Fishing Report: The weather made it tough to fish this week with all the wind and rain but we were able to make it out a few times and bend a rod. The water temperature dropped down to the mid 70\\\'s near shore which seemed to slow the bite down initially but the fish soon cooperated once things stabilized and I was happy again to hear the sound of my reels drag.
In the back country the redfish bite is still feast or famine. Just as soon as they start to show some consistency things change. If you want to target these guys be ready to try a variety of tactics and locations until something works. The morning and late evening bite has given the best results. Free lined pin fish or select shrimp has been the hottest live bait and the old faithful gold spoon has been my favorite artificial. The deeper holes in the backcountry have produced some nice fish also. Channels and cuts that have structure is what I like to target. Cuts like this that drop 5 - 15 feet in depth is a perfect area to stop and toss a shrimp in. Many of these areas us anglers go right over or right by time after time. Spots like this often hold nice numbers of sea bass,mangrove snapper,sheep head, black drum , and more.
The flats are still on fire. Trout,mackerel,cobia,jacks,blue fish,tarpon,big sharks,and more are all providing non stop action in 4 - 14 feet of water. Free lined shrimp while drifting the grass flats will not only keep your rod bent but will also reward anglers with a mixed bag. The tarpon are North of Pine Island early and just off higginbotham creek late in the day. A stealth approach is key by either drifting or poling in. The Mirro Lure Catch 2000 in a natural color seems to be a popular lure that is producing strikes from the silver king. If all else fails a free lined Pin fish,small lady fish, or crab on a 6/0 circle hook will land one of these monsters or at least give you the opportunity to jump one.
For the shark enthusiast out there now is the time. From now until October these guy will be here in strong numbers. Heavy spinning or conventional tackle is a must as well as wire leader. 1 - 2 chum blocks placed in the water is all you will need to get these guys around the boat. Be ready for the occasional cobia to follow that scent right to the boat also. Cut bait like blue fish or lady fish is candy to sharks. These baits placed on a heavy 5/0 - 7/0 circle hook under a balloon will have your drag singing.
Off shore the bite is still hot. Structure from 16 - 50 feet of water is producing keeper grouper,snapper,seabass,and more.There seem to be fish throughout the entire area in all depths. frozen sardines and live pin fish seems to be the most productive baits.
Good luck out there and tight lines!
Capt. Keith Tomlinson
Bulldog Fishin Charters