Fishing after hurricane Irma and fall season report
Capt. Alex Zapata
October 22, 2017
Biscayne Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report
The entire estate of Florida just went through one of the worst natural disasters to date in recent history: the Hurricane Irma. After causing havoc and total destruction in the Caribbean, The Giant storm entered the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane, then went over the whole state as a category 3 hurricane and left as a still powerful tropical storm, bringing Florida plus for 4 more other states to their knees. Flooding, lost of power, property damages, fallen trees among other issues were the aftermath of Irma's path. The Florida Keys, most specially the lower keys suffered substantial damage and destruction and were the most affected area in the state of Florida.
I'm blessed and happy to say that nothing happened to my property and fishing vessels. It took me at least 10 days after the hurricane before I was able to get back on the water to assess all the changes that the storm made to the fishery.
As far as Biscayne bay, the most visible changes happened in the ocean side shorelines, where the storm surge almost "moved the shoreline in", destroying some of the vegetation and dumping more sand, sediment and debris into the shores. As result, most ocean side shorelines now have bigger and wider sandbars. It will take some time before this new shoreline and bottom configurations begin to hold crustaceans, sea worms bait fish and such, whom will start to bring the permit, bonefish and tarpon back to their feeding grounds. As far as the inside and bayside flats, no major changes were noted.
As per the fishing, the fall bait migration is in full force and with the bait, the tarpon and snook have been actively feeding along the shorelines and bays. We have had some very good days catching good numbers of baby to mid size tarpon and some snook in Biscayne Bay. Find the bait and the predators won't be too far behind.
Fall Time comes with the biggest tides of the year. Like I have said before, Big tides can be negative or very positive for fishing, as long as you know how to utilize them in your favor.
Permit love big tides and strong current. with the right weather conditions and visibility, the fall can be a great time to encounter big numbers of big permit feeding on the flats. The permit fishing has been great when the right tide conditions have lined up with clear skies and moderately light winds.
Bonefishing can be a bit tough in the fall due to big tides but those big tides send them to areas that they don't normally access due to lack of water and food. Do your homework finding those places and you'll find bones. You'll also see fish actively mudding during the lowest stages of the tides. This is also a great time to fish for big mangrove snapper, big mutton snapper and barracuda. A live well full of pilchards or finger mullet always gets the job done.
As we get into November, we will soon be making the transition into winter time. The first cold fronts will start to move in and with that, some other great fishing opportunities and scenarios will open up.
That's it for now. Go fishing and take the kids with you!
Capt Alex Zapata
Flats fishing guide
IFFF certified fly casting instructor
Miami, Everglades and the keys
Biscayne Bay Fishing Forecast:
There has been plenty of tarpon and snook feeding on finger mullet and pilchards. Fishing for these species will continue to be good for the reminder of the bait migration. We are not
Far from cold front activity. Snapper and barracuda are the highlight of cold weather in Biscayne Bay. Expect that to get better as the water tempts start to drop. Some great days of bonefishing can be had in winter time as well. Fishing in the Everglades goes off in winter time.
Tarpon, snook, permit, snappers, barracuda
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