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On the Water: September means transition to cooler days

By Staff | Sep 9, 2015

As the water gradually cools in September, expect good snook fishing. Aaron TerHaar, visiting from Minnesota, caught and released this snook while fishing live pilchards along the mangrove shorelines in Matlacha Pass with Capt. Bill Russell. PHOTO PROVIDED

With the arrival of September, it’s only a few weeks before we break out of the hot days of summer and transition to the cooler days of autumn. The cool down should be gradual but a welcomed change for fishing around Southwest Florida.

Just as anglers enjoy the change of seasons, look for fish to also respond as they become more active resulting in improved fishing. With a drop in water temperature, you can expect them to exert more energy and feed more consistently throughout the day. Of course, it’s fishing, there are days when you can’t buy a bite no matter what, but your chances for success are tipped in your favor.

September marks the opening of snook season with hungry linesides on the move. You can expect explosive strikes on top-water lures or flies just after first light or before sunset. During the day live bait including pilchards, herring, pinfish, pigfish and others are the top baits. Also don’t overlook cut bait. Year after year some of the largest fish reported are caught on cut bait fished on the bottom.

Now, until the first real cold front (most likely in October), presents us with our best redfishing of the year. Large fish will gather in schools of up to several hundred and on the right day can give you a fishing experience you will never forget. Look for them moving along the shallow edges of bars as they push a wall of water and crash any bait fish in their path. Try to get well ahead of the moving fish to intercept their path. If you don’t spook them, make a long cast ahead of the lead fish and hang on. Most are way oversized but they sure are a blast to catch.

As the water cools, bigger sea trout will begin moving back into shallower water to feed; this is a great time to work a top-water plug across your favorite trout flat. Trout of all sizes should be schooled up over open water with a bottom consisting of a sand/grass mix.

There should be plenty of good size trout mixed in as well as a mix of Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, jacks, small sharks and others. This is the place to target if you want to stay busy with lots of action.

Mangrove snapper fishing was excellent through the summer and should continue strong through the month. In my opinion there is not a better eating fish and snapper are accessible from shore or boat. Most snapper school up around some type structure that could include bridge pilings, docks, piers, oyster bars, creeks, mangroves shorelines or any type manmade or natural submerged structure. Look for areas with a decent tide flow and scale down your tackle with a light fluorocarbon leader of 25 lbs. or lighter and small hooks. Best baits include shrimp (live or dead), small pilchards or pinfish, and a variety of cut bait. You should also expect to catch snapper while targeting snook, redfish or trout.

If you are thinking of heading offshore, look for fish to move closer to shore in shallower depths as the water gradually cools. Good catches of grouper and snapper should become common in less than 70 feet of water. Many of the artificial reefs that dot our coast only a few miles from shore will yield good action with everything from snapper to snook.

With so many fishing opportunities, not much competition from other anglers and weather more enjoyable for fishing, let’s get out there and see what we can catch!

If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact us at 238-283-7960, on the Web at www.fishpineisland.com or email: gcl2-fish@live.com

Have a safe week and good fishin’.