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Estero Bay has the redfish schooling up for Fall

Capt. Rob Modys
October 8, 2015
Fort Myers - Saltwater Fishing Report

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The weather has certainly been more Fall like over the past week with somewhat cooler weather in the mornings and then warm afternoons. Light rain showers are back and the forecast is for warming temperatures as we head through the weekend. I like to refer to this time of year as Red October, here in southwest Florida, because of the sheer numbers of redfish that are caught. It's looking good this year. The captains are reporting lots of them in all sizes.

Capt. Jon Fetter of Catching The Cure Charters noted that the Fall fishing pattern has started and that means hungry fish. The redfish are feeding on just about anything from artificial top water plugs to cut ladyfish. Anglers looking for these spot tails should fish the oyster bars and surrounding flats with the tidal flows. They are hanging around the transition zones looking for food. Shrimp on 2/0 circle hooks with a number 3 split shot or shrimp under popping corks are both working well. On higher water they can be found along the mangrove edges in the shade under the overhanging limbs.  Chumming helps bring them out. Break up shrimp or cut ladyfish and give it some time to work. When the tide goes slack there are plenty of snapper in the same area that continue to feed so they are a perfect time waster while waiting for the tide and the reds to return.

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Capt. Alex Dolinski of Spot On Charters reported on a recent fly fishing trip in Estero Bay. His angler, Gary, caught and released two redfish at 23 inches. Both reds ate a fly patterned after a pinfish that he tied for the trip. Working the mangrove points just south of Hendry Creek put more fish in the boat. They added jacks and a few small snook using a green and yellow Clouser Minnow tossed into the outgoing current around the oyster bars.

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Capt. Steve Sewell of Hawgwild Charters said the redfish are starting to school up for their Fall spawn. Even if you don't find them schooling on the flats, look for them under the bushes on high tides. Bait has been a little tough to net, but there are plenty of ladyfish and the reds love eating them. After you catch a few either put them in a live well or on ice. The fresher the better. When fishing the mangrove edges try to cast where the wind is blowing into the bushes. The oil in the chunks of ladyfish will drift with the wind under the bushes and the reds should respond within about 15 to 20 minutes. If no bites move down 50 to 100 yards and try again. Be persistent and it won't take long to find them.

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Capt. Larry Hendricks of Tall Tails Charters said he made it out several times this past week. The winds only allowed for one reef trip but they got on the fish, including a dandy 32 inch gag grouper. Inshore fishing took up the rest of the trips and were a little up and down with the wind and rain. Fishing the docks in Pine Island Sound got his angers on redfish, mangrove snapper, jacks, snook and black drum.

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Capt. Kevin Bellington of Sea Gone Fishing Charters got in one last red grouper trip off of Marco Island before the season closed. On board were Bass Pro manager Chuck Stevens and Justin Milson. The crew got some nice big red grouper along with the usual snapper suspects while using cut baits on the bottom.

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Capt. Greg Stamper of Snook Stamp Charters reported that another week of cooling weather and one "almost" hurricane kept the fish chewing. Estero Bay was great all week, even with the churned up dirty water. There were plenty of mid slot and rat redfish caught all week, both on open water and along mangrove shorelines. Snook, although not huge, were more than happy to eat both live pinfish and cut ladyfish. Another week of good trout fishing continued in Pine Island Sound as hoards of small baits moved through. Pompano, spanish mackerel, jacks and of course ladyfish continue to cruise the passes.

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