September is one of the warmest months of the year with air temperatures in the mid 90s and water temperatures in the upper 80s. Rain is almost a guarantee after 2pm, the water gets hot and the bite shuts off. The Sea Trout and Pompano are not as abundant as they are through most of the year due to the salinity of the water. The month of September is known for the great Snook fishing, as they are usually everywhere, along with Tarpon and a few Redfish. Featured below is long time client Greg with a solid 34 incher. The only one of the month of September.
The Redfish bite was on fire, they were in every Snook haunt. Mullet is the prime bait in September and the Redfish seemed to be beating the other fish to the baits. Artificial lures were working great in the mornings until about 10am and that is when you need the Mullet. They are best rigged under a popping cork to allow the bait to stay at the desired depth and off the bottom. It also helps my clients known when they get that hit.
Just some the best September Redfish fishing I have seen in a long time. It is usually like this in October.
Even at the docks we were catching Redfish. They were just everywhere. Then the last week of September, Hurricane Ian caused a massive storm surge to hit the south western coast of Florida – the largest in over a 100 years. The area where I primarily take my clients, The 10,000 Islands Preserve, was spared the brunt of the damage. The area did have a 5 to 6 foot storm serge, but was spared the wind. This actually cleaned out the mud and sediment that builds up in the Mangroves and Oyster Bars throughout the year, allowing the natural filters to clean the waters. It also allows the many different crabs, shrimp, young fry(baitfish) and predators a better habitat. Other areas of the coast were not spared. The City of Naples was hit with a 9 foot storm surge along the coast. This caused damage to the coastal homes and marinas. I am sad to say the Naples Fishing Pier needs to be rebuilt. The good news is that we are Florida strong about 90% of the business are back up and in operation, and as my client Rick has told me the golf courses are all good as well. The areas to the North of Collier County(aka Naples) were not as lucky. Ian did major damage to Bonita Beach, Estero Bay, Ft Myers Beach, Sanibel Island, Cape Coral, Boca Grande, Punta Gorda, and Port Charolette. Some of the coastal areas will need to be completely rebuilt, the CAT4 Hurricane know as Ian brought a 12 foot storm and winds that were sustained at 140+ mph to the area for a 10 hr event. Any support you can give to these areas is greatly appreciated #gulfcoaststrong .
Pictured above is the marina and the waters 3 days after the storm. Spared and blessed is the only words that come to mind. Everyone wants to know what it did to the fishing. Other than the freak cold front that came down in the middle of October, it has been great. The waters are clean and the fishing has been outstanding. October is known for Redfish, but not this year. The Snook bite has been great! Using all artificial lures, due to the lack of bait at the local markets, the Snook fishing has been the best we have seen in October. The Redfish are around as well taking the same baits which have been the watermelon shad color, in a 3inch paddle tail soft plastic.
After the cold front that went through, the Sea Trout really turned on. At a couple of spots, we were catching a fish on every cast. Tarpon are starting their fall migration to the south and have already started entering the bays. And the Snook fishing continues to be great. Do not wait too long to book.
All and all, we are doing good here in the south. I hope to put you on some great fishing this season. It is going to be a great bite! Give me a call if interested in a trip into the 10,000 Islands.
Tight Lines and thank you,
Captain Jim Fortman