Byron Stout's Fish Finder: July 27

Posted: Jul 25, 2018 9:35 PM Updated:
Hilton Head, S.C. angler Ned Gilleland III's 8.28-pound bass was a rare summertime Florida Trophy Catch qualifier from Lake Okeechobee's Observation Shoal. He was shiner fishing with Capt. Leo Duran out of Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina in Clewiston. Hilton Head, S.C. angler Ned Gilleland III's 8.28-pound bass was a rare summertime Florida Trophy Catch qualifier from Lake Okeechobee's Observation Shoal. He was shiner fishing with Capt. Leo Duran out of Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina in Clewiston.
Indiana angler Matt Miller freelined a live pinfish along Estero Bay's East Wall to come up with this high-slot redfish, on his Get Hooked Charter with Capt. Matt DeAngelis. Indiana angler Matt Miller freelined a live pinfish along Estero Bay's East Wall to come up with this high-slot redfish, on his Get Hooked Charter with Capt. Matt DeAngelis.
Christopher Worley's 16-inch red grouper  was one of two dozen grouper shorts he and his kids released last Wednesday, 22 miles west of New Pass on an offshore Fishbuster Charter. Christopher Worley's 16-inch red grouper was one of two dozen grouper shorts he and his kids released last Wednesday, 22 miles west of New Pass on an offshore Fishbuster Charter.
A knocker rig with a chunk of cut bait (upper left of picture) was the key to 24 red grouper releases, and 20 lane snapper in the box for Izzy Worley and her family, on their offshore Fishbuster Charter. A knocker rig with a chunk of cut bait (upper left of picture) was the key to 24 red grouper releases, and 20 lane snapper in the box for Izzy Worley and her family, on their offshore Fishbuster Charter.
Twenty lane snapper like Sam Worley's were the take-home on his family's offshore Fishbuster Charter. Twenty lane snapper like Sam Worley's were the take-home on his family's offshore Fishbuster Charter.
Sam Brisebois and family anchored their boat and were having a beach day near the Sanibel Light when this nice snook -- his biggest ever -- hit his thread herring. Sam Brisebois and family anchored their boat and were having a beach day near the Sanibel Light when this nice snook -- his biggest ever -- hit his thread herring.
Nine-year-old Clare McKee was trying for a crab-trap-bait catfish when this dandy trout, and another just like it, took her white Gulp! Shrimp. The Pennsylvania girl was in the Indian Fields area of Matlacha Pass with her uncle, Wildfly Charters Capt. Gre Nine-year-old Clare McKee was trying for a crab-trap-bait catfish when this dandy trout, and another just like it, took her white Gulp! Shrimp. The Pennsylvania girl was in the Indian Fields area of Matlacha Pass with her uncle, Wildfly Charters Capt. Gre
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Unusual midsummer morning rains and strong winds made for quiet times on the water over the past week. But the fishing was pretty good.

Snapper are coming out of the woodwork as newly mature mangs wend their way to the offshore spawning stocks.

Tarpon in medium sizes have been flying high, all over the place.

Redfish, snook and spotted seatrout all are possibilities.

And Lake Okeechobee anglers are experiencing a rare summer run of lunker bass.

MANGROVE SNAPPER: Lehigh Acres angler John Mack used live sardines to catch his limit of five keeper snapper to 13 inches in the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River, where he also caught a brace of 22-inch redfish. That was all after catching four snook on Kevin Van Dam Perfect Plastic Caffeine Shad soft plastic stickbaits, according to Lehr's Economy Tackle.

Lehr's also reports Gulf Pro Charters Capt. Jeff Zasadny has been catching lots of keeper mangs in Pine Island Sound and the Gulf passes.

King Fisher bay boats out of Fishermen's Village in Punta Gorda have been catching snapper while fishing for trout on Charlotte Harbor's northeastern flats, and in creek mouths and under the mangroves when trying for snook.

TARPON: Get Hooked Charters Capt. Matt DeAngelis reports juvenile tarpon have shown up all around Estero Bay, where pinfish, scaled sardines or small crabs under floats are the way to get bit. He reminds anglers to "bow to the king" when the rascals go airborne, lest a tight line results in a thrown hook.

Wildfly Charters Capt. Gregg McKee reports wind and storms have made it tough for fly fishers this week, but anglers casting plugs and live pinfish have hooked up on the abundance of tarpon that have appeared off Charlotte Harbor's eastern shorelines.

Lehr's reports Josh Michnowitz of Fort Myers caught two baby tarpon, plus four bass to 16 inches while casting silvery Lunker Hunt swimbaits Sunday around spillways along Ten Mile Canal, which drains from Hanson Street in Fort Myers, south to Mullock Creek.

SLAM SPECIES: Capt. DeAngelis reports charter clients have been catching "a fair amount of snook" while baiting with live pinfish and sardines on high tides along Estero Bay's East Wall, where angler Matt Miller also caught a high-slot redfish on Sunday.

Indiana angler Matt Miller freelined a live pinfish along Estero Bay's East Wall to come up with this high-slot redfish, on his Get Hooked Charter with Capt. Matt DeAngelis.

Cape Coral angler Sam Brisebois and his family anchored their boat and were having a beach day near the Sanibel Light when he caught and released his personal best snook, at 5:30 on Sunday, July 15. He was baiting with a "greenback" (Atlantic thread herring) according to his wife, Elaine.

Norm Zeigler's Fly, Bait & Tackle reports other Sanibel snook catches have been reported around Point Ybel along the city pier shoreline, along the Bowman's Beach access area, and in Blind Pass, where live baits, lures and flies all have been productive. On the counterproductive side, "Red tide has shifted almost daily to different spots along the Gulf Shoreline."

Capt. Zasadny also reported hot snooking in Blind Pass for linesides to 25 inches.

Capt. McKee took out his niece Clare, from Pennsylvania, to catch catfish for crab bait Sunday in the Indian Fields area of Matlacha Pass. But the 9-year-old foiled the plot with a brace of 21-inch trout that hit her white Gulp! Shrimp, and went home for dinner, instead.

King Fisher boats have been using live shrimp under floats to catch abundant, but mostly undersize trout on Charlotte Harbor's northeastern flats, plus a few sublegal snook along nearby creeks and mangrove shorelines.

MIXED BAGS: Zeigler's reports mackerel and jacks cruising shorelines along Bowman's Beach and the Sanibel Pier.

Those peewee shrimp intended for trout and snapper also have produced three pompano and a half-dozen bonnethead sharks over the past week for anglers on King Fisher bay boat trips.

OFFSHORE: Christopher Worley and his teenagers, Sam and Izzy, used squid and cut bait to reel in 24 undersize red grouper, while boxing 20 keeper lane snapper last Wednesday, 22 miles west of New Pass on their Fishbuster Charter with Bonita Beach Capt. Dave Hanson.

FRESH WATER

LAKE TRAFFORD: Anglers fishing from the pier and shorelines at Ann Olesky Park have been catching plenty of bluegill for fish fries, and two boaters reported catching 14 bluegill and "a lot of mudfish (bowfin)," under light fishing activity over the past week. Lake Trafford Marina also reports fishermen castnetting for tilapia have been banned from the park pier because of the messes they've left, but they still can fish from the banks of the canal on the north side of Lake Trafford Road.

LAKE OKEECHOBEE: Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina Capt. Leo Doran reports big largemouths have begun biting like it was March along Observation Shoal, all the way from Uncle Joe's (Mayaca) Cut north to Cochran's Pass. He sent in a picture of Hilton Head, S.C. angler Ned Gilleland III with an 8.28-pounder that qualifies for Florida's Trophy Catch award. Wild shiners have been best, but junebug Senkos and spinnerbaits also have been successful early in the morning. Doran also reports "rumor has it" that last weekend's Bass Busters Tournament was won in the Pelican Bay area, where he recommends Stein's Canal.

Hilton Head, S.C. angler Ned Gilleland III's 8.28-pound bass was a rare summertime Florida Trophy Catch qualifier from Lake Okeechobee's Observation Shoal. He was shiner fishing with Capt. Leo Duran out of Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina in Clewiston.

Bluegills still have been biting strong on crickets under an 18-inch float rig, around the Clewiston and Uncle Joe's spoil islands.

PIC OF THE WEEK

Nine-year-old Clare McKee was trying for a crab-trap-bait catfish when this dandy trout, and another just like it, took her white Gulp! Shrimp. The Pennsylvania girl was in the Indian Fields area of Matlacha Pass with her uncle, Wildfly Charters Capt. Gregg McKee.

Nine-year-old Clare McKee was trying for a crab-trap-bait catfish when this dandy trout, and another just like it, took her white Gulp! Shrimp. The Pennsylvania girl was in the Indian Fields area of Matlacha Pass with her uncle, Wildfly Charters Capt. Gre

FISH TIP: You don't have to be a boater to catch your snook of a lifetime. Sam Brisebois and his family actually anchored their boat and got out for a day of beaching it, about a quarter mile from the Sanibel Light, when this lunker found his greenback (Atlantic thread herring) at 5:30 on a Sunday afternoon. Beach fishing for snook is even better at night, when a lawn chair and a sand spike for the rod are all you need, until a snook interrupts the hunt for shooting stars. Live baitfish are easily castnetted from the beach, or frozen greenies can make life even easier. Snook are out of season, and must be quickly released until Sept. 1.

Sam Brisebois and family anchored their boat and were having a beach day near the Sanibel Light when this nice snook -- his biggest ever -- hit his thread herring.

HOT SPOTS

No. 1: Charlotte Harbor's eastern flats for trout, snapper, and juvenile tarpon.

No. 2: Boca Grande and Captiva Passes for snapper.

No. 3: Blind Pass for snook.

No. 4: Sanibel beaches for snook and mackerel.

No. 5: Estero Bay's East Wall for snook and redfish.

No. 6: Offshore for lane snapper in 50+ feet; 90+ feet for keeper red grouper.

No. 7: Lake Trafford for bluegill.

 

LAKE OKEECHOBEE

No. 1: Cochran's Pass to Uncle Joe's (Mayaca) Cut for big bass.

No. 2: Uncle Joe's spoil islands for bluegill.

No. 3: Clewiston spoil islands for bluegill.

No. 4: Pelican Bay/Stein's Canal for tournament bass.

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