Around the country, particularly areas north of the sunshine state, there is certain hustle and bustle as the first cold fronts have brought cooler temperatures and fall fashion trends. Hunters are getting ready for the deer rut. Leaves are turning burnt orange, reds and yellows. Some may have even already fired up the furnace or their fireplaces already to keep warm. Fall is certainly upon them.
Living in South Florida for the majority of my life, I've gotten used our version of the "changing of the seasons". We effectively have two weather patterns down here: HOT and HOTTER. It is now mid October and we just saw our first "cold dip"... we had a morning low of 66 degrees...for one morning. And that same day our highs were still in the mid eighties.
So while the rest of the country feels a definite cooldown, here, in Cape Coral, we know we are in fall because the rains have slowed down. The summertime pattern of daily 15-20 minute downpours and bone jarring lighting strikes are subsiding. The humidity is starting to subside just a little bit. Local grocery stores and restaurants are starting to push the seasonal "pumpkin spice" inspired beverages.
On the water, it is a different story altogether. The fall "Bait" is definitely here. Inshore grass flats are literally covered in premium "white bait". 3-4 inch pilchards in schools of hundreds/sometimes thousands.. along with them are a slew of predators. Spotted Sea Trout can be found waiting in potholes ready to ambush a tasty treat swimming by. Schools of feisty mangrove snappers can be seen darting in and out of the schools around oyster bars, along docks and mangrove shorelines. Snook are staged just waiting for the chance to pounce on an unsuspecting passer by. Schools of dozens, sometimes hundreds of adult, breeder redfish can be found through our region, gathering for their annual fall spawn.
The redfish are sometimes so thick, it looks like a giant cloud of copper moving thru the water. Aside from being an awesome opportunity to cast, catch and land one of these hard fighting drums, sometimes we need to remember to just take a moment and soak up the beauty of the moment and appreciate all that is nature.
Offshore, the schools of bait migrating south have begun... not because we've actually gotten our first cold front of the year as that stalled a bit north of us... but because north of us is seeing a change in water temps. As the water cools down, the bait wants to get to warmer water... which means they must come south. Hot on their heels will be mackerel-both king and Spanish. Expect to find some Bonita and even an occasional backfin Tuna. During this annual migration, look for chances at cobia. and don't forget the tax man. Anywhere there is food on the move, you can guarantee there will be a slew of sharks ready to take advantage.
This is a our version of fall. And Im loving every minute of it.
Capt Daniel Medina