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Captains report top notch Estero Bay redfish bite

Capt. Rob Modys
August 20, 2015
Fort Myers - Saltwater Fishing Report

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Warm weather with afternoon thundershowers will continue to be the norm for the next week or so. Early morning is best for the catch, so get out there and wet a line as soon as possible. Once the heat of the day sets in, all bets are off.

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Capt. Neil Eisner of Fishing The Flats Charters noted that a switch from pinfish to live shrimp made the difference this past week. He put them on a chartreuse jig and then worked the backcountry mangroves for redfish. That setup also let him get away from the dock by 7 am. Early morning fishing is a must this time of the year and the earlier you can be on the water the better. Pitch the jig and shrimp up under the mangrove overhangs for slot redfish, snook and mangrove snapper. They're waiting there to be caught. 

Capt. Jon Fetter of Catching The Cure Charters said the longer tides this past week allowed anglers to stay in their favorite shallow spots a little longer and chase the redfish. They have been hanging out around the oyster bars and mangroves on higher water. Free lining pinfish or live shrimp on 2/0 circle hooks with a split shot, or using cut bait all seemed to work. Moving near the bushes allowed for using shrimp under corks and got a mix of reds and mangrove snapper. If you run into more snapper than reds, downsize the hooks to 1/0 and use just enough shrimp to cover them up. Spotted seatrout, whiting, silver trout and ladyfish have been feeding well on the flats outside the passes in 5 to 10 feet of water.  Dragging shrimp tipped jig heads along the bottom or working Berkley Gulp Shrimp under popping corks worked well. 

Capt. Alex Dolinski of Spot On Charters noted that the near shore reefs were steady this past week with seatrout, snook, pompano, spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper. The pompano and trout were hitting live shrimp on a 1/8 ounce jig slowly worked along the sand bottom near the reef piles. Mackerel and snapper are closer to the rocks and were hitting shrimp that was free-lined behind the boat in the current. Snook have been loving the live pinfish on a 3/0 circle hook weighted with a small split shot of lead. The back waters have been solid with our higher morning tides. Redfish from 17 to 32 inches have been eating cut pin fish, large shrimp and cut mullet along the mangrove edges. Snook have been eating around the oyster bars on the dropping tides and have been best on a top water plug or live pinfish free-lined in the current. Mangrove snapper and flounder have also been around the oyster bars at mid-tide and love a shrimp tail on a jig slowly worked along the bottom.

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Capt. Greg Stamper of Snook Stamp Charters said the redfish are in full swing and are being caught in all sizes. Throwing artificial lures early in the morning proved to be the fun thing to do this past week. Top water and swim baits worked best along mangroves and blow downs as long as the anglers could skip them up under the overhangs without getting hung up. Shrimp tipped jigs and cut baits will work just fine if constant casting isn't your thing. Snook continued to feed on both pinfish and pilchards tossed along shorelines that have good current. The beaches, during outgoing tides, have produced good numbers of snook mostly in the 18 to 27 inch range, however an occasional pig shows up, so use a minimum 30 pound leader to tackle those big girls. There's also been a hodgepodge of Gulf species this past week with bluefish, pompano, small flounder and spanish mackerel eating on the nearshore reefs.

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Capt. Bill Curtis onboard the Fish-N-Tales ran several nearshore trips over the past week that brought lots of action to his anglers. At 20 miles offshore they were able to catch some pretty nice red grouper with good numbers and size using frozen squid and cut threadfin herrings. Catches have also included lane snapper up to 16 inches, mangrove snapper around the same size and plenty of porgies on most trips. For drag screaming action there have also been plenty of atlantic sharpnose sharks to wrestle with.

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