After returning from a short vacation out west to Colorado to see the fall colors the weather is cooling down around southwest Florida and the fishing is good.
As cool fronts begin to arrive our waters are cooling down, fish are transitioning from summer to winter patterns and many of our migratory birds and fish are back in the area. I always know the season is changing when the white pelicans arrive for winter.
Snook are vacating their summer homes around the beaches and relocating throughout the inshore waters. If it remains relatively warm they may be found feeding over inshore flats, oyster bars, shorelines, and sand holes. If it turns cold quick they will seek shelter from the cold in protected areas like canals, rivers, and shorelines with deep water. Over the past few weeks we have caught snook in good numbers with the largest measuring 40 inches.
The large schools of big redfish that prowled the inshore flats over the last few months have thinned out. It’s still possible to run into a school, but most reds will be in pairs or small bunches. Many of our reds were catching mixed with snook.
Trout should be plentiful and feeding heavily on small bait fish, then as we near the end of the month as the water cools, shrimp well become the top bait. We have caught a good number of larger trout measuring up to 23 inches recently.
Gag grouper season is open throughout the month with larger fish moving near shore and inshore. Most anglers target grouper in the Gulf waters, but if you find some underwater structure inshore it could hold some good fish. Docks, piers, bridges, or any type of underwater debris is a good place to look, and it doesn’t have to be very deep. The grouper pictured measured 27 inches and was caught in 7 feet of water.
For action, mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, and jack crevalle are feeding on bait schools, and also expect an increase in species like pompano and sheepsheads. As the month wears on and the water gets cooler, large sheepsheads are moving from offshore to near and inshore.
As the waters of southwest Florida continue to cool this month there should be plenty of good fishing to keep anglers busy as fish are on the move and feeding as winter approaches. As we approach the Holiday Season there is no better place to be, than on the water away from the crowds.
“Catch the Action” with Captain Bill Russell