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Unusually warm weather continues. Great fishing

Capt. Rob Modys
December 23, 2015
Fort Myers - Saltwater Fishing Report

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If you can make the escape from all the holiday merriment you'll most likely have one of the best fishing trips of the year. A full moon combined with unusually warm weather should but the fish on the feed and lead to quality catches in both inshore and offshore waters.

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Capt. Neil Eisner of Fishing The Flats Charters reported great redfish action over the previous week with lots of quality fish. Using live shrimp on a lead head jig worked best. Afternoon incoming tides found the fish hunting for bait under the mangrove overhangs. Netted pilchards from the beaches got the mid size snook and large jacks attention in the deep cuts. The seatrout are back on the flats and in a big way. Again, pilchards on circle hooks worked best in three to four feet of water.

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Capt. Steve Sewell of Hawgwild Charters said that when the wind is not blowing the offshore bite is on fire. Grouper, snapper and porgies are biting better then he's seen in 20 years due to the warm weather. Anywhere from 40 to 60 feet of water have been producing grouper in big numbers. 50 to 60 fish per trip with weights up to 15 pounds. The porgies have been common in the 8 pound range. All you need is shrimp tipped jigs. Nearshore are cobia, permit and kingfish and a lot of tarpon. He's been jumping 8 to 12 poons per day. Big threadfin herring are the hot bait. The fish were caught from Knapps Point, off of Sanibel Island, to Gordon's Pass near Naples in 12 to 20 feet of water. Inshore the seatrout bite has been remarkable with 25 to 50 fish days and lots of snook mixed in. The go-to bait has been pilchards in the 3 to 4 inch range.

Capt. Jon Fetter of Catching The Cure Charters said that variety was the spice of life this past week as anglers were able to fish for many different species. The seatrout are in full swing in the backcountry making their presence known over the grass flats in 3 to 5 feet of water. Shrimp under popping corks was the go-to method, but anglers looking to throw artificials had a chance to do just that.  Jerk shads, or Berkley Gulp shrimp on 1/8 ounce jig heads worked well. The redfish bite was decent on the higher water up along the oyster and mangrove islands. Cut ladyfish or shrimp tipped jig heads were the baits of choice. There were also plenty of mangrove snapper and smaller sheepshead caught using the same methods. Anglers could drift the passes for snapper, sliver trout, ladyfish and jacks by bouncing shrimp tipped jig heads along the bottom.

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Capt. Brad Brown of Moonlite Charters said this had been a December to remember! Gulf water temperatures in the mid 70's and quality live bait made it a great time to be on the water. With a live well full of pilchards it's wasn't hard to find some action and that should continue thanks to more warm weather. Snook, redfish and seatrout were chewing pretty good. The reds not as much as they were a couple of weeks ago, but just enough to get that third member of a slam on the line. Capt. Brad said to experiment a bit with the bait and sometimes use a half dead or a cut bait. It can be just as good or better than a free lined or corked bait.

Capt. Larry Hendricks of Tall Tail Charters had one of his regulars out. This gentleman is no youngster and he managed to fight and beat an estimated 300 plus pound goliath grouper. He was on the rod for over an hour before getting it to the boat. He hooked up on a big shark for a while and also caught a bunch of reef fish. Grunts, snapper and short grouper were in the mix. Baits used were pinfish, shrimp and pilchards.

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