Pumpkin Pickers

Capt. Matt Fueyo

Pumpkin: a brightly colored redfish that can be seen from 20 yards away in a greenish brown flat. Pumpkin Picker: an angler on the bow casting towards the fall freight train known as the redfish! Our captains and guests will be picking pumpkins for the next few weeks as we move into the fall season. Fall fishing consists of several different variables. First, we will need to find pot holes in 2-4 feet of water and then chum those holes heavily with dead baits and a little love. So, “Where do I find bait” you ask? Siesta Key, Lido, and Long Boat Key will be loaded with pilchards, also known as scaled sardines. These are slightly different from the threadfin herring which can be identified by their slender bodies and neon green back. Unfortunately, a live well full of threadfin will result in maximum loss in 30 minutes time. These baits need a lot of space in the live well. The powerful output from the live well spout will knock scales off these baits, which clogs filters and chokes out the other baits. You can pretty much figure out the rest…a fisherman’s nightmare come true! Look for birds diving on baits when searching for the motherload. Be cautious of other boaters and anglers, as well as the sand bar. You can injure yourself and others if you’re not paying attention to the direction of the swell.

Now, back to “pothole” fishing! These holes are filled with a variety of species, but mostly the biggest and meanest redfish will be the ones ready to crush your baits. As pinfish and catfish peck away at dead baits, they create a feeding frenzy that fires up the rest of the fish in the vicinity. The redfish and snook will then search out the wounded, and now your perfectly placed bait is ready for the taking. We are able to instruct our guests on how to cast and place their bait in the “zone” and hopefully the circle hooks will do their job to hook them right in the corner of the mouth. Light tackle and light drag makes for some long runs and heart pumping fun! Remember that redfish, snook, and trout are still closed and can NOT be harvested in our area. But a picture is always worth a thousand words!