October 6th to October 12 2017 Fishing Report
CONDITIONS: What is becoming universally true is the the axiom “IRMA will be tough to forget throughout Southwest Florida. Marco Island took a major hit but those good neighbors south of us…….Goodland, Everglades City and Chokoloskee were devastated having lower geography and a more rural building structure level. The entire domain will be struggling with recovery for quite some time. And as we said last week it’s tough to get focused on a 20” redfish when your struggling to make basic like comforts available to your family. But these Floridans are stoic folks and they will endure and eventually “right the ship”. With that said we move on to thinking about the restoration in the months ahead. Our expected weather conditions then are important to examine both for the recovery for the populace and for the sport fishing environment. This coming week we see most days laced with periodic storm conditions……..most predictions are scattered storms both early morning and then reappearing late afternoon. The air temperatures are continuing to tail off slowly – expect morning temperatures to be “refreshing” mid 70’s with low humidity but then steadily climbing to mid 80’s by mid afternoon – still hot but no more “real feels” tickling 100 degrees. Water temperature will cool off very slowly with maybe a low 80 degrees by late week. But, you can tell fall is here with the reappearance of wind as a crucial factor. Forecasts late week have periods do steady variable direction winds with steady breezes in the low teens but gusts in the PM that exceed twenty knots. Last but not least the tides will have a stronger morning incoming and a moderate to weak afternoon / evening outgoing.
BACKWATER: From the fishing reports trickling in, it appears we are slowly moving back to normal. Live shrimp bait is being delivered daily and a handful of the charter boats are getting back into action. There is still a tone of caution however as you start back into was watery domains that you knew like the back of your hand……..strong currents have changed bottom topography and downed trees have altered the once familiar right-of-ways. The caution then is set a lookout, slow down and watch the Fathometer…..grounding or taking a submerged tree or 2×4 will ruin you’re boats day and your fishing trip. As for the fishing beginning to get some fair to good initial reports of action in the backwaters and surprisingly occurring at heretofore non-fishing spots. For example, the run up the ICW towards Rookery Bay has been showing some surprising action on redfish along the shallow east edges of West Johnson Island (check your chart) on the incoming tide working shrimp under a popper. Also heard that the very popular edges of Sea Oat and Cannon Island up near Hurricane Pass have lots of bottom changes with additional downed trees and brush…….but the action on snapper, small snook and redfish has a been good to very good on the incoming tide.
NEARSHORE: The water was clearing nicely late last week here but the rough wind mid week and that expected this coming week could put the kibosh to that especially out away from the sheltering beachfront. The latter will quiet the sea conditions as the wind gusts in from the east. The first and second reefs should hold returning bait schools drawing mackerel and bluefish (hopefully). You’ll want to give the topwaters a try with a flashy tipped jig pulled under a good chum effort. Bottom fishing should hol lots of retreating snapper and grouper working a tipped weighted jig pulled just off the bottom in the same chum slick.
OFFSHORE: Ditto out here on sea conditions and wind……..this is fall and those conditions are part of the fall weather fabric…….so learn to pick those right days and times to make the deep run. Bait is filing back into the reefs and the kings are following with the water still holding warm. Work a live runner on wire under a float and in a chum slick for best action close in to the structure. Don’t have any reports on the red grouper movement this past week but would surmise with the cool down they will start the exodus east for the winter season. Try 60’ hard bottom with a live pinfish tight to the bottom on a tidal drift to test for action.