Redfishing is starting to get better and better as the weeks go by and September through December should be another banner redfishing season.
Right now, my clients aboard Flying Fins are catching reds under the bushes and on potholes mostly on live and dead pinfish, cut ladyfish and even frozen large shrimp as well as an assortment of frozen fish.
If I had to give the nod to one bait right now it would be a live pinfish fished under a cork, or freelined under the bushes, or cast around potholes. When pleasure fishing I'm not much of a bait fisherman, but I am a lure and fly rod nut. Lately about 50 percent of my charters for redfish are lure or fly anglers. If you are new to redfishing our beautiful waters and don't like to mess with catching, keeping, and handling live or dead baits, redfish love lures, especially when they start to school.
Anglers who have grown up casting lures to largemouth bass "up north" have little trouble using their same equipment and offerings to cash in on some of the Florida's best redfishing.
In shallow waters reds go for top waters with gusto and because of their underslung mouths they will sometimes take several swipes at a topwater plug before getting hooked. Many novices get "buck fever" and snatch the lure away at a red's first attempt. Just keep the plug moving and the fish usually will find the hooks.
Almost any plug in your bass box will work. I like to upgrade my bass plugs with stainless split rigs and stronger saltwater hooks. Reds love soft plastic jerk baits. A D.O.A. plastic shrimp skip cast under a bush or dock is a fine choice. Maybe the best hard lure of all for local reds is the simple-to-use gold spoon. Cast them out, crank them in and the redfish will take care of the rest.
Take care not to destroy the action by reeling too fast. Do not spin your spoon. Just crank it fast enough to make it wobble back and forth. When casting a lure to any redfish school, cast to the edges so as to not spook the entire school.
n Capt. Roy Bennett of Hot One II Charters tells me that after a couple weeks of good to excellent tarpon fishing off Fort Myers Beach, it seems to have come to an end. Hopefully, only temporarily. In the meantime there are lots of nice-sized mangrove snappers and trout to fill the tarpon void. You will find them in and around the Pine Island Sound passes. The water in the Sound seems to be clearer now that Blind Pass is open again.
Reds are good in my favorite potholes with an occasional bull thrown in to make things fun. Good reports of offshore grouper and bigger grey snapper.
n Capt. Rob Modys of SoulMate Charters reports the baitfish are everywhere. Schools of them can be found on Fort Myers Beach and Lover's Key. On the grass flats of Estero Bay the pinfish are thick and are easy to chum up for netting. The redfish bite suddenly has picked up after being so-so for several months. It seems they finally got hungry and pinfish is what they are looking for.
Capt. Rob also recommends that you try cut baits like ladyfish and frozen threadfin herring as well. The trout bite is still on fire. Work any of the grass flats near the passes on an outbound tide with pinfish or whitebait under popping corks.
Mangrove snapper are doing well in the north part of Estero Bay near the oyster bars. Find a bar with a deep cut in it and you will find the mangrove snappers.
If you want steady action head to the May Reef area and bend your rod on the thousands of Spanish mackerel. They will hit almost anything thrown their way.
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Flying Fins Sportfishing.