fishing Forecast

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  • 04/20/2021 12:56 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    As Good As It Gets
    by Captain Michael Manis

    May has always been one of my favorite months as opportunities really open up.  Moreover, the wind lies down somewhat allowing the range necessary to take advantage of an expanded fishery. It’s time to make my way out of the backcountry towards the harbor, beach and adjacent shorelines. As the water temperature hits 79 degrees migrating tarpon coming north will stage in and around our passes.


    Off the beach, I like setting up between Captiva and Boca Grande Pass on Murdock point. Here, the fish make their way around a sandy shoal in clear shallow water allowing for some great shots on fly.  Inside Pine Island Sound, Foster Bay just north of Redfish Pass also tends to hold groups of fish.


    Closer to home, they’ll also begin showing up in the upper harbor between the West Wall and Punta Gorda. These are resident fish that come out of the rivers and generally eat pretty well.  A free lined live bait is always a good bet and if you get out early and see them rolling, they’ll take a fly. The harbor should be full of threadfin herring and I like throwing patterns that resemble these baits somewhat. A big Puglisi Peanut Butter pattern in black and purple or black and red are two of my favorites.

    As hard as it is to resist tarpon, it’s tough to beat early summer snook fishing. When the wind is cranking out of the west making the beach sloppy, it’s makes for a great back up plan. In addition, Because of tarpon fever, the backcountry see’s less pressure and this provides a great opportunity to get in some redfish and snook fishing. Particularly, first thing in the morning, you could find yourself with a flat or shoreline all to yourself.  They’re on many outside shorelines and I particularly like the lower end of the west wall and around Cape Haze Point down through the long bar that runs along Turtle and Bull Bay.

    Typically, redfish can be found in close proximity to snook. However, as the water warms I like looking for the cleanest most oxygenated water.  Here, it’s tough to beat the combination of the intracoastal and adjacent passes. Keeping that in mind, Pine Island Sound is a good bet.   Too, spotted sea trout prefer the additional salinity and cooler water that these areas provide making redfish country good trout habitat as they’re both part of the croaker family.

    Lastly, whether in the harbor, on the beach, or on a flat, don’t be surprised if you see a big school of jacks, a cobia, or one of the many sharks that are scattered throughout the area. Keep an eye out for birds and have a rod ready.

    Until next month, good tides.

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    941-628-7895
    mike@puntagordaflycharters.com
    www.puntagordaflycharters.com

  • 04/20/2021 12:52 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    May Provides Good Action
    by Captain Charlie Conner

    Summer is almost upon us.  People are traveling this year.  I think they are exhausted from last years COVID closures and restrictions.  It’s good to see so many friends and new friends out in the boat.  The heat of summer will be here soon.  Water temperatures are on the rise.  We actually enjoyed some spring weather in
    April.  Look for May to provide lots of fishing action around the Treasure Coast!


    Five-year-old Domenic caught his first snook with the family while fishing in Fort Pierce.

    Snook fishing will be good this month with night or early morning the best times to fish.  The season will close May 31st.  Inlets, bridges, seawalls and docks are all great places to target snook. I like to target redfish in May.  Some good choices for lures will be gold spoons and the DOA 2 ¾” shrimp.  Redfish will be active on the grass flats, mangroves and docks around the river.

    Look for trout to hit top water lures at first light.   As the sun rises move to deeper water in the two to four-foot range   I have had great success with CAL jerk baits and Deadly Combos this year in place of live shrimp.  Look for clean water and good grass to have your best results.

    Mackerel have been coming in with the tides.  Fish bridges and docks for sheepshead, snapper and drum.  Jacks and ladyfish will be just about everywhere creating havoc all over the river.   Beaches will produce whiting with catches of Spanish mackerel and bluefish along with some pompano.  Tarpon will begin their trek into the river.  May is a great month to fish the Treasure Coast!

    As always, remember, fishing is not just another hobby....it's an ADVENTURE!!

    Good Fishing and Be Safe,

    Captain Charlie Conner
    http://www.fishtalescharter.com  
    captaincharlie@fishtalescharter.com
    772-284-3852

  • 04/20/2021 12:45 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Hit the Beaches and More in May
    by Capt. Tom VanHorn

    As summer approaches and our water temperatures increase, so do the fishing opportunities along the Lagoon Coast of Florida. May is one of the best fishing months on east Florida's coastal waters, so make sure your lunch is packed, mental health days are scheduled and be prepared to hit the water on a moment’s notice. 


    Near-shore along the beaches, concentrate your efforts in the areas of active bait pods (pogies). Typically, when you see concentrated areas of bait with birds feeding on the surface, big fish are just as active underneath. Species feeding on these pods include tarpon, jack cervalle, redfish, cobia, and sharks. Near the end of the month, you can add kingfish to the mix. Also, tripletail and flounder numbers should be improving around the Port Canaveral buoys. At the inlets and beaches, Spanish mackerel, snook, redfish, jack crevalle, bluefish, flounder, sheepshead, and black drum are just some of the species available this month.

     Blue water trolling should be excellent in May, with the larger dolphin being the focus of most blue water anglers. Also, in the mix are tuna, wahoo, kingfish, sailfish, and an occasional marlin. When targeting these species, work areas of color and water temperature changes (lines) in 120 feet of water or deeper, and in areas of concentrated floating weeds and debris. In addition, do not forget that kingfish and cobia are present on the near-shore shoals, reefs and wrecks like Bethel Shoals, Pelican Flats, Chris Benson, and 8A reefs.


     On the lagoon flats, redfish and spotted sea trout will provide the majority of the action for light tackle and fly anglers. For sea trout, fish your favorite top-water plugs at first light in about two feet of water concentrating in areas where baitfish are active. After the morning top-water bite fades, switch to your favorite soft plastic jig fished in three to five feet of water alone the edges of flats or spoil islands.

    In May the water has warmed to the point where the jack crevalle, ladyfish, snook, and tarpon will begin to show up in good numbers. In addition, there is a huge showing of finger mullet this season, so it is time to break out your DOA Bait Busters. Schooling redfish and other predators find the Bait Busters difficult to resist when retrieved quickly just under the surface of the water in areas of concentrated mullet schools. Remember when using the technique; keep your lure moving until you feel the fish on the line.

    Finally, fishing on the St Johns River freshwater is particularly good in May.  The crappie are balled up in deeper water if you know where to look for them.  Also, the bluegill and shellcrackers are concentrated on beds and are very tasty and great fun on light tackle.  Lastly, the larger channel catfish will be on the move once the water levels start rising from our summer rain. 

    As always, if you have questions or need more information, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    www.irl-fishing.com
    407-416-1187

  • 04/20/2021 12:40 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Life’s good
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    There has been a lot of great fish caught in April and anglers throughout the area can expect more of the same. It does not matter if you are fishing in the back bays, nearshore waters, or offshore, it is all going to be good. Tarpon fishing is now outstanding, as the big push of fish have arrived from the South. We’ll be able to catch permit, cobia, and sharks regularly throughout the near shore waters. The back-water trips will be full of snook, redfish, and trout as backcountry slams will come often. Offshore guys will continue to catch an array of good eating fish.

    The tarpon spawn is full speed and lots of anglers will be chasing them from the ten thousand islands all the way to Tampa. Crabs that are two to three inches wide on 5/o circle hooks with 50lb leaders will do the trick. Threadfin, pilchards, and catfish tails also work well. Permits are another great fish to target after a few tarpon have been caught, there were acers of permit last month from 30 feet out. Those same wrecks that hold the permit will also have cobia on them. When permit fishing always have a rod with a jig on it ready to go, as cobia will show up quickly and leave just as fast.

    The bays, creeks, and beaches are an excellent place to spend time these days. Snook can be seen cruising the beaches, often within feet of the shore. The pilchard schools are thick now and using them or something that mimics it works best. Pompano will also be moving along these beaches and will usually be out a bit deeper. Redfishing in our bays and creeks is another option especially if the winds coming from a westerly direction. Pilchards or live shrimp are two of my favorites and I’ll start around the oyster bars and docks on the low tides, then work my way into the mangrove shorelines as the tide rises. Trout will be found on almost all the open flats especially those with nice grassy bottoms in 2-5 feet.

    Offshore it is grouper full speed now, usually out past 100 feet. Mangrove snapper fishing will be good, especially during the night along with yellowtail and mutton snapper. Chumming for 30-45 minutes before even dropping a line is the way to go. Once you can get the snappers up of the bottom and closer to the boat, it is game on! Anglers that get out past 120 feet will find African pompano, gag and black grouper, blackfin tuna, and amber jacks.


    Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper
    Snookstampcharters.com
    Fort Myers, FL
    239-313-1764


  • 03/29/2021 11:00 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Spring Fishing Highlights
    by Captain Tom Van Horn

    This month’s forecast focuses on some highlights for fishing on Florida's east central coast during the spring are the weather is still cool and enjoyable, the waters warming up and the fish begin to shift into their pre-spawning feeding mood. Some examples of this behavior are the cobia moving north up the Atlantic coast, and the spotted sea trout transitioning into their traditional spawning areas on the inshore flats.

    Like many saltwater species, the cobia and sea trout spawn in aggregations or groups, not on beds. In the case of the cobia their traditional spawning areas are off the central east coast of the US, and in the northern Gulf of Mexico. As the fish migrate north, they burn energy and feed heavily along the way, hence the cobia run we experience each spring.

    On the flats, the smaller male sea trout move up into the shallows first, and then call the females in to spawn by drumming loudly just after dusk when the conditions are right, usually on the first new moon or full moon in April, and then again on the new and full moons throughout the summer.


    As we move in near-shore, tripletail should become more dependable, and look for late season cobia as well. The cobia run thus far has been slow; with bait pods (Atlantic menhaden or pogies) arriving late this year. As the bait pod move in, look for Spanish mackerel, bluefish, redfish, giant jack crevalle, sharks, and smoker kings. Concentrate your efforts in areas of bait pods. When you see areas of bait balled up and pushed to the surface, there is a high probability that feeding gamefish are pressuring the bait from below.

    In the inlets, look for good numbers of flounder, sheepshead and black drum around structure such as jetties and docks, and Spanish mackerel, blues, and large jacks in open water. Also look for the nighttime snook and tarpon action to heat up in the Sebastian Inlet.

    On the lagoon flats, fish the early morning and late evening with your favorite top water plugs for extreme topwater sea trout action, and soft plastics and jigs in deeper water, 2 to 3 feet after the midday sun settles in. Remember, April is one of the months when larger sea trout are egg laden for the spawn, so it's very important to handle and release the larger females with great care. If you are looking for snook and tarpon action inside, the Sebastian River will be the place to go.

    Finally, freshwater largemouth and striped bass action has been and will heat up on the St Johns River. Look for schooling bass at first light feeding on threadfin shad from the Osteen Bridge to Lake Harney. My favorite locations are in the river bends near the power lines at Lemmon Bluff and at confluences of Lake Harney and the River.

    A good way to locate these schooling fish is to look for wading birds congregating along the shore. When in the feeding mode, these fish will take small plastic jerk baits like the 4-inch DOA Shad Tail, most small swim plugs, and small live shiners. Also, as the river rises and the velocity increases, the larger spawning channel catfish (freshwater cobia) move out of the big lakes into the river to spawn.

    As always, if you need information or have any questions, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    http://www.irl-fishing.com
    407-416-1187

  • 03/20/2021 11:49 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Cannot Complain
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    The back bays and shallow water fisheries have been outstanding and will continue to be that way. Redfish are being caught daily from 2” all the way up to 32” plus. Redfish can be found often now, and shrimp or cut baits will work best.

    The simple use of two or three rods with baits thrown along oyster bars or mangrove shorelines is common this month. Snook are already out of their Winter haunts and ready to eat before they get ready for their spawn in a month or two.

    Trout fishing will be the backup plan on days when the bite is tough, or you just want to have a lot of action. Lastly, we still have a chance in April to catch big black drum. Look for these fish close to, or in the passes. Black drum enter our bays in search of all the crabs, so keep that in mind as your bait of choice.


    Nearshore now becomes a lot about the tarpon fishing. Schools of tarpon will now be found from the 10,000 islands all the way up past Boca Grande. 40lb leader and a 5/o circle hook should get the job done. The popular baits for tarpon are crabs, threadfin, and ladyfish. Permit fishing is another great option, as there has already been a bunch of them caught last month. Snapper, black drum, and even snook around the wreaks and reefs will be the bi-catch.

    Offshore started up at the end of March, as the winds finally allowed fisherman to get out far. Far is at least 30 plus miles here, and those at the end of the month that got to 110 feet crushed it. This pattern will only get better as we move through April. Grouper, big mangrove snappers, lane snappers, African pompano, AJ’S, kingfish, and porgies will be the targets. Should you get out even deeper you will have a good chance at catching some tunas, and possible a sailfish.

    Tight lines,

    Capt. Greg Stamper
    Snookstampcharters.com
    Fort Myers Beach
    239-313-1764

  • 03/12/2021 10:53 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Full Spring Transition
    by Captain Michael Manis

    For the next two months, the combination of water temperature, bait migration, and tide schedules are promising.  Now, we’re in full spring transition.  First, as water temperatures climb into the 70’s prey species like the scaled sardine and threadfin herring will return from offshore and make their way into the harbor. With negative tides diminishing, they’ll begin setting up on grass flats closest to the pass like those of Jug Creek and Devilfish Key.  But as the month progresses, they’ll make their way into the many bays and sounds surrounding the harbor triggering a feed as predator species look to fatten up on the oily meat after the slim pickings of winter.

    In particular, snook that need to fatten up in preparation for the summer spawn will begin making their way out of the rivers and backcountry creek systems. Early in the month, I like to look outside the Myakka River towards the west side of the cutoff and Hog Island.  As the month progresses, I’ll make my way down the west wall paying close attention to shoreline areas adjacent to creek systems.  Moreover, the entire bar system from Cape Haze Point at the lower end of the west wall to Cayo Pelau at the southern end of Gasparilla Sound can really fish well. Snook from creek systems throughout Turtle and Bull Bay will make their way onto this bar system as Devilfish Key lies at its western edge.  

    Redfish will also key on the scaled sardine but will still be sticking close to the mullet. Because of the additional salinity from proximity to a pass, Gasparilla and Pine Island Sound are two of my favorite places to look this month. As a rule of thumb, never miss the chance to fish under the mullet.

    Like snook and redfish, spotted sea trout will also be taking advantage of the bait influx and should fish well. With water temperatures still relatively cool, look for flats in two to three feet with a mix of turtle grass and sand.

    In the upper harbor, it’s also the beginning of tarpon season. Resident fish will make their way out of the river systems and group up around the deeper holes outside the west wall and Pirate Harbor.  In particular, the 20-foot hole off the west wall is a good bet.  At first light it’s not unusual to find them rolling.

    Too, we’ll begin to see some early groups that have begun their migration up the coast out of the keys and everglades working their way towards Boca Grande Pass. I’ll start looking for some of these early arrivals in Pine Island Sound. Typically, I like hunting on flats that are full of sand holes in five to eight feet.

    Until next month, good tides.

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    941-628-7895
    mike@puntagordaflycharters.com
    www.puntagordaflycharters.com

  • 03/12/2021 10:49 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Good Variety in April
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    Spring has arrived on the Treasure Coast. Warm temperatures and windy days will be the norm this month.  April provides lots of opportunities to target lots of species.  Water temperatures will be in the 70’s.  Winter has been mild and I love fishing in April!  Have fun and enjoy the fishing!


    Snook fishing will continue to be good around inlets, bridges and sea walls. You have a good chance at catching a slot fish.  DOA Bait Busters, feather jigs, live pilchards or pinfish are all excellent choices for snook fishing.  There are many great areas to fish so plan on getting some fishing in this month.

    The grass flats will be active with trout and redfish.  I love using a DOA Deadly Combo in April to locate the fish.  There will also be pompano cruising the deeper flats.  Doc’s Goofy Jigs are great pompano lures when they are in the river.  Mackerel, bluefish and jacks will be plentiful around the inlets and channels this month.  Small shiny lures will find you some action. April will bring lots of opportunities to the area.

    Bridges will continue to hold sheepshead, jacks, bluefish and some black drum.  The sheepshead was in early and many have already left the river.  Docks will hold the same fish and an excellent chance at hooking up with a redfish.  The warmer water this year has progressed things earlier than normal, but there are still plenty of fish to be caught. The surf will hold whiting, pompano and a host of other fish feeding on the bait schools along the beaches.  Expect lots of action all around the area and enjoy fishing in April.

    As always, remember, fishing is not just another hobby.... it’s an ADVENTURE!!

    Good Fishing and Be Safe,
    Captain Charlie Conner

    http://www.fishtalescharter.com
    email: captaincharlie@fishtalescharter.com
    772-284-3852

  • 02/27/2021 3:18 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    It’s Cobia Time!
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    My azaleas are in full bloom and the current water temperature outside Port Canaveral is 69 degrees. What time of year is it?   It is cobia time!!  Currently the water temperatures are right, and the manta ray are starting to show up south of Port Canaveral, both indicators spring has arriver on the Space Coast and the fishing is heating up.


    As the ocean begins its gradual warming phase, 67 to 68 degrees, watch for the progression of baits schools (Atlantic menhaden and silver mullet) from warmer waters into the near-shore waters bringing the cobia and other predators with them. The warmer waters will also draw manta rays into the shallows shadowed by pods of cobia. Other notable species are tripletail around the buoys and under flotsam, and heavy weight jack carvalle near the end of the month, large redfish, and sharks shadowing bait schools.

    In the inlets and along the beaches, whiting, pompano, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel are staple with sheepshead and black drum holding on jetties and rock piles. As we move into the later part of March watch for the snook and tarpon action to improve in Sebastian Inlet and then move north following the bait progression.

    Moving out into deeper water, the spring kingfish run should begin with the smaller kings showing up around the middle of March, followed by the smokers, 30 to 50 pounds, in April on the near-shore reefs and wrecks like Pelican Flats and 8A reef. If the bait moves in close to the beach, look for the larger kingfish to follow them. Also, April marks the beginning of the fishing season for many of the blue water anglers with the start of the April/May northern migration of dolphin in 120 feet of water and beyond, and the early part of the run usually includes some of the largest bulls taken all year.

    On the lagoon, high water levels will draw the slot size redfish schools up onto the shallow flats, with the larger breeder schools holding along the deeper edges and sand bars. On the cooler days, focus your attention on sand bars or potholes. Also, the end of March signals the return of silver mullet to the estuary, and the beginning early morning and late evening top water sea trout and redfish action.

    Last but not lease, mid-March brings largemouth, stripers and sunshine bass into the equation as schooling bass begin to form up in consistent patterns on the St Johns River feeding on threadfin shad schools.  Lastly, we can look forward to the shellcracker and bluegill spawn and the arrival of large channel catfish once the river water levels rise with the spring rains.

    As always, if you have questions or need information, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    www.irl-fishing.com
    mosquitocoast@cfl.rr.com
    407-416-1187 on the water

  • 02/26/2021 3:22 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Here we go!
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    Things are super busy now as March begins the first of the warming months. All the snowbirds are here now enjoying excellent weather and catching some fish! The fish we can now target begins opening greatly now, as we begin the transition into Spring.


     Weather now becomes a crap shoot as the cold front tails start to hit us less and less. The gradual warming of the water is going to start trending toward fantastic fishing this month. For guides it’s full speed for a while and that’s great as lots of memories will be made.

    One of the best parts moving into March is that we get to target both the transitional fish that visit us during the winter as, well as the resurgence of our Summer quarry. It is also the end of the strong cold fronts overall, and the beginning of Spring. Our prey will be everything from sheepshead, trout, and pompano all the way to the beginning phases of tarpon season.


    As we begin seeing fewer cold fronts effecting our water temperatures, the warming trends begin. At first its nothing considerable, but as we approach April it becomes apparent. Some days especially toward the end of the month we may even feel that first hit of higher humidity in the early morning hours. This is when we start hearing about permit, tarpon, and other species starting to move back into their timeshares.


    Pompano fishing along our beaches and certainly in our local passes will be good.  Jigs, small flies that mimic sand fleas or even small crabs will work well. Mackerel, ladyfish, bluefish, whiting, and even small sharks will be bi-catch during this time. The back-bays will be full speed for redfish ranging from 16 to 35 inches and found all over as bait schools work their way to the North. Snook now begin back in water temperatures they like and will be very targetable. Sardines, small mullet, and hand-picked shrimp won’t stand a chance as snook begin to move back out of their winter haunts.

    The offshore bite will continually get better and better. Anglers will have more chances to get out with less wind caused by cold fronts. This pattern gives anglers a lot more opportunities to catch mangrove, yellowtail, mutton, and lane snapper, as well as red grouper, kingfish, permit, and cobia. When running out to those offshore areas, don’t forget to stop around those shrimp boats posted up, as you never know what’s hanging around.

    Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper

    Snook stamp charters
    239-313-1764
    Snookstampcharters@gmail
    Snookstampcharters.com Fort Myers beach, Fl

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