Captain Chris Johnson of SeaSquared Charters out of Marathon reported that if you’re looking for yellowtail snappers in the 18- to 20-inch size, then your best bet is to fish the deeper reefs in 70 to 90 feet of water with cut bait. Large mutton snappers are being caught over the deeper wrecks. Over the shallower patch reefs in 35 to 50 feet of water, lots of mangrove snappers, smaller yellowtail snappers and some nice groupers are eating cut baits and small live pinfish. There is still plenty of legal-size lobster to be caught in his area.
Local Jon Masel and his father-in-law, Rodney Raub, of Michigan fished Biscayne Bay and caught over 20 fish on light tackle during a half-day fishing charter with captain Alan Sherman of Get Em Sportfishing Charters. The catch included sea trout to 18 inches, bluerunners, mangrove snappers, lizardfish and jack crevalles to 12 pounds. The fish were caught on Rapala X Raps and live baits fished under a Cajun Thunder float. Captain Andy Roydhouse of Fishing Headquarters out of Fort Lauderdale reported the catch of a large cubera snapper during a day charter on the Out of Control with captain Adam Reckert. The huge snapper ate a whole butterflied bonito fished on the bottom in 300 feet of water offshore of Port Everglades.
Captain Ted Benbow of Skins and Fins Fishing Charters and Guides out of Holiday Isles Marina in Islamorada reported on the shallow flats his anglers continue to have steady action from bonefish, permits and small tarpon. On the Florida Bay side, his anglers are doing well on slot-size snook on cut pilchards fished on the bottom in the channels. Lots of lemon, bulls and blacktip sharks are available for those who want to feel the pull of a big fish. The sharks are eating large chunks of ladyfish fished in the channels.
Kandiss Molitor from the Juno Fishing Pier reported pier fishermen are catching lots of snook, Spanish mackerel, big jacks, bonitos and bluerunners. Big schools of mullet and smaller baitfish are around the pier. Captain Charlie Conner’s FishTales Charters out of Port St. Lucie reported the water in the Fort Pierce area has finally cleared up. The fall mullet run is in full swing along the beaches and in the surf. Feeding on the mullet are tarpon, snook, jacks, sharks and bluefish. Look for these fish in ocean inlets as well.
Captain Jim Hale of Florida Sportfishing Charters reported finding a giant school of redfish along the shorelines between Shark River and the Harney River. Quite a few snook were in the same areas as the redfish and most of these fish were eating live shrimp. Captain Jason Sullivan of Rising Tide Charters reported working the outside Florida Bay flats with fly and top water baits and having steady action from baby tarpon and redfish. Sullivan’s angler was Marcel Moreno of Miami.
Captain Rob Modys of Soul Mate charters out of Fort Myers reported water quality in the Estero Bay and near shore Gulf waters is improving. Large schools of bait are holding along the beaches. Large schools of mackerel are working the baitfish schools. Redfish are on the flats and eating cut ladyfish. The near-shore reefs and rock piles are holding huge snook, flounder, trout, pompano, snapper and grouper.
Captain Michele Shellen of Shellen Guide Service out of Buck Head Ridge reported the east side of the lake is where you want to fish now. Water temperatures have dropped a little, and that has resulted in longer feeding periods from largemouth bass.