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Florida Fishing Report – September 30, 2022

EAST

WEST PALM BEACH

There is a fair amount of school sized king mackerel in 85-105 feet water, with plenty of bonito and bull sharks to keep the action going all day.  The wahoo bite is also outstanding with the fish ranging from 20-40 pounds in 85-150 feet of water.  Some school sized dolphin (mahi-mahi) 6-10 pounds are still in the mix.  They’re being caught in 125-700 feet water.  Most of the dolphin and wahoo action happens trolling dead ballyhoos.  Occasionally the bigger mahi mahi are mixed in –  10-20 pound fish.  There is still some summertime sailfish action going on – usually off kites with live bait. The daytime swordfishing is decent out in 1450-1700 feet of water.  85-150 pound fish are common with larger one of 200-300 pounds mixed in.  Don’t forget to keep a dolphin bait out while swordfishing.  We usually catch a fish or two while deep dropping for swords.

Tight lines – until the next time. https://floridahuntingadventures.com

BISCAYNE BAY

The mullet migration is in full swing, with large schools of mostly finger mullet within the area beaches. Snook, sharks, jack crevalle, and the acrobatic Tarpon are all out taking advantage. Hogys, NLBN ‘Lil Mullet, and plugs have all been productive, as has live bait. Inshore, the recent rains have turned on the culverts and relief canals, with snook and baby tarpon getting active. Offshore, kingfish and dolphin have been active in the 50′ to 80’ range, mostly on live bait. The inlets have been producing some Redfish on live mullet and jigs, but few Snook, Tarpon have also been active in the evenings. Hurricane Ivan is slowing coming this way so good luck out there.

JENSEN BEACH

Several big snook have been caught on the beaches and along seawalls as hordes of mullet have flooded the Jensen Beach area. Live fingerling mullet and pilchards are catching plenty of big snook, and jack Crevalle are on the seawalls and bridges including the Jensen Causeway and Roosevelt Bridge. A few big tarpon are still around as they are beginning to move south for the winter migration. So far no pompano have showed up but look to the start of October.

Captain Ed Zyak captedzyak@gmail.com

772-485-3474

MOSQUITO LAGOON

During the last month, the whole coastline lit up with an amazing tarpon run. Both inshore and offshore tarpon fishing went ballistic.  I had several days with multiple hookups and landings.  Hurricane Ian will churn up the water and lower the sight fishing opportunities in Mosquito Lagoon for the next few weeks but there are some good signs of seagrass returning which should help the fall trout bite.

https://lagooner.com/fishing-report/mosquito-lagoon-monthly/

NORTH INDIAN RIVER LAGOON

Big redfish are spawning and there are several big schools of 40” plus fish roaming the north end of the lagoon in and around Dimmits Cove and Black point Creek. Still plenty of smaller redfish under 30 inches in the shallows easy to catch by sight casting to tailing fish on the grass flats and along the shoreline. The snook bite has slowed down a bit but the trout are picking up as we head into fall. Black drum are still around in good numbers and easy to catch near bridge pilings suing crab and cut ladyfish.

Captain Nathaniel Lemmon   https://www.floridasightfishing.com/report.htm

WEST

CEDAR KEY

Redfish are schooled up and feeding on the tides, Hurricane Ian will add high water levels for the next few weeks so look for fish in areas like flooded marsh grass where fresh food sources are available for them to forage. Popping corks with live shrimp are still the best bet. Just keep searching the flats and you should pick them up. They should get better as the water temps cool down some. I still run with the Bass Assassin Sea Shad in a Green Moon color or a Stinky Pink color.

Capt.Jimbo Keith www.FishCedarkey.com

MADEIRA BEACH

Mackerel are thick around the mouth of the bay and the bay area bridges and by most any structure with deeper faster moving water with any bait present. Any sort of fast moving and flashy artificial lure is a good option to get a hungry mackerel to eat. My favorite go to mackerel lure is a Gotcha plug. Look for birds, bait on the surface, or fast-moving water around structures or passes to find the mackerel.

Redfish action is going extremely well throughout our area. We are seeing these fish school up together more and more in preparation for their move near shore to spawn. We are seeing them up on the flats, around the mangrove islands and even some oyster bars in larger concentrations. Higher tides they are still cruising the mangroves while lower tides the flats are a good place to look. Many of the deeper flats are good areas to find them as they stage up to move out of the bay.

Hubbard’s Marina 727-393-1947

TAMPA/ST.PETE

Snook are still stacked up in the passes preparing to move to the back bay areas where they spend the winter in creeks, rivers, bayous, and other areas that have that dark bay mud that will radiate heat and keep them warm as the cooler weather begins. However, until that time they are working their way slowly and eating well along their journey. The white bait has choked the bay and inshore areas so they are definitely more orientated to this during this time of year, but the shrimp and crabs may work if you find them ready to eat. Trout action is still picky in areas, while others are holding better numbers. We are still seeing them overall in deeper areas as the water is still pretty warm, but they have retreated slowly to more shallow flats. Right now, around 3-5ft of water is a good place to start looking for some hungry trout ready to eat.

Captain Lynn Zirkle  https://tampabayanglerfishingcharters.com/Capt_Lynn_Zirkle.html

FLAMINGO

There has been a big push of bait down the Gulf Coast, which has kept plenty of fish on the coast. We have had some great tarpon fishing when the wind lays down bit, with plenty of fish in the 10-50lb range. I suspect some bigger fish will show up over the next few weeks with the push of mullet south. The snook and redfish have also been great with all the bait around. We have caught them from the backcountry to the coast. A lot of smaller fish hanging around which is always a good sign for the fishery! The water levels have dropped significantly due to the consecutive days with 20+ knot winds. That means the snook should really get turned.

Captain James Chappell (305-803-1321)

BIG BEND/PANHANDLE

DESTIN

Flounder have started to pick up, remember they close October 15th and reopen December 1st so if you want some early season action you need to get out now, we feel the gigging will be better than catching them for the first little bit. On the south side of the bay when we have some afternoon wind the trout and reds have been active around docks with deep water access or grassy areas. Live shrimp are the better baits. Bottom fishing has been great with triggers, mangos, and amberjack in depths around 125ft but there are keepers in state waters if you are willing to do the work. Amberjack have been best in depths over 150, location was not nearly as important as bait, you really need hardtails, mullet, or ruby lips to be on target. Some of the boats that fished deeper ledges southwest and southeast did find some quality action on the gag grouper!

Captain Pat Dineen http://www.flyliner.com/

PANAMA CITY BEACH

Big speckled trout are often found in the same environments as redfish and can be caught using similar tactics. Lately I’ve been catching trout on broken bottom or grass flats in about 2-4 feet of water using jigs and shrimp patterns. Depressions carved out by the current running over points are great areas to look for schools of trout stacking up. Keep in mind that trout usually like to group together so if you catch one there are likely more in the area. There are still some good redfish being caught around the bridges and in the pass. Outgoing tides will offer the best chance to catch fish feeding on the surface. This time of year, also look for some tarpon to be mixed in around the bridges since they often spend their autumn days chasing big bait pods in the bays. Oddly enough, these fish are often feeding on the bottom even though you may see them rolling on the surface. I typically use soft plastic jerk baits or swimbaits to target the tarpon but they will eat all kinds of live baits as well.

Captain Nathan Chennaux (850) 258-7235 or CaptainNate@BayCountyOutdoors.com

STEINHATCHEE

October water temps will continue to moderate, fewer afternoon storms, less floating grass, the flats will populate with lots of trout, and redfish will begin their fall schooling pattern. Early morning will still be great around shorelines and oyster bars for redfish and larger trout; fish topwater or suspending plugs, although live shrimp will work as well. Fishing cut bait will work around oyster bars but you’ll be dealing with lots of catfish, stingrays, small sharks and pinfish. Schooling keeper trout will in clear water from 2 to 5 feet over mixed bottom with turtle grass and spotty sand patches. This is popping cork depth for trout, with live shrimp, Gulp baits, or jigs with soft tails. This time of year, areas around Sink Creek and just south of Rocky Creek to the south, and the Dallus Creek and Piney Point areas to the north are great places to explore. Offshore it’s a great month for grouper and those red snapper weekends over live bottom. We’ll have Spanish mackerel and kingfish migrating through with schools of bait; troll with Clark-type spoons or bucktail jigs.

SEA HAG MARINA (352) 498-3008

FLORIDA KEYS

ISLAMORADA

On a good note Hurricane Ian churned up the shallow waters and produced a lot of debris for the pelagic fish to forage around. Several large schools of bait are showing up in the waters around Islamorada. Plenty of blackfin tuna and skipjack tuna are out on the humps. The dolphin are still showing themselves this month with a few scattered wahoo. Bottom fishing has been very good along the reef. The storm should help churn up the water, which really helps turn on the bottom fish.

Bud N’ Mary’s Marina 305-664-2461

MIDDLE KEYS

The blackfin tuna bite continues to produce with a fair amount of wahoo and mahi in the mix. There are a lot of small fish but you can still find a few nice ones out there. On the ledge, sword fishing has been steady with some really nice fish caught up to 300 lbs. in the last several weeks. Also keep an eye on your fish finder and mark good structure. That way you can make drops for tilefish, queen snapper and snowy grouper and other deep water fish.

Two Conchs Charter Fishing

https://www.twoconchs.com/charter-fishing/

KEY WEST

Backcountry fishing has still been good, particularly with bonefish. On the lower tides, you can see those pushing wakes or sticking their tails out of the water. On the higher tides, you can look for them mudding. Either way, if you can get a shrimp or a bucktail jig out in front of them they will usually eat. A few large tarpon swimming around as well as tons of juveniles. Large schools of permit are showing up and have been tough to get to bite. The wind from Ian seems like it’s going to be blowing for the next few days.

Fish Key West Guide Service Fish Key https://www.fishkeywest.com/fishing/report/

FRESHWATER

LAKE OKEECHOBEE

Not sure what Hurricane Ian will do to the lake but as of now the bass bite has been steady. The crappie are biting but slow. Some people are crappie fishing around the bridge pilings and up the river by the weir and out around the inside/outside pencil reeds on grassy. Tin House area and Whidden’s Pass to Brice Fine on the Shoal is still the area to be for largemouth. For artificial use a worm/senko or swim bait/swim jig and hang on. Better report next week after the hurricane passes. Flood levels can make the difference between good and bad fishing on the big O.

Captain John Leech – https://floridabassfishing.com

STICK MARSH/HEADWATERS

Steady reports of big largemouth in excess of ten pounds caught on live shiners around the deeper holes off the main channel. As the fall fishing season kicks in the lake has received some major press over the last year. At this point there is literally a waiting line that can take up to an hour to launch your boat with parking overflow stretching a half a mile down the access road on every weekend. Best bet is to fish midweek early morning and head to the ramp at least an hour before sunrise.

Captain Byron Hennecy https://osceolaoutback.com/

CENTRAL FLORIDA / KISSIMMEE CHAIN OF LAKES

On West Lake good numbers of fish are offshore over hydrilla beds but beginning to stage in shallower water about 50 percent of the time. Early morning topwater is still the best bet with flipping pads and grass once the sun gets up. On the Windermere Chain steady numbers of schooling bass still working the shad pods with small umbrella rigs bringing in the most of these schools when casted ahead of the direction they are heading. Lake Butler has seen an uptick in better quality fish in 20 ft. of water using deep diving crankbaits adjacent to some of the deeper holes.

Captain John Leech – https://floridabassfishing.com

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