by Captain Michael Manis
For lack of a better word, this could be considered the height or “dog days of summer”. Most days, it provides a small window of opportunity. Between the heat and afternoon thunderstorms, I like to get off the water by lunch. In addition, the water temperature heats up quickly in the backcountry so I’ll typically spend most of my time in open water. Too, the light winds provide an opportunity to fish places that can be squirrely in my skiff most of the year.
At first light, the upper harbor is a good place to start looking for rolling tarpon. It’s a lot of area and can definitely use up some of that window. From the 20 foot hole between the West Wall and Ponce Park up to the mouth of both the Myakka and Peace Rivers is the zone. In particular, around U.S. 41 Bridge can be really good. Moreover, loading at either Ponce or Laishley Park makes for a short run.
Around the 20-foot hole, don’t be surprised if you run into some sharks. Black nose, blacktip, and bull sharks are always possible. In addition, smaller sharks can be great sport on the bars that border the open harbor. It’s not unusual to see blacktip and bulls cruising and on the prowl. These bars stay a bit cooler from a decent tide flow.
For example, concentrate on spots that get direct flow from Boca Grande Pass. Typically, Turtle Bay and the Bokeelia bars fish well. Also, don’t be surprised to see a school of jack crevalle cruising and busting bait on these bars. They disappear as quick as they show up so be ready to throw no matter what you’ve got rigged.
With slick mornings, the markers offer a unique opportunity. Because it’s structure, there’s always bait and consequently predator species won’t be far away. Spanish mackerel, jacks, blue runners, and mangrove snapper are just an example. It may not be any of the more glamorous species; but it’ll keep your rod bent and on fly and light tackle it’s still plenty of fun. Artificial baits like plugs, feathered jigs and spoons are all you need.
Fall is right around the corner and we’ll soon transition into one of the best times of year. Until then, enjoy the light winds and minimal boat traffic and get out early.
Until next month, good tides.
Captain Michael Manis
Punta Gorda Fly Charters