Getting into the Off Season Mode
September marks one of our slowest times of the year. Kids are going back to school and it is one of the more active times for storms. Fishing can be good but it is not really prime season for anything in particular. This is the time a lot of the locals take our vacations since it’s slow here. I was fortunate to have stayed pretty busy through the summer and well into August.
The last few summers I’ve focused mainly on tarpon fishing in the Everglades which has been productive overall. This year was much different than last, with totally different bait and fish patterns.
This year it was much more of a hunt to find bait and hungry tarpon, with things getting consistent only for brief periods. It seemed as though as soon as I would settle into a routine, things would shuffle around on me!
We definitely had a tougher time with bait this past spring during the spring time mullet run and I would say the summertime bait patterns reflected that. There are good schools of pilchards right now around in the Gulf bank edges and channels. These baits have been working well for snook and redfish. When they aren’t cooperative, the pinfish usually are and can be used alternatively.
The snook fishing was really good for most of the summer but the number of redfish are definitely down from a few years ago. It seems after the cold snap of 2010 the numbers between the two have equalized somewhat.
Out in the Gulf, tripletail have been seen frequently free floating while tarpon fishing. If you have a rod rigged and ready with a small bobber and hook, you can pitch shrimp at these guys and get yourself a good meal. Some of the wrecks have held a few permit and cobia, though I have not been doing a whole lot of this type of fishing. It can stay good through September and the nice thing is you don’t usually have to worry about running way out there only to find boats sitting on the wrecks you want to fish.
Snapper fishing in the bays has also been productive with a good mix of trout in there too. Jigging with GULPs or any rubber-tail artificals can work well. I even like to catch the juvenile ballyhoos.
Fall is here and I am looking forward to some great fishing. Snook and redfish fishing should get better and better, and the fall bait run should lead to some fantastic tarpon fishing. Good luck out there!
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