Bonita Springs Fishing Report

by Capt. Billy Norris

Fishing this month has been great!  Red tide has cleared up in our area, although it still isn’t gone from state waters.  Snook and jacks have come out of the rivers in large numbers, and we have been catching tons of them in the backwaters on whitebait.  In addition, we’ve been landing some nice redfish and juvenile tarpon. Right now the bait of choice is whitebait, however the summertime shrimp are gone and the local tackle shops have large ones coming in.  So as a backup to whitebait, big shrimp will do the trick!  The nearshore bite is still struggling to recover from the effects of the devastating red tide.  However, fish are starting to show back up.  The wrecks have been producing snapper, grunts, as well as some pelagics like Spanish mackerel, kingfish and bonitos.  As the water cools, it will hopefully kill off what’s left of the red tide, and our fishing should shift into the wintertime patterns.  In the coming months, we should see the arrival of big sheepshead in large numbers.  Remember, even though they are good eating, they are showing up to spawn and are all full of roe.  After the massive toll that red tide took on our fisheries this year, you should highly consider practicing catch and release.  Also, with the arrival of our seasonal residents, it is important as responsible anglers to make sure they understand the impact that this year’s red tide had on our fisheries, and encourage them to practice catch and release as well.  Fishing is getting better and better by the day, so get out there and catch ‘em up!

-Captain Billy Norris, Pale Horse Fishing Charters

Capt. Billy Norris is owner/operator of Pale Horse Fishing Charters. If you, your family,
or guests are looking to fish Estero Bay, Bonita Springs or the surrounding area, contact
him through his website: or Facebook page: or give him a call at (239) 285-7710.