Early and Calm
by Capt. Michael Manis
While enduring the current heat and humidity it might seem that options are limited. However, there are some unique opportunities if you’re ready to get up early and be on the water before sunrise.
The flat calm conditions make the boat ride worthwhile and it’s a short ride at that. Most days, plan on being back for lunch.
Basically, from what I’ve seen this past month, we’re in for a good late summer and fall tarpon bite in the upper harbor. As most of the migratory fish move north, many stay and make their way up into the harbor where the deeper water and available threadfin herring make a great habitat.
Joining resident fish, they’ll stage for a couple months until they make their way up the rivers when the water cools. There have been lots of fish scattered from the 20-foot hole off the west wall all the way to the U.S. 41 Bridge at Punta Gorda. This accounts for the short run from either Laishley or Ponce Park.
Moreover, I’m seeing fish in the ten pound class all the way to triple digit size. Smaller tarpon are at the base of both sides of the bridge and outside the canals from Fisherman’s Village on past Colony Point and over towards Ponce Park.
The larger fish can be found rolling toward the bridge’s center and in the deeper holes of the upper harbor. On fly, I’ll throw a 3/0 red and black or purple and black Puglisi peanut butter pattern.
On conventional tackle, the deep running D.O.A. Baitbuster is a good soft plastic and it’s always tough to beat a live threadfin herring.
A bit tighter to the shoreline, on the other side of Ponce Park, redfish have been starting to group up all the way down past mangrove point towards Alligator Creek. It’s worth a look.
On the other side of the harbor, there’s another good option, snook on the beach north of Gasparilla Pass. In fact, this is one of the best opportunities for shore bound anglers all year.
Because they’re in the middle of their spawn, they’re grouped up around the passes. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a catch and release fishery this month. Again, I’ll throw a Puglisi pattern but here I like the 2/0 white mullet. This is a short run from the Placida boat ramp.
There have been good numbers of pilchards or scaled sardines on the beaches so a suspending plug like a Mirrolure Mirrodine is a good rig on a spinning rod.
Until next month, good tides.
Captain Michael Manis
Punta Gorda Fly Charters