About this time of year, it’s not unusual to find yourself fishing some typical summer patterns while also looking at some new opportunities. For all practical purposes, even though we feel like fall is on the way; it’s still summer. Just like last month, tarpon are still holding in and around the deeper holes of the upper harbor as well as the bridges. Early in the morning, looking for rolling fish is a great way to begin any day. And, even though a live threadfin works great; this is the time to throw a deep running D.O.A. Bait buster.
For new opportunities, even though the heat still makes it feel like summer to us, fish are generally ahead of the curve and snook should enter a transition phase as summer winds down. As their spawning season comes to a close, they’ll begin making their way away from the beaches, passes, and deeper cuts and move towards the rivers and backcountry creek systems. They’ll also need to put on weight after spawning.
Out of Punta Gorda, shorelines bordering the harbor in close proximity to creek systems are worth exploring. On the west side, the west wall, an eight-mile long shoreline that runs from Cape Haze Point to the Myakka River has lots of potential. On the east side, the stretch from Ponce Park to Pirate Harbor, a labyrinth of small islands, can fish well. Out of Placida at the base of the Boca Grande Bridge, outside shorelines from the southern edge of Cayo Pelau down through Bull and Turtle Bay to the southern edge of Cape Haze Point is good real estate.
With this in mind, this has traditionally been a good time to look for redfish. Typically, this and next month provide some of our best redfish fishing of the year. It’s now that the fish begin to school up in preparation for the spawn and some of the larger oversized fish come in from the Gulf. It’s these fish that are fun to run into up on the flats. When in schools, if not spooked, they can be very aggressive as they compete to eat. In general, flats adjacent to the passes are good places to look. Conveniently, from Stump to redfish Pass we have five passes to explore.
However, with all that being said. Throughout last month we were chasing good numbers of juvenile tarpon in the 10 to 25 pound class along the mangrove shorelines on the east side of the harbor. We expect this pattern to continue through September and plan to stay on them as long as they stick around. In addition, the snook and redfish bite has been decent against these mangroves.