While the fishing is good in September the really good news is that the fishing gets even better in October, arguably the best month we have for snook and redfish in the backcountry of the 10,000 Island area. The snook have finished their spawn and have started to move either offshore or into the backcountry. Those fish that head for the back are looking for water that has been freshened by our summer rains so they can lower the salt content of their blood and they have big appetites as they try to regain the weight they have lost during their spawn.
Coupled with this mini-migration of snook is the fact that this month is the prime time to hook up with a redfish. Although we have red fish in our area all year long, the bulk of the schools start moving into the 10,000 Islands in September and reach a population peak in October. These hard fighting sport fish offer exciting action when caught in shallow water with light to medium action tackle and offer outstanding table fare as well. Many small reds show up in schools at this time and when you catch one of these smaller fish be sure to release them properly so that they are given the opportunity to grow and become spawners and thereby replenishing our future stock of these fine game fish. This means not touching the fish with a rag or with your hands. The slime on a fish protects it from bacteria and infection, so don't wipe it off!
While snook and reds are the primary targets during this period don't overlook the baby (10 to 40 pounds) tarpon that abound in the backcountry and the mangrove snapper that that are starting their fall feed.
One of the best things about visiting and fishing in southwest Florida during this time of year is the number of people who AREN'T here. We love our visitors and the snowbirds but there is something to be said for spending a day in the backwaters and seeing only a handful of other boats. Low priced airfares and accommodations are also attractive inducements to scheduling a visit during September, October or November.
Our first cold front is just around the corner and while the term "cold front" means something different to my northern friends, it indicates to me that cooler nights and more moderate temperatures and in the offing, truly the best time besides spring to visit my area.
I had a fun two days this last week with Tony Tamasso, his son Chris and his friend Dillon Smith. In spite of having to dodge unusual morning rain showers we managed to boat some fine snook and reds. On day two, while fishing in a continuing mist we boated over 50 snook and three redfish. All fish were released to provide anglers in the future the same great experience we enjoyed.
Also last week, I spent another morning in the in the rain and although the showers pushed myself and my two anglers, Tim Neptune and Aaron Lundquist around quite a bit, we managed to find several snook and Aaron landed a very nice 31 incher.
All in all, September was a very good month and produced some good catches and some great memories.