Byron Stout's Fish Finder: Aug. 31

Posted: Aug 29, 2018 11:45 AM -04:00 Updated:
Andrew Dolwick's whopper snook slurped a topwater plug Saturday near Pine Island Sound's Cabbage Key, on his charter with Capt. John Stark. Andrew Dolwick's whopper snook slurped a topwater plug Saturday near Pine Island Sound's Cabbage Key, on his charter with Capt. John Stark.
Fort Myers angler TJ Singer used live lobsters on 30-foot, 150-pound leaders to catch this 80-pound cubera snapper and two others on a wreck in 250 feet of wter off Miami Friday night. The group also lost seven other big fish to the wreck. Photo courtesy Fort Myers angler TJ Singer used live lobsters on 30-foot, 150-pound leaders to catch this 80-pound cubera snapper and two others on a wreck in 250 feet of wter off Miami Friday night. The group also lost seven other big fish to the wreck. Photo courtesy
Matlacha Capt. Gregg McKee was dog-walking a bone Zara Spook on a busman's holiday in the Ten Thousand Islands when this tripletail grabbed the plug in only 18 inches of water. Matlacha Capt. Gregg McKee was dog-walking a bone Zara Spook on a busman's holiday in the Ten Thousand Islands when this tripletail grabbed the plug in only 18 inches of water.
Jerry Washington was freelining a pinfish in Matlacha Pass when this oversize red took note, on his Get Hooked Charter last Wednesday with Capt. Matt DeAngelis. Jerry Washington was freelining a pinfish in Matlacha Pass when this oversize red took note, on his Get Hooked Charter last Wednesday with Capt. Matt DeAngelis.
Steve Washington's over-slot redfish was one of several he caught around the Deer Stop Keys in Matlacha Pass, last Wednesday with  Get Hooked Charters Capt. Matt DeAngelis. Steve Washington's over-slot redfish was one of several he caught around the Deer Stop Keys in Matlacha Pass, last Wednesday with Get Hooked Charters Capt. Matt DeAngelis.
Tallahassee angler Maggie Renehan freelined a live finger mullet in Bonita Springs' Imperial River to tempt her first tarpon, Tuesday with Get Hooked Charter Capt. Matt DeAngelis. Tallahassee angler Maggie Renehan freelined a live finger mullet in Bonita Springs' Imperial River to tempt her first tarpon, Tuesday with Get Hooked Charter Capt. Matt DeAngelis.
Patrick Heading of Ormond Beach was dangling a pinfish in 115 feet of water west of Sanibel with Jack Zinke and David Edwards when this 5-foot king mackerel struck last Thursday. Patrick Heading of Ormond Beach was dangling a pinfish in 115 feet of water west of Sanibel with Jack Zinke and David Edwards when this 5-foot king mackerel struck last Thursday.
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Snook season won't open Sept. 1, and state fishery managers also have suspended harvesting redfish in areas affected by red tide in Southwest Florida. The bans on killing any snook and redfish will continue at least until the next meeting of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Sept. 26. See this week's Fish Tip segment for details.

Fishing's been good for those who avoided red tide, which unfortunately is widespread. The fish-killing algae blooms have been reported as far as 26 miles offshore of southern Lee County, but offshore areas to the north have been good. Waters well inshore, including Matlacha Pass, Upper Charlotte Harbor, and the coastal rivers are red-tide-free, and looking good for fishing.

Freshwater fishing in Lake Okeechobee has been good for bass and bluegill, and Lake Trafford produced lots bluegill, at least one limit of 25 large crappie, and tilapia to 5 pounds over the past week.

INSHORE: Wildfly Charters Capt. Gregg McKee took a busman's holiday to the Ten Thousand Islands where he and friends "had a blast," almost literally. He reported snook "blowing up" on finger mullet everywhere around Pavilion and Turkey keys, where they released a dozen linesides on artificial baits, and where McKee caught a tripletail on a bone Zara Spook in 18 inches of water. Snook season will reopen as scheduled, and redfish will remain open to harvest under current regulations in Gulf waters south of Gordon Pass (the mouth of Naples Bay) including Marco, the Ten Thousand Islands and Everglades National Park.

Get Hooked Charters Capt. Matt DeAngelis sent in a picture of Tallahassee angler Maggie Renehan with her first tarpon -- a juvie that hit a live finger mullet in Bonita Springs' Imperial River on Tuesday, Aug. 22. Capt. DeAngelis reports baitfish and snook, crevalle jacks and mangrove snapper biting in the eastern reaches of Estero Bay.

The following day the guide took Steve and Jerry Washington to south Matlacha Pass for catches of several over-slot redfish that took live pinfish in the Deer Stop Keys area. He reported Matlacha Pass was red tide free, with lots of baitfish and reds, snook, trout, and juvenile sharks and tarpon on points with moving water.

Capt. John Stark sent in a picture of Andrew Dolwick with a whopper snook that hit a topwater plug Saturday near Cabbage Key in Pine Island Sound.

Sanibel's fishing prospects are less rosy, with only a few catfish and whiting biting along the beaches. Blind Pass and lighted docks along Roosevelt Channel, along the back side of Captiva Island, have been intermittently good for snook and a few trout. The lone bright spot has been Wildlife Drive (closed Fridays) in the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildllife Refuge, where live baits, flies and lures have produced juvenile tarpon to 40 pounds over the past week, according to Norm Zeigler's Fly, Bait & Tackle Shop.

Tom Preston of Fort Myers Shores castnetted finger mullet in the Caloosahatchee River and deployed the baits in the Orange River Sunday, for a catch of four snook from 21 to 29 inches. Lehr's Economy Tackle also reports snook biting farther up the Caloosahatchee in the tailwaters of the W.P. Franklin and Ortona locks.

Jerry Washington was freelining a pinfish in Matlacha Pass when this oversize red took note, on his Get Hooked Charter last Wednesday with Capt. Matt DeAngelis.

 

 

Lehr's got a report from North Fort Myers angler Bill Stockman of a 6-1/2-pound permit that took a cut sardine in north Matlacha Pass, on a trip that circumnavigated Pine Island without any live baitfish dying in his livewell from red tide last Thursday.

King Fisher bay boat charters out of Fishermen's Village in Punta Gorda report "tons of trout" and "snapper everywhere" on Charlotte Harbor's east side flats, south to Pirate Harbor. Most of those fish have been small, with some large trout in the mix, and enough snapper to catch a five-fish limit, though none of the little mangs would exceed 12 inches. Redfish of all sizes also have been in targetable numbers under east side mangroves.

OFFSHORE: Bonita Beach Capt. Dave Hanson's charter business has taken a blow from red tide. He reports, "After two weeks off the water, with this entire area suffering from red tide, I ventured out Monday, August 27, to explore the waters and check conditions. Red tide was bad in close-in waters, with dead fish abundant out to five miles. The further I went out, the less dead fish were evident, but red tide was still visible as far out as 26 miles, and fishing was, well, not really fishing at all, since there was absolutely nothing biting. I had hoped for better conditions out that far."

Ormond Beach angler Patrick Heading used a pinfish to catch a five-foot king mackerel last Thursday, 55 miles west of Sanibel in 115 feet of water with Jack Zinke and David Edwards.

Patrick Heading of Ormond Beach was dangling a pinfish in 115 feet of water west of Sanibel with Jack Zinke and David Edwards when this 5-foot king mackerel struck last Thursday.

 

A King Fisher party that wanted to target sharks and goliath grouper got their wishes in depths of 65 to 70 feet of water out of Boca Grande Pass, where they released a lemon shark estimated at 10-plus feet, and also caught two keeper red grouper and a few lane snapper while waiting for the shark bite over a hard-bottom area. They also battled several goliaths on an artificial reef that broke off on 100-pound-test line and a 9/0 Penn Senator reel.

FRESH WATER

LAKE TRAFFORD: Lake Trafford crappie expert Tony Louden, of Fort Myers, had to work hard Tuesday with minnows, but came up with his limit of 25 crappie, "and I mean big ones," said Lake Trafford Marina manager Sharon Turrubiaters. Anglers fishing from boats and the pier and shorelines of Ann Olesky Park have been catching nice messes of bluegill, plus tilapia to 5 pounds, mostly on live worms.

LAKE OKEECHOBEE: Bass fishing remains good in the North Shore area between the Harney Pond Canal and Dyess's Ditch, and all along Observation Shoal, south to and including the spoil islands off Uncle Joe's (Mayaca) Cut, according to Bobby Jones of Roland Martin's Marine Center in Clewiston.

Bluegill fishermen have been doing best in the evenings, between the passing of thunderstorms and sunset. Catches of 40 to 50 have been coming from spoil islands along the Okeechobee Waterway out of Clewiston, well on the way out to the water tower, where Bobby Jones reports it's still possible to smell bedding areas.

PIC OF THE WEEK

Maggie Renehan caught her juvenile tarpon on a Get Hooked Charter in the Imperial River, and others have been reported biting in back country waters including Sanibel's Ding Darling NWR.

Tallahassee angler Maggie Renehan freelined a live finger mullet in Bonita Springs' Imperial River to tempt her first tarpon, Tuesday with Get Hooked Charter Capt. Matt DeAngelis.

 

FISH TIP

Effective immediately in Southwest Florida waters affected by red tide, harvesting redfish is banned, and state fishery managers also have postponed the opening of the fall snook season. The ban will remain in effect at least until the next meeting of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting, Sept. 26. The harvest ban makes snook and redfish catch-and-release-only species, from the northernmost point of Anna Maria Island in Manatee County, south to Gordon Pass in Collier County. The ban applies only to coastal counties, so the Caloosahatchee River/Okeechobee Waterway in Hendry and Glades counties will open to snook harvest on Sept. 1. However, boaters will not be able to transport snook into Lee County when caught in Hendry or Glades counties.  Snook regulations under the Atlantic Management Zone remain unchanged.

Steve Washington's over-slot redfish was one of several he caught around the Deer Stop Keys in Matlacha Pass, last Wednesday with  Get Hooked Charters Capt. Matt DeAngelis.

 

HOT SPOTS

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

No. 2: Matlacha Pass for snook, trout and more.

No. 3: Northern Pine Island Pound for snook, reds and trout.

No. 4: Orange River for snook.

No. 5: Upper Caloosahatchee locks for snook.

No. 6: Estero Bay tributaries for snook, jacks and juvenile tarpon.

No. 7: Offshore for grouper and snappers.

 

LAKE OKEECHOBEE

No. 1: North Shore for bass.

No. 2: Observation Shoal to Uncle Joe's for bass.

No. 3: Okeechobee Waterway spoil islands for bluegill.

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