Sanibel winter fishing

Sanibel Winter Fishing

It has been a fairly mild start of the winter so far, with a few strong cold fronts coming through. We have been fortunate to only have to suffer a few cold days then back to high 70’s, low 80’s.  What this does for the fishing is change things briefly and then back to more of the standard. A few keys are barometric pressure, water temperatures and clarity. wind direction and where the hell am I going to get bait today. With all these factors changing the fish will move and feed differently and the bait will be a guessing game as well,  not only where to catch it but what to fish with. Sanibel winter fishing can be tricky but very rewarding, just to be able to catch snook and redfish in January and February is special.


When the water temperature drops shrimp can be very effective although I prefer to use it as a last resort because everything eats shrimp. So you can be harassed by pinfish, snapper and other bait thieves. If the water stays around 70, even into the high 60’s i’m hoping to have a well full of whitebait. Anyway watch the conditions and be prepared for all different situations this time of year. For example after a strong front I like to fish shrimp on a jig for redfish but as soon as it warms a bit it seems to fall off and little snapper are taking over so you have to adjust.


Sanibel winter fishing report for me has been one of many fish but not as much quality on a consistent basis. The snook population is in great shape with a lot of small to medium size fish and some bigger fish as well. The redfish was better for me up to December and has fallen off which is not uncommon, lately I am catching quite a few undersized fish with a few legal fish mixed in. Trout is pretty typical for winter where you can catch a lot of small fish and pull some keepers out as well. In short catching lots of fish and that is what we are supposed to be doing. However we are always working hard to find those quality fish as well.

Captain Clarence Reed


jack attack


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.


Captain Clarence Reed

November for Redfish Charters


Redfishing in Fort Myers and Sanibel

Fall Redfishing Fort Myers Sanibel

Fall Redfishing Fort Myers Sanibel –

Find out more about Fall Redfishing Fort Myers Sanibel … the Redfishing in our area is starting to heat up with smaller bunches of fish and some larger schools. We have been catching a lot of slot fish with some oversized Reds as well. There has been a good Snook bite with some larger fish starting to show up early this season and plenty of small to medium size fish. The Mangrove Snapper bite has been fun with some jacks mixed in. Trout fishing has been a bit slow but we are catching some slot fish and a lot of shorts.

Fall Redfishing Fort Myers Sanibel | Call Sea Reed Charters Today!We look forward to Red October every year…  it is without a doubt the best time to catch redfish in our area and just a great month for fishing, if not the best month of the year here in Southwest Florida.  There are an abundance of Redfish, and with the Snook heading in from the beaches to the back country, October sets up to be an exciting time to fish, as always!

This is also a great time of year to get off the beaches and get into some real line screamers. Big schools of bait will be all along the beaches and there will be a lot of predators taking advantage of this. You can find these bait schools by looking for the birds and sometimes you will see them on the surface as well. Try to fish around the outside of these schools and get ready for just about anything. Tarpon, sharks, Bonita, redfish, kingfishand whatever else wants to join the party. The action can be a couple hundred yards off the beach to a few miles just look for the food chain and hang on.

See 5 Strategies for Catching Redfish by Sport Fishing Magazine and get ready for an awesome trip!

Snook Fishing in Fort Myers | Sea Reed Charters | Clarence Thomas

Fort Myers Fishing Report on June 9, 2016

The summer fishing pattern has arrived:  Although the water remains clear, it seems like Tropical Storm Colin will change that. Snapper and Snook Fishing remains good!  Most of the Snook have been smaller but we did release a 37′ Snook yesterday. While the Redfish remain on the stubborn side, the Trout bite has been steady with some nice fish up to 26″. Tarpon is an early bite so get your baits and try to be ready to fish around sun up. The fish seem to eat early and then loose interest. There has been an afternoon bite for Tarpon on the big outgoing tide as well so good luck and tight lines.

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Fort Myers Tarpon Fishing Charters

Charter Fishing Update | Fort Myers | Sanibel

It has been a long, but exciting Charter Fishing Season here in Fort Myers and Sanibel and I apologize for the lack or the non-existent Blog Posting! This spring has been a different one, with many late cold fronts and more wind than we would like, but that’s all part of fishing right? The bait was extremely tough this year, but, while I’m complaining, it’s all turned around…

Tarpon Fishing Charters

This Tarpon Fishing season has been tough with, again, a lot of wind, but we have had some great days with the best being 12 tarpon jumped. We released 3, with some nice pics, had to break off 4

Tarpon Charter Fishing Trip in Fort Myers

Tarpon Charter Fishing Trip in Fort Myers

due to bull sharks. and … well, you know what happened to the rest! Bow to the King Tarpon, but he still wins sometimes.

Backwater Fishing Charters

The backwater bite has been up and down, but some really nice Mangrove Snapper have been around with a lot of 15″ to 16″ fish.

Snook Fishing Charters

Snook is catch and release, but has been very consistent with some fish over 30″.

Redfish Charter Fishing

Redfish have been hit and miss but when we are finding them they are primarily  slot fish with some over sized. Trout is usually a sure deal in the spring with a lot of gators around. The numbers have been down but most of the fish are legal with quite a few over 20″. there is not as much to complain about as i thought. Thats a summary of our spring fishing with much more to come. Look for at least one blog a week to keep you in toon with our fabulous fishery. Tight Lines

Sea Reed Charters

Sea Reed Fishing Charters offers some of the best In-Shore and Back-Bay Fishing Charters in Fort Myers, on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, including Tarpon Fishing, Red Fish Charters, Snook, Snapper and more… Call us today to find out about your custom fishing charter trip… we’ll catch lots of fish and we’ll make it special for sure!

Call Today: 239-292-8201

Mistaken Identity

The weather and the water temp are still making the fishing this week on the difficult side. Still catching some reds and trout along with sheep head and black drum, a few jacks and snapper as well. Hooked one snook all week and lost it but it was small. The water has come up into the low 60’s but we have a front on our heels not as cold we hope. On an afternoon trip I was really struggling and had to get on a bite so I found a good bite on small trout and lady fish. Nothing great but we were catching. All the sudden one of the guys hooks a big pompano. it was a great fight and on ice it went. Second biggest pompano I had ever caught and then we hooked a nice bluefish. We moved on from there and caught a bunch of reds ranging from 16-30″, turned out to be one of the best trips of the week.

So with that being said I had pompano on the brain. Having another tough day I moved in for some trout just to get a bite going and we caught one keeper and a bunch of shorts. I noticed another boat nearby had caught a few pompano and they left so I moved into that area and hooked into what seemed like a nice pompano but when we got a look at it I though it was a small permit so we released it. Now we really start to get into them and most were smaller than the first one and they looked like pompano so we kept 2 and probably caught 10 others.

Back to the ramp to clean up some delicious pompano, these fish were 13″ to the fork and pompano have to be 11″ so nice ones. As I get ready to filet the fish the FWC officer ask me about the catch and I say we have 2 pompano but released a bunch because that’s all my client wanted. As he took a closer look and said they were permit and showed me how the dorsal fin was longer, one he wasn’t sure  but one was definitely a permit and as I filleted the fish I could tell they were both permit by the meat and size of the filet’s. The officer told me that the bag limit on permit was 2 and was I lucky that day. By the way we ate the permit and it was delicious but next time the permit will be released.

Tight Lines

Captain Clarence Reed

Come south for a Sanibel Fishing Charter


Bye Bye Baitfish

With the continuing cold fronts and the water temperatures dipping below 60 the bait fish have headed out to deeper and a bit warmer water. Hello shrimpies, not sure if that’s a word but that’s the bait we will be using if it continues to stay colder. Sheep head are not my favorite target by a long shot but if the redfish and trout are being shy then sheep head it is.

The first cold morning that’s exactly what I did, After trying to get some reds and trout to bite unsuccessfully, we ended up with 13 keeper sheep head and a few black drum. As the water started creeping towards 60 I shifted back to the reds and trout and by the way snook do not like cold water that’s why I have not mentioned them. The bite was not on fire but we did catch some reds and small trout a few pompano and some big sheep head. Hoping the water temp rises and the bait returns but until then we will keep shrimping on. Tight lines.

Captain Clarence Reed

Come down and enjoy a great Fort Myers Fishing Charter


The Best, WOW

As I sip my coffee and write this article I reflect back to my morning breakfast with redfish Charlie in Canada this fall. Mostly we would talk about fishing and sports but life as well. Charlie Thompson lived life to the fullest and enjoyed every minute of it that I noticed. We had a great trip to Canada, one that I will never forgot and all the time I spent with Charlie was just fun. I’ll miss that laugh and all the times he would say, “WOW” among other phrases.

We would fish a bunch in the spring and Charlie loved to catch fish and was a great cook as well. I remember one trip in particular when Charlene, Charlie’s wonderful wife was with us and we were on a school of reds which were mostly over sized but we did get our limit. This is when we gave Charlie his name redfish Charlie because he loved to catch redfish and even more share them on the table with family and friends. By the way Charlene caught the biggest redfish that day.

I look back at all the great times we had and all the great fishing trips and feel lucky to have such a great friend who I miss a lot. The spring wont be the same without Charlie texting me from the hotel with the binocular’s giving me the update on the tarpon migration. We lost a great man who loved his family and friends and life it self. Charlie was a muskie fisherman at heart but he is still known as Redfish Charlie to me. Farewell my friend L/U  PS He loved mangrove snapper too!!                                                                                           .photo (4)IMG_0957

Winter has arrived

We have had several strong cold fronts come through with not much of a chance to warm back up. With this being said the water temperatures have stayed below 65 for sometime and some lows around 58. This changes the game in a hurry and we need some new tactics for success. I will start to carry shrimp on my Sanibel fishing charters and Fort myers fishing charters and catching live bait as well but what happens is the fish slow down due to the colder water temps and they may not want to chase a bait fish down.

If this is the case then i go to a shrimp on a jig head 1/4 ounce or less and work them slow. We still are focusing on the redfish, snook and trout but we will also target sheepshead and black drum and some snapper and jacks. Its hard to complain about highs in the 60’s but this can make us work a bit more for our fish. Tight Lines.

Captain Clarence Reed 20160114_164838

Get out of the cold and enjoy a Sanibel fishing charter