September 14th 2018 Fishing Report
CONDITIONS: Just when you think everything weather wise, is back to “ordinary” you get the wall to wall alerts of three tropical storms developing in the Atlantic. None of the three are currently predicted to give us another IRMA shot but we could well get the periphery touches of wind and inundative t-storms as outfalls. But for the moment, we’ll leave all that alone with out fingers crossed and work with what we know. First and foremost, it looks like the red tide effect in waning very quickly. Reports and personal experience this past week indicates that fishing, especially in the backwaters, is back to normal. The snapper, our late summer / early fall champion here is showing in good numbers and in good size and will be there to rescue most trips these coming weeks. The important factors like disruptive storms and tidal strength are both showing favorable. There is very little sustained storm weather predicted but you can always get surprised this time of year by singular black clouds that dump on your parade……need to live through that this time of year. Otherwise it’s a good tide week with predictable and moderate tides that will give you good conditions both morning and afternoon. Lastly, the water temperature continues to tumble with the average this coming week being pegged at from 81 to 83. So, bottom line, keep a eye on the tropical storms but get out there and enjoy the week.
BACKWATER: Albeit, there are still some pockets of water back here that are fouled……not so much with the red tide issues but rather just “dirty water” conditions caused by rain intrusions as well are weakened tidal flow. The fish action therein is minimal to say the least. So, take a look at the water clarity on your chosen spot. You can test by tying on a white jig and let it out 5-6’…….can’t see it ?…..pick up the anchor and move. You can’t see it; neither can the target fish. However, with the red tide free water coupled with the good tides this past week, you’ll have a hard time missing nice clean productive water. Look for the mangrove edges all along Addison Bay to be harboring a good size snapper population. They will be feeding actively and be hiding in those shady edges where there is good tidal flow and are definitely hungry as they sense the cooler weather approaching. Shrimp, with set on a jig head with a four foot leader under a popping cork or just flat out worked across the bottom with a hunk of shrimp on a weighted jig head. Elsewhere, good action on pelagics in the Passes on the early hours of either tide for pompano and mackerel working tipped jigs tight to the bottom on a tidal induced drift. Redfish, a customary fall target are beginning to show along the deeper edges of flats in Johnson Bay and deep in Rookery Bay by Henderson Creek. Shrimp worked tight to the edge overhangs should get you action.
NEARSHORE: Conditions staying favorable here especially for fast action pelagics. The slightly cooler water has energized the mackerel / bluefish to an upsurge in action all along the first and second reef spots especially on the morning incoming. Look for surface to bird action…set up and get some chum in the water and work those tipped jigs with a fast retrieve under a good chum effort. Can well be little tunny (aka bonito) in the mix and if so, switch over to a wire leader and a small hunk of cut bait. Nice action on the tunny but not much on the table. The Five Mile Reef has been showing up with nice action on both lane and mangrove snapper. Work with tipped weighted jigs over a good chum effort just off the bottom.
OFFSHORE: Seems there is still some evidence of the red tide offshore. There is a band of water in the vicinity of the 15-18 mile range that continues to display dead fish on the surface. Last week we described this layer as being caused by the strong tidal current following the Gulf bottom contour and distributing demised fish from the Lee County environs by current driven inshore waters. Would cautiously recommend to work waters on either side of this waning domain. Deeper wrecks that hold bait should provide good opportunity for kings and cobia up top and snapper, porgies working deeper out here. You’ll need live runners up top for the kings and a surface worked threadfin for the sneaky cobia. Both species well worth the effort.