It’s the end of August here in Southwest Florida and it sure has been a hot one. It was a fairly uneventful month weather wise, with the usual barrage of heat, humidity and afternoon storms. It’s not a terrible time to be a local, spend some time lounging in the pool and get your fishing in early or late, after 10am the bite has generally slowed down as fish hide deep in the bushes to cool down.
Tarpon: There was an epic tarpon bite for a couple weeks in Charlotte Harbor. Big numbers of fish were caught on both lures and live baits. Looking for pods of busting ladyfish or birds normally turned into a tarpon frenzy. There are also many good reports of tarpon feeding on bait balls along the Sanibel Beaches to Hickory Pass. Try fishing early or late before boat traffic and heat shut down the bite.
An amazing amount of very picky tarpon shacked up around the Matlacha bridge. They were keyed in on tiny glass minnows and pilchards and ignored most live baits and lures. We did hook into a couple using small finger mullet free lined on top. It was fun to watch hundreds of fish smashing bait, albeit frustrating not hooking up very often.
The night bite has been great as well around deep water channels and bridges. Large soft baits like Hogy’s HDUV Jigging Baits and finger mullet have been working very well. Make sure to fish the best portion of the tides for quick results.
Pine Island Sound: Getting on the water well before sunrise can offer great angling for those who heed the wake up call. Predawn redfishing can be great over most of Northern Pine Island Sound. The East Wall is beginning to hold schools of redfish as we move into the fall months. Phil Lawson had a great morning catching redfish and snook on topwater spooks before sunrise. As soon as the sun came up, the flats boats began buzzing the flats, putting the fish down.
Caloosahatchee River: When the tide is right, night fishing around the Cape Coral bridge has been fair to good for medium sized snook and resident tarpon. Swinging small jigs and soft baits along the light lines has been working well. Anglers soaking live and fresh dead ladyfish are consistently hooking tarpon as well. The large pods of small threadfin and anchovy have moved out of the mid river area, taking a large portion of the tarpon with them.
Sanibel/San Carlos Bay: We got several excellent reports of bull redfish and monster snook being caught on the Sanibel Pier during afternoon outgoing tides. Redfish had been biting well on cut bait and snook were eating oversized live baits fished with weight on the bottom. Some of these snook exceeded 47″, like this one caught by Sam Roberts.