Gulf Catch: September fishing reports and outlook

Despite a tumultuous start thanks to Hurricane Hermine, fishing through September rebounded quickly and the usual suspects, including snook, trout and bluefish could be caught on both live and artificial bait.

The start of September was marked by Hurricane Hermine, which flushed the bay with run off and dirty water. This has an effect on the salinity of the water and usually means fish travel elsewhere, according to Capt. Rick Grassett, who charters out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters. Grassett writes creeks and canal have a stronger current and any spillway has lots of water pouring over them, which make fish gather to feed in those areas. Fishing did rebound quickly in Sarasota Bay.

Solid September bay fishing

Capt. Jim Klopfer, who also operates out of CB’s, reported bait was plentiful and fairly easy to catch. When there was surface activity, Klopfer had his clients on Glow Bass Assassin Sea Shad baits at the Middlegrounds, Radio Tower and nearby Marina Jacks. At these locations anglers caught Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper, gag groupers, jacks, flounder and ladyfish.

Fightin’ for fish

Night fishing around lighted docks and bridges in the intercoastal waterway is a fun way to fish for snook, which can be great fighting fish. In addition to snook, juvenile tarpon and red fish might also be hanging around lights. In the Gulf of Mexico, false albacore, also known as little tunny, and Spanish mackerel are fun pelagic fish that make for a good fight as well.

From Englewood to Venice and beyond

Capt. Van Hubbard, of Venice FL Fishing Charters, says this time of year is one of the best. There’s still time to enjoy a relatively boatless bay, and fish begin to feed because they sense that cooler weather is coming. Among his favorites to keep, Capt. Hubbard recommends Spanish mackerel as they have a generous bag limit.

In the coming months, anything include huge redfish, tarpon, cobia and false albacore can show up unannounced, so be prepared for any situation — even sharks, which follow migrating schools of fish down the coast. Bait fish will begin to dissipate, but gamefish will be hungry! Artificial lures will do the trick if given the opportunity.