Tag Archives: fishing report

Fall can be a very productive time of year to fish. Water temperatures start to come back down and the fish become a bit more active. Boca Grande and Englewood offshore temperatures are already starting to creep below 80 degrees. Inshore Charlotte Harbor, snook and reds are starting to become more plentiful. Target these guys in the morning with your favorite topwater lure of choice. Our favorite topwater is Heddon’s spook one knocker in the bone color. Another good choice is the spook XT because the hooks are a bit sturdier and you are less likely to lose that monster snook. When using topwater lures, you want to utilize the “walk the dog” action. This involves a steady twitch and reel which takes a bit of practice, but once you get it dialed in, it’s game on. All too often we see folks overwork these lures either by twitching too hard or not twitching enough. You want to work the lure hard enough to get it to move side to side to activate the rattle but not so hard that you are pulling it out of the water. One of the most important things to remember is to NOT set the hook. A topwater lure produces violent reaction strikes, so many times the fish will miss the lure on that initial strike. Jerking or setting the hook will pull the lure away from the fish and you will most likely not be able to tease them back. However, if you keep that steady twitch, reel action consistent after the initial strike, you are more likely to receive successive strikes, increasing your hook up ratio. For topwater fishing, I prefer to use a 7’ rod with a 3000 or 4000 reel spooled up with 15lb braid and 30lb fluorocarbon. Always tie a loop knot to the lure to allow for even more action.

The trout bite has still been consistent and we’ve been catching them on topwater, live bait and other lures of choice such as Mirrolures’s mirrodine. For those that prefer live bait, I like to use a Bomber popping cork with about a 3’ flouro leader to target trout or a free lined white bait on a 5 or 6 ott hook to target snook and reds.

As fall approaches, be on the lookout for those massive schools of redfish. You’ll find them up in the flats foraging for food and eating everything in sight. These schools are very easy to spot and have a tendency to stay in the same areas for several days moving with the tides. So if you find them in a specific area today, check that area tomorrow during the similar tide. When you do find them, use your trolling motor to get ahead of the school so you have more time and better opportunity for bait placement.

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The snapper and grouper bite has been great as well. Find a good patch of hard bottom, mark fish on your machine, and make a few test drops before deciding to anchor. Once you find a good number of fish, cut up that bonita you caught on the way out into large 6” triangular strips and send that to the bottom. I like to use a 3’ length of 50lb fluorocarbon leader with a 7 to 8ott circle hook with anywhere from 3 to 6oz of lead. Once the lead hits the bottom, reel up a crank or two so the lead is not getting snagged and you have a head start on getting that monster off the ocean floor. We pulled in several 27”+ red grouper using this tactic on our last trip out. While waiting for that big guy, drop a ¼ or ½ oz jighead with cutbait or livebait hooked through the mouth to target snapper. Remember to grab a couple bags of ice to toss in that Pelican cooler so you can keep your catch iced, fresh and ready for dinner.

Another reminder is to wear sun protective clothing and sunscreen where skin is exposed. Remember to reapply after swimming or diving. Our favorite brand of sun protective clothing is Huk. They are the top of the line and most stylish fishing shirt on the market. Hats, visors, and gaiters are also available with a multitude of color and style selections.

So if you’re ready to get out and catch some fish, feel free to give us a call at 941-698-0323.

Florida Inshore Xtream charters
Captains Jesse McDowall and Kelly Eberly
https://www.floridainshorextream.com

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Okay, trout are definably on what we would say “the hunt”. They are hungry and looking for anything to eat! They’re mostly eating live bait like shrimp and white bait. When you find an area with plenty of trout, try changing up to soft plastics and have some fast fun. Soft plastics are a very good way to cover a large area quickly. Most of the time you’ll find the fish stacked up in the potholes at low tide and along the bars throughout the harbor. These are prime spots for tossing soft plastic. Many times when you find a good spot with plenty of trout, you’ll probably be catching just about everything… snook, reds, trout…oh and don’t forget the all elusive channel cat! One of my other favorite fish finding baits would be a shrimp and a popping cork. Bomber makes one that is very hard to beat. The Paradise Popper has a titanium wire which is very strong and will hold shape even after the most brutal of onslaughts. Another effective way to rig that cork other than the traditional 24 inches of flouro and a 6/0 circle hook is to substitute that circle hook for a ¼ oz jig head and soft scented plastics like mirro-lure’s lil’ jon or a Berkley gulp shrimp. With this method you get the best of both worlds the noisy popping action and the speed of the jig. I like to fish this if I am in a situation where my bait is limited.

This time of year the hot bite can be on shrimp one day and something else the next so it doesn’t hurt to pick up a few dozen live shrimp every time you go fishing because snook and reds love them as well. We’ve had very mild weather for the most this year… and there are still plenty of snook popping under the mangroves so try the topwater baits throughout the day. I use them as an indication of how aggressive the bite is. If they blow it out of the water then I’d say they are pretty active and keep slinging it. If they swat at it lazily and are not really crushing it then you might want to assess your approach and either slow down the retrieve or switch to another bait that you can work a little more slowly like the jig and popper cork I mentioned earlier. If we can get the wind to back off a bit I’d also recommend some of the near shore reef fishing. Soon the sheepshead will stack up on the artificial reefs and live shrimp will dominate as the go to bait choice. The beaches are still very productive as are our pass fishing like Boca Grande. Get out to the beaches or run out of a pass… all it takes is a half mile or so out off the beach… back down the throttle a bit, and look for the birds or fish flying out of the water. You’re sure to find large schools bonito and spanish mackerel. The outgoing tides are going to be the hot ticket as it dumps any remaining bait out into the Gulf. Flounder move offshore in the fall and winter months to spawn, so when you find some… there should be more in the area. Watch your bottom machine for structure and drops and work around them with those live shrimp as well. Some really nice flounder have been the guest of honor at several dinner tables lately so keep an eye out for them. Out on the beaches and out several miles be on the lookout for bonito, black fin tuna, spanish and king mackerel. Mackerel are making their fall run and are in big numbers and offer a great opportunity to bend a rod. Scoop up a few nets of big threadfin herring and see why we call them “smoker Kings”. Just look for the birds and keep your head on a swivel while running from one spot to another and I’m sure you’ll spot them with ease.

If you’re ready to get out and see how Kelly and I do it, give us a jingle at 941- 698- 0323. You may also find us on Facebook, Instagram or our web page www.FloridaInshoreXtream.com. Well folks, you know the deal…gotta get on out and get my FIX on! So … tight lines and y’all stay safe!!

Capt. Jesse McDowall
Florida Inshore Xtream Charter services
941-698-0323
www.floridainshorextream.com
jesse@fixcharters.com