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Capt. Jim Klopfer’s Siesta Key Fishing Forecast


Winter resident Bill Kish with a nice Siesta Key false albacore

 October is a fabulous month to be fishing on Siesta Key!  Shorter, cooler days result in water temperatures dropping into the low 70s, bait will be thick in the bays and out on the beach, and that will attract the gamefish.  Many species are going to be caught using a variety of angling tactics.  Redfish will still be schooled up on the flats in the north bay, snook will be in the bays, speckled trout, pompano, and Spanish mackerel will be feeding on the deep grass flats, and the beach should be outstanding for king and Spanish mackerel, false albacore, cobia, sharks, and even a stray tarpon.

   Anglers with small boats can catch large fish this month.  The techniques and methods are really pretty simple.  Mornings that dawn with easterly winds will find the inshore Gulf of Mexico flat and calm.  Pods of baitfish will be seen on the surface, along with schools of feeding fish.  Spanish mackerel, false albacore, king mackerel, and sharks are the msain targets.Threadfins caught on Sabiki rigs and free lined out behind the boat will catch just about everything. Trolling spoons and plugs produces as well.

Anglers fishing the surf off of the Siesta Key beaches should experience good action this month. Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, pompano, flounder, and more will hit live and artificial baits. Mackerel like fast, flashy lures such as Gotcha plugs and silver spoons while the pompano and flounder prefer a bait that is moving slowly near the bottom. Jigs and live shrimp are a good choice.

   Casting jigs while drifting over deep grass flats will produce a lot of fish in October.  Speckled trout, pompano, bluefish, mackerel, jacks, and ladyfish will hit a gold or glow Bass Assassin Sea Shad soft plastic grub on a ¼ ounce jig head.  Rootbeer and olive are also productive colors.  Use light colored baits in clear water and dark colored baits in stained water. Spoons, plugs, and flies will also work well, as will live or artificial shrimp under a noisy cork.  These same lures fished in Big Pass and New Pass will result in plenty of hook-ups as the fish migrate from the Gulf into Sarasota Bay.  Fish right on the bottom for pompano and just under the surface for blues and macks.

   Redfish will still be schooled up, but their numbers will be diminishing.  The shallow flats in Robert’s Bay and the north end of Siesta Key are great spots to try.  The docks and oyster bars off of Siesta Key will also produce redfish, along with snook, snapper, flounder, and drum.  A live shrimp is a a great bait for fishing docks while Bass Assassin Elite Shiners are very effective working bars and points.  A high, outgoing tide is best.  

Snook will be back in the bays and feeding aggressively on the flats, bars, and mangrove shorelines.  Shallow diving plugs such as an (08) olive X-Rap are very effective and allow anglers to cover water quickly.  Creek mouths, points, bars, and docks that have current are likely ambush spots.  Bridges will produce a lot of snook for nocturnal anglers.

Riders on the Storm

Reel Tight Fishing Charters
941-444-9749 / reeltightfishingcharters.com

It’s hurricane season and some of our favorite vacation destinations are being destroyed. Some islands are lucky and others will face destruction for months and years to come. One island that has remained “lucky” is Siesta Key. We are fortunate to remain unscathed in years past and can only hope that our luck will continue. Whether it be the Indian burial grounds or Zeus catching some rays on our pearly white sand beaches…as a fisherman I’ll take it!!


Healthy redfish for our guest

Tourism is a year round happening here in sunny Siesta Key and even though the streets are not as crowded as they are during Spring Break, we still have some travelers. One of our favorite travelers happens to be Mr. or Mrs. Redfish! These drag pullers have a different attitude than the rest of the bay species we target. These guys put their head down like Mike Alstott, the A-Train, and bolt towards the mangroves. No jumping, no head shaking like the Snook, just a brute fighting for what he thinks is his life. The Red Drum or “Redfish” to most fishermen, is a great tasting fish that yields a good amount of meat within the slot limits. These fish are protected in our area and the restocking programs have done a phenomenal job in the replenishment of a depleted resource. Local and state agencies are working to keep these fish abundant in our region and have put a closure on them until 2020. Companies like Reel Tight Fishing Charters, Mangrove Charters, Catch Sarasota Fishing Charters and Capt. Nate Fishing Charters all agree that the closure is necessary and “it wouldn’t hurt our feelings to keep it closed!”

Why wouldn’t you want to be able to put this fish on the table for your guests? Well that’s a simple answer. I want to catch fish! Our guests want to catch fish! Our kids want to catch fish and you get the idea!


 Lovely redfish for our lady angler

Our fishery has rebounded since last year’s Red Tide/Blue Green Algae outbreak, and we want to see it continue to thrive. Our livelihood depends on it and we hope that everybody makes a conscious effort to do their part and help sustain our nature’s beauty.

The next few weeks of fishing will be awesome. As our waters begin to cool the bite will pick up. Bait is plentiful and as the old timers always say “match the hatch.” We use a 12’ 1/4 in mesh Barracuda Cast Net to catch our bait. That is a large net for most anglers but we generally have 3-5 anglers on the boat so a ton of bait is necessary. 7’ medium/light rods for pulling those spunky redfish out of the mangroves or docks. 25-30# Flurocarbon leader is a must! Be ready for the ride of your life if you hook a big one!