Snook, Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper and world class redfishing continues to be strong in these parts, so if you have not gone out there by all means do so.
If you are new to the area, just coming down for the winter, or have never wet a line, I always suggest hiring a competent guide to get you on the fish. As a guide what else would you expect me to say?
At first, some balk at the idea of spending $400 or more to hire a guide and understandably so in these dire economic times. In the long run a couple of buddies, husband and wife, hiring a local guide will save money. It greatly increases your chances of catching fish and, more importantly, you learn in one outing what it would take many years of trail and error to learn. Simply pack a lunch and get on board.
Capt. George Tunison
Or rent a boat at $200-$300 a day, buy gas, rent some rods, buy some bait, try to keep it alive, try to figure out what lures to use and how to use them, and most importantly where to go to start fishing?
Yes, fishing is world class down here, but like most places fish are concentrated in certain areas dictated by wind, weather, tides, moon phases, water quality, temperature, and time of year. It's easy to fish all day here and never once be near fish. When you're on vacation and wanting to catch fish it's all about efficiency and getting the biggest bang for your buck.
As a full-time professional guide, when I explore new waters in other states I always get a guide. It simply saves me time and money.
This is the time of year when reds are most cooperative and are looking for your lure, fly or bait. As a matter of fact when finding a large school of reds on a flat it's not unusual to see a half dozen reds break out of the school and race each other to grab your spoon, fly or top water lure.
In the past month I've covered in detail the methods, lures, and baits, used to catch reds in the fall. Fire up the computer and check out the Breeze online. Go to my most recent online article and you will be able to access the archives showing my many past articles. These contain a wealth of information about catching the various species that inhabit our angler-friendly waters and certainly will help in the search to put fish on the hook.
These past weeks the redfish pattern has remained the same. Be on your favorite redfish flat before the sun rises. Remain quiet and watch for schooling activity. If the tides don't cover the flat look to the adjacent dropoffs or channel edges.
After sunup, on the higher tides, the reds will shelter under the mangroves edges when they leave the flats. If you are fishing a lower tide and the mangrove areas are dry, look to the potholes in 1-3 feet of water or again the drops and deeper edges.
With the cooling water temperatures many snook are leaving the beaches and passes to begin the journey to their winter time locations. Unlike reds, snook are very temperature sensitive and I pray that last year's super cold winter and the resulting massive snook and tarpon die off will not be repeated this year.
Surprisingly, snook fishing this year was really good with many caught and released. Not all snook move at the same time and this time of year you will find snook from the beaches to inland and everywhere in between.
Please release these fish carefully if you want your children's children to catch snook in the future.
Fish hard and be safe out there.
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Flying Fins Sportfishing.