine Island, Captiva and Redfish are adjacent to some of the best turtle grass flats in our area.
Outside the passes, this is a good time to feel the pull of a bonito and get into the backing of a fly rod. Keep an eye out for diving birds as they’re picking at the scraps from the bonito blowing up on bait. It’s a feeding frenzy and you can get close enough to throw just about anything into the mix.
Also, schools of black drum can still be found bouncing back and forth between the U.S. 41 Bridge and the perimeter canals of Punta Gorda. They’ll eat a fly and will also get you into the backing.