October has arrived, and it continues to offer Southwest Florida anglers some productive fishing on most all of our fishing fronts, with a nice list of species that include redfish, snook, tarpon, trout, jack, bluerunner, ladyfish and shark in the inland passes and outer shoreline waters. Snook are being caught working lures near the mangroves early in the morning and afternoon hours. If you can fish during a high incoming or high falling tide, all the better.
While it is a little early, we should be seeing an increase in the numbers and size of sheepshead and black drum. Anglers will be using jigs tipped with cut shrimp, blood worms, fiddler crabs and sandfleas.
Our near and offshore fish havens, towers, wrecks and spots where there is hard bottom with some profile, will be offering anglers some grouper; the ratio of one keeper-size red grouper to as many as 20 undersized grouper caught will remain. Anglers who are able to fish with live bait, such as minnows or pinfish, just might improve their ratio of keeper-size grouper. Trolling deep running lures over the honey holes could also add some keeper-size grouper to the box.
Anglers should continue to be able to find some action stalking snook at the dock lights using lures, spoons, minnows and shrimp. Of course, there will also be a bunch of catfish working the bait under the lights. There should be some snook laying in the shadows out away from the light and deeper under the catfish. Adding a small weight to your shrimp or minnow and letting it drift toward the light just might put a snook on the hook.
Everything is looking good on most all of our fishing fronts, barring any cold fronts moving in that will bring northwest winds that will stir the Gulf waters up and drop the water temperature, slowing the fishing and catching down. Fishing the inland waters during the mid-day hours with a high incoming or high falling tide should be the best game plan, as the water should be a little warmer and fish in a better mood.
An e-mail just in: “Red, my family and I are coming down to the Naples area for the first time in a couple of weeks. We are staying at the LaPlaya Golf & Beach Resort. I like to walk the beach and fish a little when I can break away from the girls. I have a travel rod and reel, and then I will typically pack some silver crocodile spoons and some Zara Spooks. Is there anything I need to pack that you think might work better?”
Hi, thanks for the e-mail. It looks as if you have about every thing covered. The snook and some redfish have been running the beach shoreline. I would fish the early morning and afternoon hours. If the silver crocodile spoons and Zara Spooks are not working, switch to tipped jigs. Work them slowly for several casts, keeping them near the bottom. If no action, increase the rate of return, getting the jig off the bottom. Work the jigs faster if you have patches of bait with fish working them.
Take some live shrimp if there is any bait shop nearby. If you are using a fish stringer for the fish you catch, do not tie it to your body while wading the beach. I would also pick up a recent copy of the rules and regulations, and do not forget to obtain a fishing license.
Marco angler Joe Bagossy reports, “Hi Red, I’ve been fishing by the Jolly Bridge for seven years. I have more/less luck, as we know, day-by-day is different. About five weeks ago I caught a 42-inch snook. This afternoon, I caught a 40-inch, 23-pound redfish. I used cut bait for both. Me and my buddies are not too happy about a catwalk and unfortunately, the city won’t fix it. I just wanted to send a little news from the bridge side. Thank you, Joe.”
Hi Joe, thanks for the mail. From what I have been told, the catwalk might be rebuilt when the new construction on the bridge has started, due to an $800.000 grant from FEMA. I will get back to you if I find out anything else about it. Thanks for the mail and nice picture. Catch you later.
Do you have a fishing adventure to share? Upload your story and/or photos to yourmarco.com or send them to email@example.com. Red Stier is a biweekly contributor to the Marco Island Eagle. Questions or comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or 172 Trinidad St., Naples, Fla., 34113.