Now's the time to get in your last licks on migratory tarpon in the Harbor and your personal hot spots along the beach or in a pass.
Normally I always remind that the bridges hold night time tarpon, but with the discharges from Lake O, I haven't fished them lately. Keep looking for diving birds to lead you to the schooling ladyfish or bait pods in the Harbor. Catch some and put them out, one under a balloon and free line one while you cast jigs.
If you really want a string stretching get in a fight with a big shark or two while they are still around. From the boat anchor up and hang chum blocks and chum the area with whatever stinky dead bait is available, such as ladyfish. Don't get carried away with the thrown chum, you're there to entice them not treat them to a full meal.
Capt. George Tunison
Looking for a really big one? I would fish at night near a pass using a stingray for bait. This is serious business as we have some really big sharks in our waters. Without the right equipment you will be spooled or broken and worse unnecessarily damaging a beautiful top predators.
If you are seriously going sharking be prepared with everything you need for a safe catch and a two-armed and all 10-fingered release. Bringing a shark into the boat is not for beginners. A human can bleed out in minutes long before help can ever arrive.
A shark is made of rubber and holding a three foot baby vertically by the tail for your Florida fishing picture is a sure way to get a great picture of your catch holding you by the thigh. Smile!
Never assume a shark is dead because he's not, he's playing possum and will bite long after you thought him dead. Any shark kept for the table should be bled immediately and iced at sea otherwise it's not worth harvesting as the meat will have been fouled.
Fall is in the morning air and September kicks off some great fishing in these parts. Tarpon are still here and biting. Look for canal tarpon again if we have big rains this week. Find a dam with fresh pouring into salt and you'll find biting tarpon. Again, sharks are willing biters and will remain with the tarpon till they leave. Snook are filling up in prep for the cold water period and now's a great time for bagging a true monster snook.
Hitting the docks at Punta Rassa with big equipment and live ladyfish could put a 40-pounder on your line. This is not for fairy wands, go in big. I'm fishing 80-pound Power Pro and 120-pound test leaders on a stout rod.
A big snook with the current behind him is a formidable foe and if you are lucky enough to turn him make sure you keep the pressure on and keep him coming till he is clear of structure or he will always find a way to break you off.
Snook location in the river will vary with the discharges. Go with a falling tide.
Fall is mac time, and kings and Spanish will gorge themselves in and around the passes and offshore. Birds are key to finding the biting schools so bring binoculars and scan the sky for birds cashing in on the slaughter from below. Jigs and spoons trolled or cast works as well as your choice of lures.
Long shank hooks for the jigs or a 3-inch piece of wire knotted to your main line with an Albright Knot works best.
Fall is schooling redfish time here in SW Florida. Nothing beats a cool September morning standing on the bow watching a big school prowl the flat inhaling everything in sight. That first cast and solid thump, fish on! Awesome!