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fishing bonita springs and southwest florida

A Light Tackle Fishing Experience In Bonita Springs

Week of 01/05/14
The cooler months of winter change the fishing strategy. Instead of looking for cooler water we will now be looking for warmer water to zero in on where the fish can be found.

The New Year is here and I am looking forward to an exciting year of fishing action with customers and friends in beautiful Southwest Florida. No matter what time of year there are always great species of fish to catch and no shortage of great scenery on each trip.

     

January kicks of the cooler months of the year for fishing in this area. Sheepshead, Trout and Redfish will be the main fish to target. We should also see large Jacks moving in which provide a great fight on light tackle.

Sheepsheads bite has started to pick up. We have been catching quite a few up to five pounds. Target Docks and Bridges with lots of barnacles and oyster buildup on the pilings in order to catch these fish. Use shrimp or fiddler craps pinned to the bottom.

Trout can be found on the grass flats in deep holes. Use a Savage Gear 4” TPE 3-D Manic Shrimp and fish it slowly along the bottom. You can also use this bait under an oval clacker styled cork. Make sure you pop the cork and pause, the strike of fish will always be on the pause.

Look for Redfish on the grass flats at low tide and on the mangrove shorelines at high tide. You can use live shrimp or fresh cut bait like mullet on the grass flats. When fishing the mangrove shore lines I like to use the Savage Gear 3-D Shrimp on a ¼ ounce jig head. You can skip it under the mangrove and cover a lot of ground with this method.

When fishing Jack’s they are generally found in big schools in open water over the flats. Target them with your favorite top water plug, the noisier the better.

Remember the water temperature is very cool so slow your retrieve down in order to increase the number fish you bring to the boat. Wishing everyone a fantastic New Year filled with many great days on the water. Call your favorite guide to book a trip this year.

Week of 12/01/13
The cooler months of winter change the fishing strategy. Instead of looking for cooler water we will now be looking for warmer water to zero in on where the fish can be found.

Best bet is going to be Sheepshead with the cool water temperatures. Target them on bridge pilings and docks. My favorite go to Sheepshead rig is a 3/8 ounce jig head with a live shrimp on it placed at the bottom of a bridge piling. We have been catching lots of Sheepshead in the 12” to 17” range which make for great table fare.

Redfish can be found during low tide tailing on the grass flats and around Mangrove Island adjacent to the grass flats on high tides. The larger fish will be the tailors at low tide, Fish 14” to 22” on the mangrove islands. Use live shrimp with a popping cork or with a small split shot lead sinker or a jig. There has been an invasion of Puppy Drum (small Redfish). They seem to be everywhere. Use small jigs like ¼ ounce Chartreuse or white jig heads and Hybrid Flurry.

You can find Pompano by fishing the deep edges of channels next to the grass flats using shrimp tipped jigs, use 3/8 ounce – ½ ounce short hair jigs or Doc’s Goofy Jigs in bright colors. The heavier jigs will get to the bottom where the fish are and the bright colors and small piece of fresh shrimp will give sight and sent appeal. Just bounce or hop the jig on the bottom.

Snook can found sunning themselves in very shallow water with dark bottom. Catching them has been pretty good lately. We have seen some nice size fish from 22” to 27”. Use free line live shrimp or shrimp with a small split shot or live pilchards. The best advice I can give you right now is to target the warmer water temperatures to increase your chances of hooking a nice fish.

Week of 10/01/13
Now that fall is here with its cooler temperatures and drier airs, it is a great time to be out on the water.

Redfish are a hot bite right now. I have been getting good reports from Pine Island that schooling Reds are on the grass flats.

I have also been hearing good reports of schools of Reds to the south in Naples and Goodland. Look for them pushing water on the shallow grass flats and around oyster bars. Use shrimp under a popping cork or cut bait. If you like artificial, try using a top water plug like Savage Gear Top Pray and Bomber Saltwater Grade Badonk-A-Donk. You can find Reds under the mangroves too, for these guys I like to use a jig, something you can skip under the mangroves like a ¼ ounce jig head and 3” Edge Hybrid Flurry or Savage Gear Sand Eel Slug rigged weed less on an offset hook.

          
The Snook bite has been very good and will continue all the way until the first cold front pushes through. Look for them on inside Islands with good current flow. Night time fishing for Snook is good this time of year too. Fish your favorite dock lights for them. Use free lined shrimp on a 1/0 circle hook. Night time is also very good for fly fishing dock lights too, Shrimp and small Baitfish patterns work very well.

Mack’s are plentiful on near shore reefs and outside the passes. Use chum to pull them in and cast small buck tails in white or chartreuse. Silver spoons will work too. You can also drop a live shrimp to the bottom for Snapper.

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Vast grass flats, miles of mangrove shoreline and so many species of fish can be a lesson in fustraion. Cast and complain, you need to fish with an experienced guide who knows the Estero Bay, Bonita Springs region of southwest Florida. Even through Estero Bay and Bonita Springs is a great year round fishery, even Snook, Redfish, Trout and Shark are seasonal. Estero Bay and Bonita Springs offers an endless year round opportunity for Snook, Redfish, Trout and Shark fishing.

We are out fishing most days, and here is what you can expect from fishing Estero Bay and Bonita Springs during the year.

snook, fishing bonita springsSnook
There are 4 species of snook in Florida and we mainly target the "common snook" which is as the name implies the most common and also the largest of the snooks. The combination of mangrove islands, and brackish water makes Estero Bay the perfect habitat for these hard hitting jumpers. January and February are decent months for fishing snook. The action gets better in March, and really heats up in April and runs strong right through till October. Snook season closes from May 1st until September 1, and all snook must be released. The snook bite tapers off in November and December. This does not stop us from targeting some of the best inshore fishing has to offer.

redfish fishing bonita springsRedfish
The redfish or red drum are at home among the grass flats, mangoves and oyster beds in the warm waters of Estero Bay. Redfish are a hard hitting, fast pulling sportfish known for some spectacular runs. Redfish can be seen tailing year round, with the hottest action coming in September, October and December as the water cools off. Redfish fishing is still a great bet during the cooler months between December and April, then drops off a little during the hot summer months of May, June and July. These battle hardened warriors will test the medal of any angler on light tackle.

trout fishing bonita springsSea Trout
Sea Trout or spotted drum, are the easiest of Estero Bay species to target and and perfect for beginner anglers or any angler that wants to catch alot of fish. Favored for it's willingness to strike both live baits and lures, sea trout are also excellent table fare. Drifting across the grass flats with offerings of shrimp, or pinfish will entice the school to eat. Once the school starts to eat, the bite can last an hour or more. Sea trout are always a popular winter species around Bonita Springs . The winter months of January, February and March are great for trout and remain excellent in early spring. Trout fishing slows down somewhat during the summer heat and picks back up in late fall and gets strong again in November and December.

Shark
Numerous species of shark use the mangroves of Estero Bay as it's hatchery. You can find bonnethead shark, black tip shark and even bull shark moving in and out of of the bay through the passages from the gulf. The most common being the bonnethead shark, a close relative to the hammerhead, but only growing up to about 3 feet, they will readily take a live bait and put a hurting on any angler.

Along with the targeted species of fish we specialize in, you can also expect to catch
mangrove snapper, sheepshead, gag and goliath grouper, and tarpon.

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Capt. Steve Nagy
Bonita Springs Fishing
Phone: 239-398-1528
email: captstevenagy@Tampabay.rr.com