fishing Forecast

  • 08/30/2018 6:06 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Coping through red tide
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    September has arrived, and a continuation of summer patterns hopefully gets back to normal.  This should be the last of the true heat, as we will hit the 90’s for most of the month consistently. Occasionally we’ll get some days in the 80’s, and if we’re lucky some early morning runs in the low 70’s. Our rain patterns will stay normal with an inch or so in random places each day, keeping the creeks and small rivers flowing. We had a tough start to August this year with an extended bout of red tide that has certainly impacted the fishery negatively.

    I write bits and pieces of this article starting at the beginning of each month to give you, the reader the best forecast for the future month. With that said, here’s the information I’ve gathered thru August, to give you my best opinion of how September will treat us.

    July 27-Aug 4: After a week of fishing through the worst of fish kills since 89, we are finally seeing fewer dead fish and a little bit of greener water in isolated places. We still have heavy pockets of red tide in the passes, the front parts of the bay, and nearshore to at least 5 miles, as that’s as far as I went. Fishing was so bad I flat out cancelled two trips, as it just wasn’t the right thing to do for the customers. It was a sad week of fishing from Captiva all the way down to Wiggins pass for me. I went out several times on my own or with other Captains and saw hundreds of thousands of dead fish ranging from bait, eels, flounder, snook, redfish, goliaths, and even a whale shark. I’ll be scouting again starting Aug 5, so I’ll continue writing then.

    Aug 5- Aug 10: OK here’s the good part, nearshore has fish. I went out 8 miles, as the red tide was still bad inshore. The red tide was out there as well, but figured maybe I’d find fish in 30-40 feet on the bottom. I went to several wrecks and reefs and marked some fish. Nothing was happy to oblige however, I’m guessing these fish aren’t interested with red tide still around. As far as I could tell based on my experience, these are permit, goliaths, snappers and possibly snook, sorry I don’t have all the fancy technology that shows me exactly what they are yet. My guess however, based on how they acted the fish were posted up waiting for a change. I dropped crabs, live baits as I sabikied a few, and a few chunk baits with only a shark picking up my offerings. Thankfully a good amount of baby tarpon are in the back bays and creeks though. These tarpon are up to 40lbs and can certainly be targeted, along with snook, sheepshead, and jacks for the most part. Our small rivers and creeks as of now seem to be holding the survivors. Haven’t seen much else yet in the open bays, but I’m hoping they branch out as this mess cleans up, since there’s plenty of vacancies available.

    Aug 11- Aug 17:  So, besides all the negative publicity and the complete vacancy of tourists that should be here, there’s fish available. With that said I’m going to recommend catch and release regardless for a while. I can only compare this to the massive fish kill / freeze we had 8 years ago. Personally, I’ve had a no kill policy for snook since then, but depending on how the next few months go, that may apply to everything for a while. Luckily, I’ve been into tarpon to 40 ponds, snook to 30 inches and even a few redfish along with a bunch of jacks up to 6 pounds. There’s bait that’s tiny showing up in a bunch of places and besides fishing the passes or out in the gulf, it’s been decent in the back bay. We still have red tide spread out in areas, but it’s more like patches now. I can get drags pulled this week so life’s good, unfortunately the clients aren’t here with many people that were booked worried about what they are seeing throughout media. Can’t’ blame them actually I’d be thinking the same. Well back out Tuesday for SnookStamp.

    Aug 20- Aug 28: Still finding fishing tough in open water and near the passes, but the rivers, creeks, and in some places the East side of the bays are holding fish. A few more redfish have shown up along with small snook, a bunch of sheepshead, snappers, and baby tarpon. I saw my first batch of decent size baitfish, 3 days ago but didn’t bother netting them as I’m hoping they’ll make more. Shrimp is now living well in live wells, as well as pinfish. I’m hoping that with all the rains and East winds things will start cleaning up allowing us to get back to something normal soon.

    So, all things considered I’m just writing off August and keeping a positive outlook moving into September. The fact that I’m seeing bait showing up tells me without another big bloom predators will follow. Scouting with artificial baits will be my repertoire for the next few weeks, knowing that when I get calls to go fishing I can lean back on the fish I’ve already found. It’s been a tough time for lots of business throughout the region so call your favorite guide, ask them what’s up in their local area, and go from there. We’ll get through this soon and I’m looking forward to writing a real fishing forecast moving forward. Tight lines Capt. Greg

    Captain Greg Stamper

  • 08/30/2018 6:02 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Bait Schools are easy to spot in September
    by Captain Charlie Conner

    September is always an exciting month to fish along the Treasure Coast. August was another hot month for us. Anglers eagerly await the arrival of the annual fall mullet run. The beaches and rivers will be filled with mullet and you can find lots of predators following the bait this month. Look for tarpon, snook, jacks, bluefish and many other species feeding on the mullet this month. Top water and suspending lures work fantastic in September. Try a DOA Baitbuster or Big Fish lure while fishing around the large schools of mullet. It's a great time of year to fish early mornings along the beach. The fish will be cornering the bait along the surf and action can be fun and exciting.

    Snook season opens again on September 1st. Anglers have been patiently awaiting the chance at keeping a slot fish for dinner. A few things to keep in mind while you are anxiously getting ready for the start of the season are making sure your license and snook permit are not outdated. Know the slot size, which is 28” – 32” and a one fish per day limit. Check your rods, reels and fishing line. Don’t lose that keeper fish because of something that you could have avoided by a little preparation. Remember that there will be lots of anglers heading out the first several days of the season. Have fun and be safe!

    You will be able to find some redfish schools this month as they gather up to head out to the ocean. Look around the shallow sandy flats for them to be feeding. DOA shrimp or CAL jerk baits can coax them into biting. Look for trout around the usual flats like Bear Point, Harbor Branch and Round Island. Deadly Combos fished on the edges of the bait schools will find some action with trout and other species. Snapper can be found along channel edges and around structure. Sheephead, drum and snapper can be caught on the catwalks of the bridges. Live or dead shrimp will find these fish.

    September Tip:
    Fish the bait schools! It's easy to spot the bait this time of year. If you don't find bait around your favorite fishing spot, you will most likely not find many fish there. Move around if you need to in order to find active bait. Fish love this time of year and they are out there gorging themselves on the bait in anticipation of the coming winter months. Try a CAL Airhead or DOA Bait Buster around the mullet schools. Early mornings can be exciting on the flats. You can find big fish in shallow water around the bait pods. It has been a long hot summer and finally temperatures will begin to mellow out and water temps will get back to normal. It's a great time of year to be fishing!

    Remember, fishing is not just another's an ADVENTURE!

    Good Fishing and be Safe,
    Captain Charlie Conner

  • 07/30/2018 3:18 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Fish Early
    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

  • 07/30/2018 3:13 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Fishing in the Heat
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    August is here, and the heat continues as we push through the hottest time of the year. With our water temperatures at their peak, finding good current is a big help. Stronger currents bring more oxygen to the fish and usually keeps them active. Based on tides some days will be better than others to fish. Days when low tide is mid-day means fish early or fish late. Low water from one to four PM will be extra hot with lower oxygen in the shallow water. Once the afternoon thunderstorms finish, things will be better. The rains help cool down the water and adds a bit of oxygen. Snook, redfish, trout, tarpon especially the juveniles, as well as pompano, and permit will be the targets for most of this month’s trips.

    Snook fishing along our beaches is the standard around here, as long the winds are low. I certainly prefer winds from the Northeast clockwise to Southeast when fishing the beaches. Snook are a lot of fun when you can sight cast to them using an assortment of lures and baits. Slow rolling on a trolling motor within casting distance of the beach is the way to go. I prefer moving with the current as I sight fish, as most fish will be swimming at you. Generally, the snook will be within feet of the shore as they harass the schools of bait moving along.

    Juvenile tarpon will be plentiful throughout Southwest Florida during August. When targeting these small tarpon, it’s best to start early. I like to be on the water at my spot before sunrise to take advantage of the first light. Usually, anglers will have about the first two hours to get them. I’ve had some days when the bite does last longer, however that’s usually when there’s overcast keeping the light levels low longer. These small tarpons are anywhere from 5 to 40 pounds and can be handled on the same rods that we redfish with. The tarpon will take a variety of baits from shrimp, whitebait, and crabs to a bunch of the small artificials. 

    When the tides begin to slow down that’s a great time to head to the local passes and cuts. These areas will have current first or last during the tide shifts. Pompano, ladyfish, mackerel, sharks and trout are the usual suspects. A simple jig tipped with shrimp worked aggressively mid water column should do the trick. On days when the ladyfish are thick you can always keep a dozen of them and head off for some shark fishing, as there will be plenty of them around up to eight feet.

    Shark fishing is a fun time especially for anglers that want to catch something big. When targeting sharks, I’ll use heavy spinning outfits with 80-pound fluorocarbon leaders and 6/o circle hooks. Yes, we’ll miss a few as some of the sharks will cut through the leader, but you’d be surprised how many you land regardless. Now if you start getting bit off constantly using a small piece of wire is an option. Bulls, hammerheads, blacktip, gray reef, and spinner sharks are the usual suspects. Occasionally as we set up putting out our cut baits and begin chumming, I’ll have clients throw jigs for anything that’s around. Catching anything from mackerel to catfish causes commotion and vibrations in the water bring the predators in quicker.  Another good practice is to have a buoy at the end of your anchor line. This is a good idea when you hook a beast as you can throw all the remaining line in the water and chase the fish. Likewise, once you’re done with the one you just caught you can come right back to where you were already chumming and pick up where you left off.

    Tight lines,

     Capt. Greg Stamper

  • 07/30/2018 3:09 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Summer docks provide good variety
    by Captain Charlie Conner

    As summer continues to bring the daily chance of afternoon rains and thunderstorms, fishing will take the usual second seat to the opening of lobster season.  It has been a wet season this year with lots of afternoon activity.  Expect lots of boats on the water each day as they head out in search of the spiny critters.  Practice safe boating tactics and don’t be in a hurry to get out there.  Those dog days of August will continue with hot weather, so take the normal precautions while on the water.  Have a great August this year!

    Trout and snapper will continue to be the best bite around the river.  Top water lures, like the DOA Airhead or Bait Buster, fished early, followed by a DOA shrimp or CAL jerk bait will be productive on the grass flats.  Water quality has been very good this year to date, but with all the hot weather the water temps have been higher than normal.  Queen’s Cove, Bear Point and Harbor Branch are usually active with trout.  Fish shallow early and move to the edges of the flats as the sun warms thing up each day.  Look for sand holes on the grass flats.  Trout love to sit in them and wait for the tide to bring their food to them.  We have enjoyed a good amount of big trout this year on the flats.  This month will provide great weather in the mornings for fishing the river.

    Head out to the docks along the river for snook, snapper, sheephead and redfish.  Some big fish will be hanging under the shady areas around many of the docks along the river from Vero to Stuart.  Fish your lures slowly.  If you use the tide in your favor, the lure will remain under the dock longer and give you a better chance at hooking up.  Snook will be active around the jetties, bridges and docks of the river.  Live baits, Terror Eyz and Bait Busters will all work well for you.  As the rainy season continues, try some of the spillways when the water is actively running over them.  A root beer Terror Eyz is a great lure around those areas.

    Bridges will hold some nice snapper during the month along with some sheephead and black drum.  The turning basin should become alive with glass minnows and a variety of predators to feed on them.  Again the fresh water runoff will play a part in determining where to fish this month.  Everything on the water loves to eat those glass minnows.  Fish the edges of the bait pods and you should find some predators hanging out there waiting to feed.  The edges of the channel will also be holding lots of snapper around any of the structure or rocks.  It’s a great time of year!

    Make it a point to keep hydrated and lathered up with sunscreen.  Take those precautions early so that the end of your day will be as enjoyable as the beginning.  Sunburn or sun poisoning isn’t any fun and can become dangerous to your health.  Drink plenty of water or Gatorade.  Have fun in August and good fishing!

    Remember, as always, fishing is not just another hobby……it's an ADVENTURE!

    Good Fishing,
    Captain Charlie Conner

  • 06/29/2018 11:00 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Kingfish and Tarpon on the Beach
    by Captain Tom Van Horn

    There’s no doubt about it, summer has arrived in Central Florida and the mid-summer doldrums are currently upon us. It's also the time of year when tropical weather systems and offshore water temperatures are unpredictable. Just when you think you've got the fishing figured out, a summer squall (tropical system) will blow in and kick up the seas, or the cold water Labrador Current (upwelling) will chill bottom water temperatures and shut down the seaward bite. Setting all these possibilities aside, many opportunities for angling adventure exists both inside and outside.

    Near-shore, kingfish will be the staple on the reefs and wrecks in 70 to 90 feet of water, with a mixed bag of three, wahoo, dolphin, and an occasional sailfish, thrown in. The preferred method for targeting these species is slow trolling live bait (pogies) on steel stinger rigs in the areas of the Chris Benson, 8A, and Pelican Flats reefs. Currently the water temperatures are starting to drop.

    On the Port Canaveral buoy line and along the beaches when the water is clean, an assorted beach bag is available with smoker kings (large king mackerel), silver kings (tarpon), sharks, and gigantic jacks (school buses) all available at any given time. To target these species, focus your attention in areas of bait concentrations. This past week, large tarpon and sharks were located between Patrick AFB and Satellite Beach. As the month progresses, these fish should begin moving north along the beach to their favorite summertime haunt into the bight of the Cape.

    In the Port and inlets, snook, Spanish mackerel, flounder and mangrove snapper number should remain steady. To target the flounder and snapper, try using DOA Shrimp on a ¼ to ½ ounce jig head in the areas of structure and along sandy drop-offs. For flounder or snapper cast the jig as close to the structure as possible without getting snagged, and let it sink to the bottom. Once it's reached the bottom, slowly drag it back letting it rest every foot or so. When jigging for Spanish mackerel or other toothy critters, use the same jigs, but retrieve it quickly to avoid getting cut off by not allowing the fish to strike the line.

    Inshore, July is one of the best times of the year to catch redfish in shallow water. Water conditions remain good in most areas of the lagoon with some signs of algae blooms beginning to show up.  Redfish schools have already started forming up. In deeper water, look for ladyfish and small trout to be shadowing schools of bay anchovies (glass minnows) under clouds of feeding terns. These feeding frenzies are great fun, especially when fly fishing using a top water popping bug. Additionally, Calm conditions are ideal for paddlers wishing to venture back into the No-Motor Zone, where tailing redfish make great targets for both fly and spin anglers.

    On the St Johns River water levels have increased due to recent rainfall setting the stage for the catfish spawn.  As the water levels and volume increase, catfish move upstream out of the big lakes into the creeks and river.  When targeting these fish, try fishing in the deeper bends on the bottom and step up your tackle size to safely manage these larger fish.

    Remember, as the water temperatures increase, dissolved oxygen levels decrease, so it is important to step up your tackle and line size to facilitate a shorter battle, and to revive your catch completely before releasing them.

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

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn

  • 06/29/2018 10:55 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Moving into the harbor
    Captain Michael Manis

    Depending on how many days you were up at 4:00 a.m. preparing to tarpon fish, it may or may not be hard to believe that May and June have past.  Now, the wind should lie down and the air and water temperature will rise. There is still a good tarpon bite as this is one of the best months to fish the harbor.  It’s also a great time to break out the D.O.A. Baitbuster.  The deep runner is best and the silver body with the black back is a good go to combination.

    In some ways, after spending the last two months on the beach with everyone else, it’s actually a nice change of pace to get a little closer to the backcountry. I’ll be back to hunting redfish and snook. Rising water temperatures combined with daily rain provide two patterns that I like during this period. First, I’ll spend as much time as possible working shorelines in close proximity to the intracoastal. The cooler oxygenated water being pumped in from the Gulf through the passes here shouldn’t be underestimated.

    Second, creek systems flushing more volume than normal with somewhat cool rainwater are natural holding spots. Particularly on an outgoing tide, the outside edges around the mouth can be productive. Therefore, I’ll like to look for creek systems or any kind of mangrove lined drainage associated with the intracoastal.  Fortunately, there are lots of spots that meet this description. Although it sees lots of pressure, it’s hard not to take a look between Coral, Catfish, and Whidden’s Creek in Gasparilla Sound.

    By contrast, on the other side of the harbor, even though it’s away from the Gulf, the waterway that flows north and south from the Bascule Bridge in Matlacha pushes by some of the best creek systems anywhere and should fish well. In either case, the fish will be tight to the bushes, mangroves, and your presentation or cast should be also. Most likely, the visibility to sight fish will be a bit easier closer to the gulf. However, keep in mind that the better you see the fish the better they’ll see you.

    There are a couple other good bets this month. If you’re looking to get the family out, the snapper bite in Boca Grande pass should be picking up. Conversely, if you’re looking for a fight, it’s a good month to target sharks in the harbor.

    Until next month, good tides. 

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    (941) 628-7895

  • 06/29/2018 10:50 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Pay attention to the weather
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    Well we’ve already used up half a year, and how time flies when you’re having fun. July means that we are now full speed into the dog days of Summer. Here in Southwest Florida we like the early morning trips before the things heat up, preferably on good tides. When we fish through the afternoon, we bring lots of water and pray for overcast skies. Fishing will be good for just about everything, however one thing anglers will need to pay attention to, will be the weather. The weather becomes a big factor in what will happen to the fishing each day. Depending on how much rain we get, where we get it, and when it falls makes a difference.

    Somedays we get morning showers usually along the coast during Westerly wind patterns. Other days the mornings have no rain and you can watch the storms brewing inland as they move towards the coasts blowing up anywhere in between. When it rains early morning the waters along our beaches and back bays get a brief cool down, a shot of oxygen, and that turns things on. The downside is it will get humid when the sun does pop up, thus super-hot. Anglers can pick areas based on the radar to fish, that won’t get lightning or hunker down usually at the dock and wait for it to blow through. Either way it’s a great time to hit the beaches for snook, or the nearshore wrecks and reefs when the winds under 10 mph.

    On days when we can watch the storms brewing inland, usually due to Easterly winds you better pay attention. These storms usually travel fast, always have lightning, and can pack a punch coming through. Here we usually get them mid to late afternoon, so we can beat most of them in. These storms flood the ditches, ponds, and canals throughout the area. If you can get out after these storms come through fishing the weirs, rivers and creek mouths, can be awesome. The fish know that foods going to flush out and are usually fired up during that first few hours post storm. A variety of baits work, but my favorite is walking the dog straight out of these currents.

    Finally, when it rains at night, and you’ve got a good tide the next morning it’s game on! These are the days when tarpon can be seen rolling around, bait fish of all types are being harassed by birds and fish, there’s happy snook along the beaches and redfish are all fired up in the back bays. For the most part these days are consistent for action. So now that we know the plan for the next few months, break out the raingear, be sure to keep tabs on the weather with your favorite app, and take advantage of what Mother Nature throws your way.

    Tight lines, Capt Greg Stamper

  • 06/29/2018 10:48 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Mangroves will produce snook and redfish in July
    by Captain Charlie Conner

    July brings hot weather, chances of afternoon rains and Fourth of July parties. Oh....and lots of great fishing out there, too!  Watch out for afternoon thunderstorms this month.  Mornings on the river will bring action at first light on top water lures for snook or trout along the flats. They will seek deeper water as the sun rises.  It’s a hot, but very productive month around the Treasure Coast.

    I will be fishing along the mangroves for snook and redfish with DOA shrimp, CAL jerk baits and top water lures, like the DOA Airhead, where the water will be 2-3 feet deep.  Trout will move to deeper flats in 2-6 feet of water and will most likely hit pigfish, DOA 2 ¾” shrimp or Deadly Combos.  Look for the trout to move to the deeper edges of the flats as the sun warms up the water.  Fish the sand holes on the flats!  You will find the bigger fish sitting in these holes waiting on the tides to bring the food to them.  It has been another banner year for big trout around the area.  Redfish will continue to hold up on the flats.  Read the water as you move across the flats and look for any activity that might be a school of reds.  Gold spoons, soft baits, like DOA shrimp or CAL jerk baits will work best for them. Search along the docks during the day for snook or redfish hanging around there as well.  It’s a fantastic month to be fishing!

    Bridges will be producing snapper, drum and sheephead during July. Live or dead shrimp will be hard for them to resist.  Watch the tides and fish the slower sides of them for best results. Whiting will continue to be in the surf with the occasional bluefish and Spanish mackerel. There will be larger snapper in the river around structure and along channel edges.  Sharks will be patrolling along the beach also.  The glass minnows will be flowing into the river in huge schools.  Watch for these bait schools and fish the edges for your best action. 

    Areas to fish in the river for July: Bear Point, Queen's Cove and Round Island.  South of Harbor Branch will be a great area to work for trout in the mornings before the sun heats up things. The flats in front of the power plant taper off to 3-5 feet and will be holding trout during the day.  Live pigfish are the favorite food for trout this time of year.  It’s time to set the traps to feed these hungry fish!  Try a DOA TerrorEyz or the DOA PT-7 during the day also for trout.  The west shore down there will be good areas to search out redfish. Channel edges will be yielding snapper on structure.  Tripletail will be around channel markers and pilings to the south towards Jensen Beach.  Have a fun month out there!

    Remember, as always, fishing is not just another hobby……it’s an ADVENTURE!

    Good Fishing,
    Captain Charlie Conner

  • 05/28/2018 12:34 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    A Note from Capt. Tom
    As many of you already know, I’ve been writing fishing report and fishing forecast for many years to assist anglers in becoming both successful and responsible on the water. Well after retiring from the fire service last December it is time to expand on my adventures.  On June 8th I will be exchanging my summertime lagoon adventures to those of guiding anglers for salmon and trophy rainbow trout at the Katmai Lodge on the Alagnak River in Alaska. This is an undertaking I have dreamed of for years, and now I will be living in my dreams.  From what I have learned from the lodge they have good Wi-Fi there, so my adventures will continue online with reports from the Alagnak River and forecast about Central Florida fishing based on my past experiences. So, stay tuned and enjoy fishing in Alaska with me this summer.

    For better results target mornings and late afternoons
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    There’s no doubt summer has arrived on the Indian River Lagoon coast as summer squalls have arrived early.  With temperatures and humidity levels rising as well, it’s wise to concentrate your angling efforts during cool hours of early morning, late afternoon, and night. I know the best time to fish is whenever you have a chance but stay cool if you can.  Fishing in June, July, and August requires some adjustments in your fishing routine, but it doesn't mean the fish are not biting.  June provides some of the best opportunities for shallow water anglers to tackle major fish along the Lagoon coast.

    On the flats, focus your efforts in the morning and in the late afternoon after the thunderstorms dissipate.  Night fishing will also produce descent catches of redfish and trout. When fishing the flats at night, I prefer fishing real slow with glow in the dark shrimp imitation baits like the DOA Shrimp.  If you can only fish during the heat of the day, target docks with deep water access.  In the early morning look for trout and redfish up in the skinny water around concentration of bait and toss them your favorite top water plug.  Also look for schools of bay anchovies (glass minnows) in deeper waters near the end of June.  These schools can be located by watching for small terns and other sea birds working, and they usually are shadowed by concentrations of small trout and ladyfish.

    Near-shore opportunities are typically the best you will see all year for skinny water boats along the beach.  June is the time of year when the kingfish move in close shadowing schools of Atlantic menhaden (pogies) along the beach and in the Port Canaveral buoy line.  When the summer doldrums set in, the waters clear up, and the seas flatten out, the window of opportunity opens for flat bottom boats.  Also, along the beach, look for the tarpon and shark number to increase, and let’s not forget the large schools of jack carvalle and the tripletail fishery will be cranking up.  Remember, snook season closes this week, so let’s give them a chance to relax and get jiggie. I try not to target them, and if I do manage to catch one, I handle it gently and release it with care.

    Offshore, look for the dolphin bite to slow as the schools begin to spread out.  The kingfish concentration will remain good along the inshore reefs and wrecks of 8A Reef and Pelican Flats slow trolling with live pogies producing the most action. Bottom fishing will remain good for snapper and grouper until the first summer squall (tropical system) blows in and muddies up the water.

    On the St Johns River, increasing water levels will finally put the large channel catfish on the move, so if you are interested in some heavy freshwater action try soaking some fresh pealed shrimp in some of the deeper river bends and hang on.

    Currently the water conditions are the best I’ve seen on the Mosquito lagoon in years, let’s just hope the heavy rains we are currently experiencing, and nutrient loads do not trigger another alga bloom.

    Also remember as the days heat up, long battles will kill the larger fish, if you plan on targeting them, you may want to step up your tackle to shorten the battle.  Also leave them in the water as much as possible and revive them completely before releasing them.

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

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn

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