Byron Stout's Fish Finder: May 4

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  • Byron Stout's Fish Finder: Oct. 12

    Byron Stout's Fish Finder: Oct. 12

    Friday, October 12 2018 8:18 AM EDT2018-10-12 12:18:30 GMT
    Travis Harrison's 24-inch bass took the big fish category in last Friday evening's inaugural Birdies and Bass Tournament at Eastwood Golf Course.Travis Harrison's 24-inch bass took the big fish category in last Friday evening's inaugural Birdies and Bass Tournament at Eastwood Golf Course.
    Travis Harrison's 24-inch bass took the big fish category in last Friday evening's inaugural Birdies and Bass Tournament at Eastwood Golf Course.Travis Harrison's 24-inch bass took the big fish category in last Friday evening's inaugural Birdies and Bass Tournament at Eastwood Golf Course.
    At least, according to reports, Gulf waters are clearing of red tide and getting back to good old green. Thankfully not blue-green, as in algae, which also is clearing from Caloosahatchee canals.More >>
    At least, according to reports, Gulf waters are clearing of red tide and getting back to good old green. Thankfully not blue-green, as in algae, which also is clearing from Caloosahatchee canals.More >>
  • Byron Stout's Fish Finder: Oct. 5

    Byron Stout's Fish Finder: Oct. 5

    Monday, October 8 2018 12:16 PM EDT2018-10-08 16:16:13 GMT
    James Stout and Jonah Kluch tag-teamed this 11-foot Lake Trafford gator, starting with 30-pound spinning gear, and adding a 65-pound outfit by snatch-hooking the beast Saturday morning.James Stout and Jonah Kluch tag-teamed this 11-foot Lake Trafford gator, starting with 30-pound spinning gear, and adding a 65-pound outfit by snatch-hooking the beast Saturday morning.
    James Stout and Jonah Kluch tag-teamed this 11-foot Lake Trafford gator, starting with 30-pound spinning gear, and adding a 65-pound outfit by snatch-hooking the beast Saturday morning.James Stout and Jonah Kluch tag-teamed this 11-foot Lake Trafford gator, starting with 30-pound spinning gear, and adding a 65-pound outfit by snatch-hooking the beast Saturday morning.
    The good news is state biologists are reporting some improvement in red tide conditions along the southwest coast. The bad news is, that's only relative.More >>
    The good news is state biologists are reporting some improvement in red tide conditions along the southwest coast. The bad news is, that's only relative.

    More >>
  • Byron Stout's Fish Finder: Sept. 28

    Byron Stout's Fish Finder: Sept. 28

    Friday, September 28 2018 5:54 AM EDT2018-09-28 09:54:33 GMT
    FGCU Student Mackenzie Hammett caught her nice red in the Hell Peckney Bay area of Estero Bay, while fishing with Estero River pro-staffer Conner Thompson.FGCU Student Mackenzie Hammett caught her nice red in the Hell Peckney Bay area of Estero Bay, while fishing with Estero River pro-staffer Conner Thompson.
    FGCU Student Mackenzie Hammett caught her nice red in the Hell Peckney Bay area of Estero Bay, while fishing with Estero River pro-staffer Conner Thompson.FGCU Student Mackenzie Hammett caught her nice red in the Hell Peckney Bay area of Estero Bay, while fishing with Estero River pro-staffer Conner Thompson.
    Yet another plague -- apparently anoxic conditions in nearshore waters -- is killing even crabs in huge numbers along Bonita and Barefoot beaches in south Lee County.More >>
    Yet another plague -- apparently anoxic conditions in nearshore waters -- is killing even crabs in huge numbers along Bonita and Barefoot beaches in south Lee County.More >>

The gumment giveth, and the gumment taketh away.

Snook season closed Tuesday. But the season for greater amberjack opened on May 1, for one month only, and AJ reports are good.

Send your fishing pics to Byron!

The catch-and-release season for snook, from May through August in Southwest Florida, actually is the best time to catch a trophy, or a bunch of "fun fish."

Tripletail are reported biting in nearshore and inside waters.

Spotted seatrout are good options in the bays, and some folks are finding redfish.

Lake Okeechobee bass and bluegill are biting, and bluegills also have been biting in Lake Trafford, for anglers with boats small enough to launch in low water conditions.

OFFSHORE: Bob Brooks sent in a picture of his son, Joe, with a dandy AJ caught on a live cigar minnow (round scad) in only 40 feet of water Monday off Sanibel. That's the same depth as the Edison Reef complex off Sanibel.

Offshore Hunter captains Chris and Veiko Kreis reported live-chumming amberjacks to the surface in 110 feet of water (the depth of the Fantastico wreck off Captiva Island), where they caught and released several in the 40-pound range. They also freelined thread herrings on 2/0 circle hooks for a dozen mixed mangrove and yellowtail snappers, and caught an estimated 250 pound bull shark on a handline last Friday.

Vito Mirra sent in a picture of himself with a nice tripletail caught under a Sanibel crab trap buoy with H2O Adventures Capt. Ant Fantauzzo.

Jim Tottser was drifting in 65 feet of water, 30 miles off Big Carlos Pass last Friday when a school of schoolie mahi (dolphin) showed up, and four were landed before they moved elsewhere.

Ken Taylor of West Marine in Fort Myers rigged a new boat road for vacationer Nick Free, who promptly caught and released a goliath grouper off Sanibel on a 2/0 circle hook.

Ron Musick, Eddie Alfonso and friends Michael, Lou and Bill caught a cooler full of snappers including 40 lanes, 15 vermilions, five yellowtails and one mang, plus a half-dozen grunts. They also released 30-plus short red grouper, and Eddie battled an 8-foot sandbar shark on their Fishbuster Charter, 35 miles west of New Pass last Thursday with Capt. Dave Hanson.

Monday's King Fisher trip to 65 feet of water out of Boca Grande Pass was good for "a pile of lane snapper," and a few vermilions that took cut baits on the bottom, plus three king mackerel from 5 to 10 pounds that hit freelined live baits.

SNOOK, REDS, TROUT: North Fort Myers angler Paul Thompson scored a 30-inch keeper snook while casting a Vudu Mullet at Fourmile Cove on the Caloosahatchee River Saturday.

Lehr's Economy Tackle in North Fort Myers also sent in a picture of Mark Brennan with a 27-inch redfish caught on a Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Twitchbait. He also caught two reds without spots, plus "a handful" of small snook Sunday at Matlacha.

St. James City Capt. George "Artificials Only" Grosselfinger and his client finished the season with 20 snook to 31 inches, many of which were caught on a handmade topwater plug along middle to lower Pine Island Sound shorelines.

Michael Hornung sent in his picture with a 27-inch red he caught while casting a Rapala plug behind his Coconut Creek home in south Fort Myers.

David Stout of Crestview and his brother, Byron, used live sardines to catch 10 snook including keepers of 28 and 29 inches Saturday around a mid-Pine Island Sound oyster bar.

Get Hooked Charters Capt. Matt DeAngelis reports tough fishing in red-tide-plagued Estero Bay, where charter clients caught a few juvenile snook and undersize trout on live shrimp freelined along the bay's East Wall.

Norm Zeigler's Fly, Bait & Tackle on Sanibel reports snook showing up in spotty numbers along the island's beaches.

MIXED BAGS:  Fly fisher Pete Squibb has been catching lots of pompano and trout along Sanibel's west end shorelines, but sight fishing has been difficult due to heavy mats of red drift algae. Zeigler's also reports tarpon biting natural baits in Pine Island Sound off Foster's Point, where strong winds have been problematic for fly fishing.

Mike Tompkins of North Fort Myers used whitebaits (live scaled sardines) in mid-Pine Island Sound Saturday to catch six tripletail, snook, redfish and trout to 4 pounds on his Flat Top Charter with Capt. Mark Westra.

King Fisher bay boats out of Fishermen's Village in North Fort Myers have been using live shrimp to catch trout scattered down Charlotte Harbor's eastern flats, and Spanish mackerel in deeper waters outside the bar, where they've also caught some while casting spoons.

FRESH WATER

LAKE TRAFFORD: Tony Louden caught 44 bluegill and one crappie last Friday, drifting deeper mid-depths in the Immokalee Lake. Lake Trafford Marina cautions boaters that extremely low water makes launching boats at the Ann Olesky Park public ramp an iffy proposition, and there is little to catch from the park shoreline.

LAKE OKEECHOBEE: Koby Kreigler of Roland Martin's Marine Center in Clewiston reports good bass action around the Big O, particularly in the Monkey Box and Harney Pond Canal areas, as well as Grassy Island and Tin House Cove to the north. The hot bait of late has been Spro's Bronzeye Popping Frog.

Bluegills are bedding and the fishing has been good around Ritta Island and in the Bay Bottom area off Belle Glade, as well as off Uncle Joe's (Mayaca) Cut, when winds aren't hard out of the east. Anglers also continue to travel down U.S. 27 to Everglades canals, where cichlids including oscars have been biting by the hundreds.

HOT SPOTS

No. 1: Eastern Charlotte Harbor for mackerel outside the bar, trout on the flats.

No. 2: Pine Island Sound for snook along the shorelines, trout on the flats.

No. 3: Foster's Point for tarpon on large cut baits.

No. 4: Matlacha for redfish.

No. 5: Sanibel shorelines for pompano and trout.

No. 6: Offshore for lane snapper on the bottom, amberjack on deep wrecks.

No. 7: Bluegills on Lake Trafford (in shallow draft boats, only).

LAKE OKEECHOBEE

No. 1: Grassy Island, Tin House Cove, Harney Pond Canal area and the Monkey Box for bass.

No. 2: Uncle Joe's Cut for bluegill.

No. 3: Ritta Island and Bay Bottom for bluegill.

No. 4: Everglades canals for oscars and more.

PIC OF THE WEEK

Joe Brooks' big amberjack was caught in only 40 feet of water off Sanibel, and others have been reported on deeper offshore wrecks.

FISH TIP:

Vito Mirra sent in his picture with a nice tripletail spotted under a stone crab trap buoy off Sanibel. But anglers have only until the stone crab season closes, on May 16, before the trap lines disappear until fall. Until then, triple tail will best be targeted in the area's large outer bays, like Pine Island Sound, where North Fort Myers angler Mike Tompkins caught this one and five others with Flat Top Charter Capt. Mark Westra. Tripletail are extremely structure-oriented, so running from one channel marker to the next is the easy way to find them in inshore waters. They're not always finning on the surface in the bays, but blind-dropping a live shrimp, pinfish or other baitfish down the marker can pay off with tasty tripletail and other species including mangrove snapper. Florida recently increased the minimum size for tripletail from 15 to 18 inches, effective July. 1. The bag limit remains at two.


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