Byron Stout's Fish Finder: May 11

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  • Byron Stout's Fish Finder: Oct. 19

    Byron Stout's Fish Finder: Oct. 19

    Friday, October 19 2018 5:32 AM EDT2018-10-19 09:32:32 GMT
    Marv Kanne of Chesterfield, Mo., caught this 42-inch snook last Tuesday in Pine Island Sound with Captiva Capt. Ozzie Fischer.Marv Kanne of Chesterfield, Mo., caught this 42-inch snook last Tuesday in Pine Island Sound with Captiva Capt. Ozzie Fischer.
    Marv Kanne of Chesterfield, Mo., caught this 42-inch snook last Tuesday in Pine Island Sound with Captiva Capt. Ozzie Fischer.Marv Kanne of Chesterfield, Mo., caught this 42-inch snook last Tuesday in Pine Island Sound with Captiva Capt. Ozzie Fischer.
    Even Sanibel's beaches are coming alive with tarpon, snook and more; bay waters are bounteous north to south; and relatively scant reports from offshore have been of good grouper and snapper catches.More >>
    Even Sanibel's beaches are coming alive with tarpon, snook and more; bay waters are bounteous north to south; and relatively scant reports from offshore have been of good grouper and snapper catches.

    More >>
  • 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 >>

Fishing was good, if you were one of the few anglers left on the water after snook season closed, and most snowbirds flew north.

Red drift algae is replacing red tide as the new "red menace" to fishing along the barrier island beaches. The remaining high concentrations of red tide in the state's May 9 report were at Long Key in the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve, and Barefoot Beach in north Collier County.

Send your fishing pics to Byron!

Folks with muscles to burn can pick from a strong list of characters including tarpon, sharks and goliath groupers now abundant in inshore waters.

Those who would add redfish, trout and catch-and-release snook action to a tarpon release can target a Southwest Florida grand slam with a reasonable chance of success.

Some northbound migrants including king and Spanish mackerel and cobia were still in the picture.

Freshwater fishing action depends on the venue, with Lake Trafford reporting tough times, Lake Okeechobee touting good, and canals in the Everglades going off the charts.

TARPON: Cape Coral Tarpon Hunter Vince Parkinson sent in a picture by his wife, Marilyn, of a leaping tarpon he caught on cut mullet and released in upper San Carlos Bay, off Tarpon Bay last Friday.

Wildfly Charters Capt. Gregg McKee reports winds have hampered chasing tarpon in the open waters of Charlotte Harbor, but big poons have been abundant in Pine Island Sound.

Norm Zeigler's Fly, Bait & Tackle Shop on Sanibel reports continued good action on juvenile tarpon along Wildlife Drive (closed Fridays) in the island's J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, where some of the fish have ranged from 2-1/2 to 3 feet.

SNOOK, REDS & MORE: Alex and Bill Gezzar of Fort Myers combined for a boat grand slam with releases of redfish including some oversize, snook to 31 inches, one large trout, and a tarpon that took Bill's live herring right under the mangroves in the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River Monday, according to Lehr's Economy Tackle.

Get Hooked Charters Capt. Matt DeAngelis sent in a shot of Naples anglers Ron and Austin Miller with three spotted seatrout caught on live sardines near Estero Bay's Starvation Key. The guide even reported juvenile snook and crevalle jacks hitting the freelined herrings in New Pass, next to Long Key where high concentrations of red tide were reported.

St. James City Capt. George Grosselfinger had an eight-snook day including a 31-incher Monday, but he noted snook still are not hitting his topwater plugs aggressively. Last Wednesday he weighed and released trout of 5, 5-1/2 and 5-3/4 pounds while casting around Pine Island Sound keys from just north of Galt Island, north to the Panther Keys.

Zeigler's reports customers are seeing some nice size snook along the shoreline near the Sanibel Pier, but only a few small linesides have been caught there, as well as in Ding Darling. Along the gulf beaches drift algae has been compromising fishing attempts, but some trout have been biting.

Capt. McKee sent in a picture of UK angler David Seed with his first saltwater fish, a 31-inch red that hit his shrimp along a mangrove shoreline just north of Matlacha, where he also caught a 21-inch trout. Slot-size reds also have been biting well on cut ladyfish, which are abundant along the bar in the northeast corner of Matlacha Pass.

Leo Marino of Lehr's and Bailey Gulash combined for six keeper trout to 20 inches on live sardines, and Bailey also caught and released a six-foot sawfish while they fished oyster bars behind Big Shell Island Tuesday in the mouth of the Caloosahatchee.

Lehr's also reported Mark and Stephanie Brennan and a friend wade-fished a flat along the Charlotte Harbor Buffer Preserve shoreline, where they caught lots of trout.

King Fisher bay boats out of Fishermen's Village in Punta Gorda also have been catching good numbers of mostly undersize trout along Charlotte Harbor's east side flats, north of Pirate Harbor, where customers also caught three bonnethead sharks on shrimp this week.

Ken Taylor of West Marine in Fort Myers reports releasing seven snook including one in the slot, while sightfishing with 4-inch glow/gold D.O.A. C.A.L. weedless jerkbaits and pearl or pearl/blue glimmer Z-Man Diezel Minnows on Mustad Grip-Pin worm hooks. He was walking along Charlotte County's Manasota Key, where polarized sunglasses and weedless lures were essential around spotty red drift algae on trips Tuesday and last Thursday.

MIXED BAGS: Southbend Charters Capt. Cody McClelland sent in a picture of Naples angler Bobby Platt with a 26-pound black drum, one of several they sightfished in the clear shallows around Jewel Key in Everglades National Park, on both incoming and outgoing tides.

Chris Warner-Hill and his wife, Victoria, of the UK, caught snook, trout and a tripletail in Pine Island Sound off Sanibel, before Flat Top Charters Capt. Mark Westra took them to the C span of the Sanibel Causeway and baited them up with crevalle jacks. Using a 9-aught reel spooled with 300-pound mono, Chris pulled an estimated 200 pound goliath grouper and two smaller ones into water shallow enough for a release photo like they don't make back home.

Paul Beckley used his own "shrimpy-looking fly" to catch permit of 15 and 16 inches along Sanibel's Bowman's Beach. Zeigler's also reports pompano, jacks and Spanish mackerel biting along the beach between the Bowman's access and The Sticks, to the north, as well as in Blind Pass.

King Fisher bay boats have had good luck on Spanish mackerel, outside the eastern bar and at the Charlotte Harbor Reef, where they've also been sorting keepers out of their catches of mangrove snapper, all on shrimp.

OFFSHORE: John Robi of Fort Myers and two friends caught their combined limits of six red grouper to 29 inches, nine yellowtail snapper to 20 inches, seven mangrove snapper and five lanes, plus a 35-inch cobia on jigs and live pinfish Sunday. They were fishing hard bottom on a 240 heading, 37 miles off the Sanibel Light,  according to Lehr's.

Offshore Fishbuster Charters with Bonita Beach Capt. Dave Hanson produced a box of 13 lane snapper and two grunts, with releases of seven grunts and 32 undersize red grouper for Jayne Muschett and her friend, Neil, 23 miles west of New Pass last Friday. Last Thursday, on choppy stops six, 12 and 15 miles west of New Pass, Dave Carey, George Siambones and Steve Wanner caught five keeper lane snapper, four grunts, and battles with a five-foot hammerhead and a 35-inch sharpnose shark.

Tuesday's King Fisher offshore trip to depths of 65 to 70 feet out of Boca Grande Pass was good for two keeper red grouper, a bunch of lane snapper, and a 150-pound goliath grouper release while bottom fishing. The group also freelined live baitfish to release a blacknose shark, lose badly to a much larger shark, and hook but not land several king mackerel.

FRESH WATER

LAKE TRAFFORD: The boat ramp at Ann Olesky Park has been redredged to make boat launching easier, but the action has been very poor for anglers who did venture out, according to Lake Trafford Marina.

LAKE OKEECHOBEE: Koby Kreiger of Roland Martin's Marine Center reports crickets have been flying out the door, as bluegill fishing has improved around the Big O. Islands off Uncle Joe's (Mayaca)  Cut , shallows outside the East Wall and, when winds are anything but north or east, in Bay Bottom. Bass also have been good when Bay Bottom waters clear, with even better bassing in the Monkey Box area of the Western Marsh, and along the North Shore between the Harney Pond Canal and Dyess's Ditch. Swimming frogs and pitching soft plastics into isolated patches of Kissimmeegrass have been the ticket.

EVERGLADES: Lehr's folk Mike Westra and Dan and Terri Weich each caught "about a hundred" panfish including oscars, Mayan cichlids, warmouth and largemouth bass and bluegills while casting small jigs, Zoom Tiny Brushhogs and Savage Gear 3D Crayfish, Sunday in canals near the Mile Marker 68 recreation area on Alligator Alley.

HOT SPOTS

No. 1: Charlotte Harbor's east side for trout on the flats, mackerel and snapper at the Charlotte Harbor Reef.

No. 2: North Matlacha Pass for redfish along the shorelines, and ladyfish outside the bar.

No. 3: Pine Island Sound for snook, redfish and some monster trout on flats; sharks and tarpon in deeper waters.

No. 4: Sanibel for catch-and-release goliath grouper at the causeway; tarpon off Tarpon Bay.

No. 5: Grand Slams of snook, reds, trout and tarpon in the mouth of the Caloosahatchee.

No. 6: Well offshore for red grouper, lane snapper and more.

No. 7: Everglades canals for torrid panfish action.

LAKE OKEECHOBEE

No. 1: North Shore for bass.

No. 2: Monkey Box for bass.

No. 3: East Wall for bedding bluegill.

No. 4: Bay Bottom for bass and bluegill, on anything but north and east winds.

PIC OF THE WEEK

UK angler David Seed's saltwater fishing career got off to a great start with this 31-inch redfish he caught in Matlacha Pass on his Wildfly Charter with Capt. Gregg McKee.

FISH TIP:

Sharks like this hefty blacktip caught on a "ladyfish steak" by the Horecky family, with Kevin holding, are now abundant in nearshore and inshore waters. Blacktips, blacknose, Atlantic sharpnose, bonnethead, finetooth and all species of dogfish and smoothhound sharks can be harvested in state waters with no minimum size. Eight species including bull, nurse, spinner, blue, oceanic whitetip, porbeagle, shortfin mako and thresher sharks must be a minimum of 54 inches, fork length, for harvest by recreational anglers. The limits for the 14 harvestable species are one per angler, or two per boat. The 26 species of "group 3" sharks that can never be harvested, brought aboard a vessel, or beached while fishing include locally common lemon and hammerhead sharks. Anglers should treat unknown catches as a prohibited species and release them. For the full rules for shark fishing in Florida and federal waters, and extensive tips on "shark smart" angling, click here.


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