He crept back into the season, plentiful and taking the hook
Jennifer Lasky of Tampa shows off a beautiful redfish she caught on Labor Day on a fishing trip with a guide, Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters. Lasky came home with directions for cooking her steak and fish became dinner.
Brianna and Ashley Gagné of Anna Maria show off a swordfish caught Sept. 18 in the Florida Keys on a guided fishing trip with Capt. Tray Sorensen of Top Knotch Fishing Charters. The fish was caught using an electric reel versus a traditional rod, then pulled from Marathon in the Atlantic Ocean in approximately 1,600 feet of water.
Snook are back in season from September 1-November. 31.
So, if you’re lucky enough to catch one in a hole between 28 and 33 inches, you can enjoy a snook dinner.
I’ve never considered September to be a great month for fishing, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
With air temperatures staying in the 90s and water temperatures following suit, you’ll want to fish when the water is a little cooler to increase your chances of enticing a monster of a line to take your bait.
Night fishing for snook is a great option, especially when looking for larger fish. Fishing around lights or fishing trails around bridges is a good bet. When fishing bridges, use larger bait, such as jumbo shrimp, pinfish, or even large shiners. If you’re pier fishing, a normal-sized lure should get the job done.
If you stay away from the snook longer, you may want to get out on the water during the day to look for trained redfish.
As September hits the peak of the rainy season, we should see an influx of redfish into Tampa Bay and further south, where the Manatee River drains abundant amounts of fresh water from its source, Manatee Lake.
Large amounts of freshwater push the reds living in the river into the bay, causing aggregations to form in staging areas throughout the flats. This, combined with the schooling schools of redfish coming in from the Gulf of Mexico, can result in a big response for many flathead anglers.
M Tip: Get out early and spot the fish because I guarantee the crowds will come.
Nowadays, with the new “look at me” mentality on social media, you can bet that someone will be posting photos and videos online that evening. So, if you find the fish, enjoy it while you can and consider keeping it a secret because most likely the next time you go school fishing, every Tom, Dick and Harriet will be there.
Captain David White is happy to see an increase in the number of redfish his clients catch on shore excursions. Whether fishing mangrove edges, oyster bars, or even along beaches and trails, White finds redfish for his anglers. Casting a live shiner works well to attract reds to the hook, although crustaceans — crabs and shrimp — also work.
Snook are another target on White’s guided fishing trips, where live tackle is used as bait to get the best action. Snook follow the example of redfish regarding where to catch them. The beaches and trails hold fish, as well as the mangrove beaches on the flats. Finally, mangrove fish are being caught, although after Hurricane Idalia passed through the Gulf, they have become more difficult to locate.
Captain Warren Girl catches a variety of species while fishing the waters of Sarasota Bay. Fishing deeper areas, such as channel edges and grass flats in 6-8 feet of water, is reportedly producing some spotted seatrout as well as mangrove perch. They are both captured side by side by Girle’s agents while throwing in a small live sparkler as bait.
Occasionally, a school of jacks or red ladybugs will pass by, adding chaos to the bite but also variety and entertainment for Girle’s customers.
Fishing shallow flats in the 2 to 4 foot range yields good results. Redfish and snook are prime targets in these waters. Again, live shiners work great as bait. Girle also adds that casting a topwater plug can be helpful at these depths. Both snook and redfish will attack a plug swaying along the surface of the water which can lead to some memorable strikes and great fights.
Jim Malvez, at the northernmost fishing pier on Anna Maria Island, the Rod and Reel Pier, says he is seeing some redfish being caught, often by anglers who come to the pier unarmed and with little experience, although they are still able to catch a number A few of them. .
Anglers who use live shrimp as bait, usually on a weighted platform and thrown under the dock, are having success with red shrimp. Sizes range from 16 inches to 25 inches, so it’s best to use heavier equipment because you don’t know what you’ll be hanging in there. There are also snook in Tampa Bay, hanging around the dock, some going beyond 28-33 inch slots. So you better get ready.
As the water around the pier turns tannin with an abundance of fresh water flowing into the bay, the mangrove perch bite has diminished a bit. However, Malvis says determined anglers manage to pull a few onto their deck.
Finally, migratory species such as jack crevalle and ladyfish are caught as their schools pass through lower Tampa Bay next to the pier. The fish will take shrimp, although throwing jigs or spoons at them is more effective.
Send high-resolution photos and fishing reports to Fish@islander.org.