big bait fish

Bait Fish in Fort Myers and Sanibel

The game of bait fish in Fort Myers and Sanibel is a year round event that at times is easy but on the flip side can be very frustrating.  It is a pattern from season to season but not totally consistent year to year. Typically as we head into winter it will gather around the bridges in deeper water which typically is not as cold as the shallows. When winter is on us and the water temp drops the bait can head offshore and south to find warmer water. Then we have no source of live bait except to buy shrimp. The bait will return in the spring which is typically a tough time of year to get it. The herring will be migrating up the beaches from the south to north and will also get on the bridges and in the bay. The pilchards will start to get on the grass flats when the water gets warm enough. This will run into the summer where there will be hatches each month so the bait changes sizes but typically is small in summer. Then comes fall where it will  get out on the beaches until it gets colder and heads to deeper water. The are the little fish we chase to get the bigger fish, not sure which is harder some days.

The Game of Bait Fish in Fort Myers and Sanibel

So now we have the bait fish and need to catch the snook, reds, tarpon, trout and other species. Bigger fish say tarpon and big snook will prefer a bigger bait like a herring and even lady fish and mullet. A big gator trout love a herring but a smaller trout not so much. I have caught lots of redfish on white bait but when there lazy they won’t run it down so you may have to use cut bait or shrimp. What I am saying is you catch the bait but you must know how to use it in different situations. When the fish are not as active whether its water temperature or a handful of other reasons I prefer smaller bait easier to eat but when they are on the feed then a bigger bait that you can cast further is preferred. Why go to all this trouble, well if it didn’t work better then we wouldn’t be throwing nets. That’s the tip of the ice burg, time on the water tells the truth.

Captain Clarence Reed

Bait Fish in Fort Myers and Sanibel

 

November for Redfish Charters

November for Redfish Charters

While this fall has not been off the charts it has been extremely good at times. We were catching snook and redfish each trip out but a few weak cold fronts would slow the action down. Some days were insane with 20 to 30 redfish and up to 50 snook. Most of the snook were undersized but some slot fish were caught and some bigger fish as well. Whether  it was the lack of visibility or the redfish schools were further to the north I am not sure but I did not see as many schools as years past but  that didn’t seem to effect our catch. October was a windy month so we did not get to venture offshore for the bull reds, kingfish and other species that are migrating this time of year. November so far has been excellent weather with light winds and cooler temperatures but not cool to shut off the bite. The water temperature remains in the low 70’s creeping toward 75 by the afternoon. Redfish Charters  are great this time of year starting in September right through November.

It seems most of the bigger redfish have moved out and now the catches are still solid but more undersize fish are being caught with mid to upper slot fish mixed in. Yesterday we had a nice day catching 20 redfish, in which half were undersized and the keepers ranged from 22″ to 26″. The snook bite remains pretty solid with alot of small to mid size fish and lately some bigger fish have started to fatten up for winter. The biggest snook was well over 40″ and alot of fish in the 25″ to 35″ range. While this time of year I do not spend alot of time trout fishing we have caught a few gator trout while fishing for reds and snook. The few times I fished on the grass it seems to be the winter trend with alot of shorts and the occasional keeper. We hope the weather will hold out for a while and we have a late winter if not we always look forward to the fall.

Thanks

Captain Clarence Reed

November for Redfish Charters