It is getting close to my favorite time of year for red fishing. The scorching summer heat generally requires soaking a cut bait deep in the mangroves or in deeper potholes to be productive. Late summer and early fall the fish start to school up and spend more time accessible on the flats.

That transition is already underway. Recent trips I have already begun seeing scattered schools around Pine Island Sound. The good news is you can really catch a bunch of them when you do it right. The bad news is, when fish are schooled up, you can run every one of them off of a flat at the same time. That is why it is important to recognize schools from a distance and approach quietly…you might only get one shot to do it right. I prefer to approach from upwind staying off the trolling motor as much as possible. If you’ve taken the time to catch any white bait you can find on most of the grass flats, power pole down and chum away. Once the school gets fired up on chummers, there’s likely nothing in your tackle box they won’t eat. Of course, a live or cut bait is the choice for most anglers.

If all else fails, hit the near shore wrecks or docks near the passes for light tackle fun and dinner. Mangrove snapper have been abundant, and will eat small white baits or shrimp free lined weightless or on a light jig head. Have fun and be safe!

Capt. Brandon Buckner
Skeeter Pro Staff
(239) 848-6336

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