Early Fall Florida Fishing the Big Bend

October 08, 2019
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Fishing on the Big Bend is productive for trout, redfish, and snook. Close in flats with rock grass are the most productive, while live shrimp, pinfish, and cut mullet are effective. White bait is also used, and offshore gag grouper and mangrove snapper bites are available.

The Big Bend region in Florida offers a unique and exhilarating experience for anglers, particularly in the early fall. This time of year is ideal for catching a variety of fish, including snook, redfish, grouper, and trout. The following article will delve into the intricacies of fishing in this area, providing valuable insights and tips for both novice and experienced fishermen.


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Captain William Toney

Fishing Techniques and Locations

Trout Fishing

  • Ideal Conditions: Both incoming and outgoing tides are favorable.
  • Productive Areas: Flats with rock grass in 3 to 5 feet of water.
  • Effective Methods: Using popping corks with glow colored soft plastics to attract bites.

Redfish Hunting

  • Tide Preference: The incoming tide around the outside keys is most productive.
  • Baiting Techniques: South of the Homosassa River, live shrimp under a cork or a gold spoon works well. North of the river, live shrimp, live pinfish, or cut mullet are effective.

Snook Fishing

  • Prime Locations: Near the outside points and adjacent deep holes by the key.
  • Bait Gathering: Anglers often use cast nets for white bait (threadfin herring or scaled sardine).
  • Chumming Practices: Common in the south; using white bait to attract snook.

Grouper and Mangrove Snapper

  • Offshore Adventure: Gag grouper and mangrove snapper are abundant.
  • Best Baits: Live pinfish for grouper; live shrimp for snapper.
  • Ideal Depths: Start at 14 feet for grouper. Grovers will be on the same points of structure.

Additional Tips and Insights

  • Seasonal Movements: As the water cools, fish like snook migrate southwards.
  • Local Knowledge: Understanding the fish's seasonal patterns is crucial for success. For instance, the snook's migration south as the water cools is a key factor in planning your fishing trip.
  • Adapting Strategies: It's important to adapt your fishing strategy based on the type of fish you're targeting. Each species responds differently to various baits and techniques.
  • Responsible Fishing: Always practice sustainable and responsible fishing. This includes respecting local regulations, catch limits, and size restrictions to ensure the longevity of the fishing ecosystem in the Big Bend region.


Fishing in Florida's Big Bend during the early fall is an experience filled with potential for memorable catches. Whether you’re targeting snook, redfish, grouper, or trout, understanding the local conditions, tides, and fish behaviors will enhance your chances of a successful outing. Remember, each day on the water is an opportunity to learn and grow as an angler.

Captain William Toney In The Spread, Instructor
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