Don’t Be Surprised

by Fishin’ Frank

Fresh water, salt water, mix it up, you got brackish. That is what we are still dealing with but the good news is there is clear water is on the horizon and the fishing is getting good. Yes, the flats on the east side and the west side are both looking good with schools of redfish and snook up under the mangroves.  Now do not be surprised if you hook into a nice size sheepshead back under the mangroves on the flats.
Wherever the mangroves have a depression/hole/pocket under them, the sheepshead are making it their house. They have set up camp and it may be a bit unheard of 5 years ago, but over the last few years this has become more common and I think it is a matter of food.  The mangroves’ leaves fall into the water and as they break down, there is a mold which grows on the decaying mangrove leaves that the tiny crabs love to feed on, and the sheepshead, which may be having trouble finding food where they would normally hang out, have found the mangrove crabs. Funny how one thing affects each other thing.
White bait is still what many people would like to use and for snook fishing it would be great. But I think you might wish to give pinfish a try for redfish. Redfish have been hitting shrimp and pinfish better this year. And then there is blue crab, cut or whole, which have been accounting for a bunch of hooked redfish.  With the pinfish, try a float or popping cork and get the pinfish about 6 inches off the bottom.  Hook the pinfish sideways across the body, just rear of center under the dorsal fin.  The shrimp under a float is again a great way, but I would use a popping cork and slam that pop, don’t be shy about the pop.

Another big thing over the last year has been lures under popping corks. The Drunk Baits, DOA shrimp, and even a Rat-L-trap have been very effective, when used under the popping cork and you work them just like you would a shrimp.  I even like to put a bit of smell/scent on them.  I use the Strike King Coffee flavor scent. Hey, for years my boat smelled like dead fish/crabs/ whatever scent, like Pro-Cure Blue crab scent. And maybe it does a tiny bit better, but my boat now smells like coffee with cream and sugar, one of my favorite things and I catch fish.
So, Win-win best thing ever.

Anyway, the fishing is very good but you have to look around and best part of that, there are not many people fishing and lots of room to look around, many places all by yourself. So, good fishing, less people and what are you waiting for. OK, if we all go, it will be crowded again, so disregard what I wrote. No fish and it is nasty out there.

Fishing’ Franks Bait & Tackle 4425-D Tamiami Trail, Charlotte Harbor, FL 33980, 941-625-3888 and 14531 N. Cleveland Ave., Ft. Myers, FL 33903 239-634-1043