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