Dodging the rainstorms is an angler's afternoon drill in Southwest Florida.
If you can't get out early don't let the rains stop your fishing. A falling barometer and light drizzle or shower may actually help you produce big numbers of fish. Common sense prevails as far as lightning, but a cloudy, rainy day inshore, on the pond, or offshore puts me and millions of other anglers worldwide in fishing mode.
The lowered light conditions, lower temps, and a cooling rain that not only cools but oxygenates the water all serve to get fish moving. Up north, muskie fanatics flock to the ramps when the weather starts to turn bad. This definitely is a fish that loves weather changes and nasty conditions.
Capt. George Tunison
Besides tidal movements caused by the sun and moon, the barometer is another vital key in understanding fish behavior. Typically, an approaching storm and falling barometer stimulates the feed. A high pressure, cloudless, bluebird day after a three-day weather front makes hooking up tough for guide and weekend warriors alike. Those days I do boat and tackle maintenance if I have a choice.
Your next inshore live bait or lure bite may put you in the 40-inch plus snook club. Snook seem to be prowling just about everywhere. Still, a large number are patrolling the beaches and passes in love mode, but many have turned back toward their cool months hideouts and can be found practically anywhere during this transition.
Oyster bar edges, points of islands with current flow, creek mouths, and intracoastal and river docks are four spots to always try as snook make their way back home. They eventually end up in the basins and canals of Cape Coral, Fort Myers and far upriver when winter water temperatures put these sub-tropical fighters in near suspended animation.
The Sanibel Causeway is a great place to cast jigs up current and bounce them back along bottom. No boat? No problem. The beach walking angler still can score big on this low-tech fishery. Cast a white bucktail with a little yellow trim into the surf zone as you walk along. Casting parallel to the beach brings more strikes rather than casting out into the deeper water.
Some very large fish can be caught this way. Take a rod, some water, release tools, and a pocketful of bucktails. I like to walk around the passes casting in all directions and covering ground. I've been high speed spooled more than once by unseen trophies.
A good pair of polarized glasses is key as well as a long brimmed hat, which will help you spot the snook hopefully before they spot you in this ultra clear water.
All of the nice big solo reds we've been catching are starting to school up. This fall promises to be a fantastic season on school reds as thousands gather inshore to feed before leaving for spawning duties.
During this period the lure and fly angler score big as hungry school reds become highly competitive and readily give chase to spoons, flies and topwater plugs. To see 2-3 big reds all try to eat your Zara Spook at once is a blast and it's hard to remember to keep the lure steadily moving till it finally gets eaten.
It's not uncommon to catch five to 30 reds or more during a morning's outing in October, arriving back at the dock by 10 a.m. These school flats fish typically average 4-10 pounds with bigger bruisers in the mix generally not more than 20 pounds.
Be on site before sun-up and remain quiet as you scan the flats for tails or "nervous water" as a herd of reds pushes across a flat devouring everything that moves in front of them as they scour the bottom.
For a trophy 50-pounder, fish the bottom at Boca or Redfish Pass with shrimp, crabs, or my favorite, a large pinfish.
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.flyingfinssportfishing,com.