Byron Stout's Fish Finder: June 29

Updated:
Amanda Giroux's 40-1/4-inch snook release started with a live thread herring freelined along Blind Pass mangroves Saturday night, with her fiance Brian Brandfass. Amanda Giroux's 40-1/4-inch snook release started with a live thread herring freelined along Blind Pass mangroves Saturday night, with her fiance Brian Brandfass.
Brian Brandfass's 35-inch snook was one of 11 over 34 inches caught Friday night while live-baiting with friends Matt Smith and Jason Kaufman in Blind Pass. Brian Brandfass's 35-inch snook was one of 11 over 34 inches caught Friday night while live-baiting with friends Matt Smith and Jason Kaufman in Blind Pass.
Matt Smith's 38-inch snook was released Friday night in Blind Pass, while fishing with pal Brian Brandfass. Matt Smith's 38-inch snook was released Friday night in Blind Pass, while fishing with pal Brian Brandfass.
Vince Parkinson's large bonnethead shark (smallest of the hammerhead species) was one of several caught last weekend on mullet with Rob Stephan  in upper San Carlos Bay. Vince Parkinson's large bonnethead shark (smallest of the hammerhead species) was one of several caught last weekend on mullet with Rob Stephan in upper San Carlos Bay.
Vince Parkinson said he handled this 7-1/2-foot bull shark very carefully during its release. No reason to ask why. Vince Parkinson said he handled this 7-1/2-foot bull shark very carefully during its release. No reason to ask why.
Mark Scott's brace of blackfin tunas were two of the six he and Bruce Newmark caught trolling Bomber CD30 diving plugs and tandem topwater feather rigs Saturday in 190 feet of water out of Redfish Pass. Photo courtesy Ken Taylor, Fort Myers West Marine. Mark Scott's brace of blackfin tunas were two of the six he and Bruce Newmark caught trolling Bomber CD30 diving plugs and tandem topwater feather rigs Saturday in 190 feet of water out of Redfish Pass. Photo courtesy Ken Taylor, Fort Myers West Marine.
Chris Piascik's 17-inch red grouper one of fifteen shorts he and his family caught and released Tuesday, 18 to 22 miles west of New Pass on their offshore Fishbuster Charter. Chris Piascik's 17-inch red grouper one of fifteen shorts he and his family caught and released Tuesday, 18 to 22 miles west of New Pass on their offshore Fishbuster Charter.
Sheryl Polite's 16-inch crevalle jack was caught on shrimp and released in southern Estero Bay last Thursday, on her inshore Fishbuster Charter. Sheryl Polite's 16-inch crevalle jack was caught on shrimp and released in southern Estero Bay last Thursday, on her inshore Fishbuster Charter.
Mike Polite's 13-inch sheepshead was one of three keepers he and his family caught on shrimp last Thursday in southern Estero Bay on their inshore Fishbuster Charter . Mike Polite's 13-inch sheepshead was one of three keepers he and his family caught on shrimp last Thursday in southern Estero Bay on their inshore Fishbuster Charter .
Brady Marburger with a 16-inch sheepshead, one of three keeper sheepshead he and his family caught on shrimp in southern Estero Bay last Thursday on their inshore Fishbuster Charter. Brady Marburger with a 16-inch sheepshead, one of three keeper sheepshead he and his family caught on shrimp in southern Estero Bay last Thursday on their inshore Fishbuster Charter.
Anna Marburger's 11-inch mangrove snapper was one of three keepers out of 20 she and her family caught on shrimp in southern Estero Bay last Thursday, on thier inshore Fishbuster Charter. Anna Marburger's 11-inch mangrove snapper was one of three keepers out of 20 she and her family caught on shrimp in southern Estero Bay last Thursday, on thier inshore Fishbuster Charter.
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    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 >>
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  • Byron Stout's Fish Finder: Oct. 12

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    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 >>
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  • 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 >>
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'Tis the season for whopper snook, lots of sharks, and good times well offshore.

Summer isn't a normal time for red tide problems, but large snook in large numbers have been reported showing up around Boca Grande, where even some tarpon have been belly up.

Some big snook also have had last gasps in freshwater sections of Ten Mile Canal, where low oxygen is the likely problem.

Elsewhere in fresh water, Lake Trafford fishing is showing some improvement, and bluegill limits are being reported from Lake Okeechobee.

SNOOK: Brian Brandfass and friends report two wild nights of snook fishing in Blind and Redfish passes Friday and Saturday, starting with 11 linesides from 34 to 39-3/4 inches caught with Matt Smith and Jason Kaufman. Then on Saturday night, Brandfass's fiancee Amanda Giroux freelined live thread herrings along the mangroves of Blind Pass for a true trophy 40-1/4-incher, plus snook of 30, 35 and 37 inches among numerous others that were biting best on falling tides.

Norm Zeigler's Fly, Bait & Tackle Shop on Sanibel reports lots of snook also being caught during daylight hours in Blind Pass, with mostly sub-slot sizes biting along the island beaches, at the city pier, and in the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, where juvenile tarpon also are biting along Wildlife Drive (closed Fridays) in the refuge.

St. James City Capt. George Grosselfinger also fished the faster ebb flows in the Regla/McKeever islands area of southern Pine Island Sound for 14 snook including one in the slot on Monday, and nine with one slot fish Tuesday, all on topwater plugs.

Lehr's Economy Tackle reports Fort Myers Shore angler Billy Murphy boated to the Billy Creek Bridge with a large live mullet, and pulled out his own 40-inch snook.

SLAM SPECIES: Bob Gerwig of Fort Myers has been catching large redfish while kayaking in Ding Darling, and Zeigler's also reports trout biting along Sanibel's beaches.

Nathan and Renee Alfredo of Cape Coral used new penny Gulp! Shrimp under clacker cork rigs to catch six redfish from 24 to 26 inches, plus a 31-incher northwest of the Matlacha Pass Bridge on Monday, according to Lehr's.

King Fisher bay boats out of Fishermen's Village in Punta Gorda report good trout action, including a fair number of keeper-size specks biting on Charlotte Harbor's northeastern flats, where shrimp under corks also are unexpectedly producing some keeper mangrove snapper.

SHARKS: Cut mullet produced bull sharks of seven and 7-1/2 feet, a 6-foot nurse shark, and several large bonnethead sharks last Monday and Tuesday in the Marker No. 5 area of upper San Carlos Bay for Cape Coral Tarpon Hunters Vince Parkinson and Rob Stephan.

Pete King used cut ladyfish behind his Cape Coral home near the Midpoint Memorial Bridge to catch six bull sharks to four feet, according to Lehr's.

MIXED BAGS: Mike and Sheryl Polite and Anna and Brady Marburger used live and frozen shrimp to catch three keeper sheepshead to 16 inches, plus three keeper mangrove snapper among 20 landed, while also releasing a 16-inch crevalle jack and an 18-inch snook last Thursday in southern Estero Bay on their inshore Fishbuster Charter with Bonita Beach Capt. Dave Hanson.

Zeigler's customers have been catching Spanish mackerel and jacks at the Sanibel Pier, and macks, jacks and ladyfish along the island's beaches.

OFFSHORE: Mike, John and Chris Piascik used squid and cut bait on spots from 18 to 22 miles west of New Pass to box 14 lane snapper and a dozen nice grunts, while releasing 15 short red grouper, and losing battles to two sharpnoses and one large sandbar shark Tuesday on their offshore Fishbuster Charter.

Mark Scott and Bruce Newmark used Bomber CD30 deep-diving plugs and tandem feather rigs to catch six blackfin tunas Saturday while trolling in 190 feet of water out of Redfish Pass, according to Ken Taylor of West Marine in Fort Myers.

 Jim Brown and friends limited on red snapper and also caught some large red grouper and three king mackerel in 120 feet of water off northern Lee County, according to Lehr's.

Two King Fisher offshore trips to depths of 65 to 70 feet off Boca Grande Pass produced a few keeper red grouper, plus nice boxes of lane snapper and a mix of vermilion snapper, porgies and grunts over the past week.

FRESH WATER

LAKE TRAFFORD: Lake Trafford regular Tony Louden reported catching eight bluegill and two crappie fishing mostly with worms around cattails by 10:30 Tuesday morning on the Immokalee lake, where he called his results "pretty discouraging." Lake Trafford Marina also reported a catch of 12 bluegills, plus some cichlids including Mayans and tilapia by another boater this week.

LAKE OKEECHOBEE: Bobby Jones of Roland Martin's Marine Center in Clewiston said anglers fishing the goal posts area off the mouth of Uncle Joe's (Mayaca) Cut have been reporting limits of bluegills, and shorebound anglers also have been having good luck in the moving water below the Moore Haven Lock, all on crickets. Bass fishing has been best along the lake's North Shore area between the Harney Pond Canal and Dyess's Ditch, in the Monkey Box area, and increasingly along Observation Shoal, where white-and-chartreuse spinnerbaits have produced bass to 3 pounds.

PIC OF THE WEEK

Matt Smith's dandy 38-incher was only third-largest of 15 snook of 34 inches or better, caught last weekend by Brian Brandfass and friends in Blind and Redfish passes.

FISH TIP

Mike Polite's 13-inch sheepshead was one of three keepers caught on a recent inshore Fishbuster Charter. He didn't have to worry about exceeding new sheepshead bag limits that will become effective July 1, under recent rule changes for sheepshead and tripletail, which are caught mainly in cooler weather. The new bag limit for sheepshead has been lowered to eight per person, with a 50-sheepshead per boat limit. For tripletail the changes are in the minimum length, soon to be 18 inches, and allowable gear -- hook-and-line only. The changes will be effective in state and federal waters.

HOT SPOTS

No. 1: Northeastern Charlotte Harbor flats for trout.

No. 2: Matlacha Pass for redfish.

No. 3: Blind Pass and southern Pine Island Sound keys for snook action.

No. 4: Upper San Carlos Bay for bull and bonnethead sharks.

No. 5: Midpoint Bridge area for juvenile bull sharks.

No. 6: Southern Estero Bay for mixed sheepshead and snapper.

No. 7: Well offshore for red snapper and blackfin tuna.


LAKE OKEECHOBEE

No. 1: North Shore for bass.

No. 2: Observation Shoal for bass.

No. 3: Monkey Box for bass.

No. 4: Uncle Joe's Cut for bluegill.