fishing Forecast

  • 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

  • 05/28/2018 12:27 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Early Summer Variety
    by Captain Michael Manis

    For many, this could simply be an extension of May.  If the tarpon are abundant, it’s difficult not to fish them. To be expected, the tarpon do draw a crowd; it’s just part of the experience.  On the other hand, it does open up lots of shoreline in the backcountry and on more than one occasion I’ve found myself taking advantage of this newfound tranquility.

    Snook will be all over the beaches. However, there will still be snook inside. Particularly around deep cuts and tidal creeks. Turtle Bay and around Cape Haze to the southern end of the West Wall as well as along the east side around Big Dead Creek and Buzzard Bay north of Matlacha are some of my favorite areas.

    Redfish, although not as abundant as in years past, will be in the bushes, mangroves, in just about all the bays and sounds that surround the harbor. As the water temperature heats up, I like looking in areas adjacent to the intracoastal. The cooler oxygenated water coming in from the Gulf helps provide good healthy habitat. In addition, the intracoastal covers lots of ground with good shoreline from Stump Pass in Lemon Bay to Captiva Pass in Pine Island Sound.

    The northern end of Pine Island Sound between Cabbage Key, Useppa and Mondongo Island is one of my favorite zones. A bit further north, the flats adjacent to Stump pass can be really good. This includes both sides of the intracoastal running both north and south.

    Sharks are abundant and soaking a piece of cut bait anywhere near the Cape Haze artificial reef has a chance of getting picked up. Cobia are in the upper harbor at the mouth of the Myakka River. Big jack crevalle are also moving up and down the drop off outside the West Wall. In many cases, they can be seen pushing water at the bar’s edge. In both cases, the cobia and jacks, just about any bait placed where they can see it should get eaten.

    Taking all this into consideration, I’d still like to try and find some time to explore a few tidal creeks looking for baby tarpon. In some cases, these fish don’t see a lot of pressure and are a lot of fun on fly. Placida and Lemon Bay have some good systems. In addition, the creek and canal systems around Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte have potential.    

    Until next month, good tides

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

  • 05/28/2018 12:23 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Great fishing continues
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    You can bet on another great month of catching, as we continue through some of the best fishing of the year. This month we wind down the big tarpon spawn, but don’t worry there will still be lots of opportunities to go after them. Snook are going full speed both on the beaches and in the bays, redfish can be found in good numbers, and trout should be easy to complete the back-country slam. There’s also a lot of fun things we can target for those that just want to have fun or catch a giant.

    Tarpon will continue to be found throughout the area. We will target them along all the beaches as well as our nearshore waters. At times we may go less than a mile from the dock, other days you may have to run a bit looking for rolling fish, jumpers, or using your side scan to locate them. We still fish with the same baits consisting mostly of threadfin herring and crabs but busting out some catfish tails can also be very productive. It’s important to remember as the water continues to warm to use the appropriate tackle. Plan on hooking fish up to 150 pounds, with this mindset you’ll need to go heavy enough to get that fish in within 30 minutes. You don’t want to exhaust a tarpon fighting it for an hour and endanger its chance of a successful release.

    Snook fishing is a blast for anglers of all ages during June. The average Jo can find them by foot. Individuals that are willing to put a few miles in walking the beaches will do well. Throwing your choice of lure down the beach within the first few feet works well. I’ll be targeting them more in the backcountry, docks, and wrecks. Preferable I’ll use white bait or threadfins to target most of mine. Occasionally when I have clients that can cast well, we’ll pound the bushes with the same artificial we use on the beaches. During July this pattern will certainly continue, so if you can’t get out this month you won’t be missing it.

    Redfish are happy this time of the year as lots of anglers are trying to chase the tarpon or snook. This leaves the redfish less pressured in some key areas. Redfishing will be good, especially around the days with stronger tides. Shorelines, oyster bars, or cuts that have good moving water should have them. Swim baits, cut baits, or live bait will all work once you find them. Occasionally if you’re in areas with good grass, you’ll see tailing fish. When you do find tailers, I prefer throwing artificial lures to them. When fishing shorelines, freelining live baits as you slowly move down them works well. Finally, when fishing oyster bars I prefer the bait and wait approach as I’ll put out spreads for reds.

    Shark fishing is now in full speed. They’ve been here for the last two months and will stay through November. That’s when the tarpon will be moving back down and through here from the North. There’s all kinds of sharks here from hammerheads, blacktips, spinners, sands, and even an occasional sawfish. Cut baits like mullet, ladyfish, etc. will all work well. I recommend 30 or 40-pound braid and a 80-pound leader. 6/o circle hooks work well, and I don’t even use wire leader. Once you chum a little they will start showing up, expect catching 10 in 4 hours as that’s standard around here on an average day. These sharks will be anywhere from 3 feet up to 10 foot so be ready.

    Tight lines.

    Capt. Greg Stamper

  • 05/28/2018 12:20 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Get out the top waters
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    Summer has arrived and you can bet on hot afternoons and lots of great fishing action around the Treasure Coast during June.  The mornings will be calm and it is certainly to your benefit to get out early to beat the afternoon heat.  Being on the water at first light is worth the effort to watch the sun rise.  Expect a chance of afternoon thunderstorms each day…we can always use some rain around the area this time of year!  Watch the weather each afternoon out there.  It’s a fantastic month to fish.

    Inshore will provide lots of redfish, snook and trout action on the flats.  Get those top water lures cleaned up and plan an early morning to get some of that explosive action in the shallows.  Try the DOA Airhead or Bait Buster for great top water action.  Switch to DOA shrimp or a CAL jerk bait as the sun warms up to continue your success.  Watch for bait schools on the flats and you can be assured there are fish nearby.  You can expect the fish to be feeding shallow early and move to the edges of the flats as the sun rises.  Look for sand holes on the flats!  Fish are traditionally lazy and love to sit in a sand hole and wait for the tide to bring the food for them to ambush.

    You should be able to find plenty of redfish around the shallows.  The population this year has been outstanding and they have been growing all spring.  Redfish schools will be feeding on the flats, so be on the lookout for them.  Most will be slot size to just over the slot.  I love using a DOA shrimp or CAL paddle tails while fishing for reds.  Try along the mangroves as well.  Lots of fish will move under the mangroves as the sun heats up for the day.  Trout will be on the grassy flats and feeding on the same food out there.  Move out to three to five feet of water as the day heats up to continue your action.  A Deadly Combo can provide inexperienced anglers with lots of fun learning to fish artificials.    Don’t forget to fish the docks around the river.  Lots of big fish will be hanging around many of the docks along the Indian River.  Live bait, TerrorEyz and DOA shrimp can find some exciting action in June.  Harbor Branch, Queens Cove and Bear Point will all be hot spots for action all summer.

    Snook will provide plenty of action around the bridges and jetties this month.  Snook season closed on May 31 and won’t open again until fall.   Night anglers will be heading to the jetties for catch and release snook and maybe some tarpon action.   Top water lures, feather jigs, TerrorEyz and Bait Busters can all get you in on some fantastic action.  Handle the snook carefully and release them quickly and safely so that they will be there this fall.  Jacks will also be hanging around the inlets and give you some rod bending activity.

    Make sure you take plenty of water with you.  It will be hot out there.  Drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated and reduce the risk of heat stroke.  Slather on lots of sunscreen!  Sunburn isn’t a good feeling at the end of the good day of fishing.  A little common sense and a few minutes can a big difference.  Make that part of preparations for your adventures on the water.  It will just make a great day even better!

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

    Good Fishing,

    Captain Charlie Conner

  • 05/03/2018 12:30 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Bait pods on the beach
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    Summer is here, and the longer days allow anglers along Florida's Space Coast the ability to spend their afternoons after work relaxing on the water. Warming coastal waters of May draw streams of baitfish north followed by warm water predators and our prevailing easterly winds give way to summers genially shifting sea breezes. May serves as the beginning of our summertime fishing for tarpon, large jacks, kingfish and sharks just off the beach, so break out your heaver tackle and join in on the adventure.

    Inshore, the bait pods, Atlantic menhaden (pogies), have shown up along the beach, and now is the best time to target the ocean predator shadowing these schools. It's not uncommon to catch large redfish, large jack crevalle, blacktip sharks, cobia, and tarpon from within the same pods of bait. To locate bait pods, simply look for feeding birds, flipping and jumping bait, muddy water along the beach, and busting fish.

    Spanish mackerel, snook, redfish, jack crevalle, bluefish, flounder, sheepshead and black drum are just some of the species available in the Lagoon inlets and beaches this month. As the baitfish migration moves north, this type of fishing will only get better.

    Offshore, dolphin fishing will be the focus of blue water anglers this month. April and May are the time of year when the larger bulls are taken off the Florida Space Coast. The early season dolphin bite has already yielded so big fish. As a bonus, the potential of taking a blue marlin, wahoo or sailfish are good. Near-shore, the kingfish bite has heated up on the near-shore reefs and wrecks and some cobia are still around. As the seas settle down and the bait schools move in close to the beach, look for the kingfish action to move in as well.

    On the Lagoon flats, redfish and spotted sea trout will provide most of action for light tackle and fly anglers. The water has warmed up to the point where jack crevalle, ladyfish, snook, and tarpon are showing up. Although they will bite all day, I like to target redfish and sea trout at first light or at dusk with top water plugs like the High Roller Pop Roller and Rip Roller. As the day heats up, change your focus to the deeper edges of the flats (2 to 3 feet deep) jigging with a DOA CAL Shad or 4" & 5.5" jerk baits.

    On the St Johns River, increased rainfall has water levels rising and should have the larger catfish on the move, so it's once again time to start soaking bait in the deeper bends of the river.

    As always, if you need information or have any questions, please contact me. Also, please consider fishing with my guide service if you would like to tackle any of the above species with my assistance.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn

  • 05/03/2018 12:24 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Prime time
    by Captain Michael Manis

    Without a doubt, this is one of the best times of year to be on the water. Bait, scaled sardines and threadfin herring, move in and are scattered throughout the harbor and surrounding bays and sounds. The water temperature is warming up, isn’t too hot yet, and everything is on the feed.  Furthermore, no matter what kind of vessel you fish, access is good. There’s opportunity from the upper harbor to the beaches and all the flats in between.

    For me, it’s an opportunity to get in some snook and tarpon fishing. Right now, snook are cruising up and down shorelines on both sides of the harbor. The east side is good from Alligator Creek all the way down to the Matlacha Bridge. The west wall has good numbers from Cattle Dock to Cape Haze Point. Going west, shoreline points, cuts, and creek edges between Cape Haze and Cayo Pelau at the base of Gasparilla Sound can be good.

    This being said, it’s still hard to not spend the entire month hunting tarpon.  Early in the month, resident fish coming out of the rivers group up in the deeper holes of the upper harbor. In fact, at first light, they can be seen rolling anywhere from the U.S. 41 Bridge to the holes off Pirate Harbor. Furthermore, by mid-month we should be seeing the migratory schools making their way up from the keys providing the run that makes Boca Grande the tarpon fishing capital of the world. At this point, I like spending my time off the beach between Boca Grande and Captiva Pass.

    My favorite spot is off Murdock Point just south of Boca Grande Pass. Here, on a good day, I like to stake off with an anchor set up with an attached buoy for quick deployment. This allows me to free myself from the anchor if a fish starts pulling so much line that we have to give chase. If I’m not throwing a fly, I like to fish small live crabs on a spinning rod. Some days, if the fish are harder to find, I’ll set up a controlled drift with the trolling motor to cover more ground. 

    Redfish and spotted sea trout will also take advantage of the bait influx and will be scattered throughout the flats. In particular, I like flats adjacent to the intracoastal in both Lemon Bay and Pine Island Sound. In Lemon Bay, keep an eye around Stump Pass; in Pine Island Sound, the northern end around Useppa can really fish well.

    Until next month, good tides,

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

  • 05/03/2018 12:16 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Pick your species
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

          May is just a perfect time to be fishing throughout Florida and especially here in Southwest. The options are endless for both the inshore and offshore angler. There’s all kind of action from all the fun things to catch. We’ll be targeting snook, redfish, and tarpon primarily, but permit, trout, pompano and cobia will be in the mix. 

         Snook are plentiful this time of the year, and the season will therefore be closed. That’s probably a good thing for the population as snook will be cruising in schools along our beaches in big numbers. On good calm days this is the place to be with flyrods or spinning tackle, sight casting to fish anywhere from 15 inches to 45. The snook will be tight to the beaches as they keep tabs on the schools of bait that are plentiful. Snook will also stack up on the wrecks and nearshore reefs and are usually of the large variety. Using a threadfin on the bottom usually on a tarpon rod can be productive to give anglers a chance at one of them.

         Tarpon is now in full swing and can be found in and around all our passes and up and down our coast. These fish will be moving around in big schools and can often be seen rolling or free jumping on the good days.  Crabs are the number one choice around here and threadfin herring a close second. The size of the nearshore and offshore fish ranges from 80 pounds up to 200, so prepare accordingly. Personally, I prefer catching to juvenile tarpon that now stack up in our back bays and around structure in good numbers. These fish can also be seen rolling around in schools but free jump less. These back-bay tarpon are usually 10-40 pounds are a blast.

         Redfishing will be great this time of the year and can often give anglers several fish each trip. There’s a lot of glass minnows and white bait on and around the flats so sight fishing is an option. The times where the water is churned up can make things a bit tougher but using search baits such as top water plugs or the old faithful gold spoon can help you find them.  You still have the option of putting out spreads for reds, as this is an easy way to catch them and takes minimal skill. The hurry up and wait approach catches tons of redfish all year long.

         Finally, for those that just enjoy a fun time there will be lots of fun with pompano, trout, ladyfish, snappers, etc. Those who like constant action or have kids this is for you. Jigs tipped with shrimp are a sure way to catch a variety of species when worked through the water column correctly. If the anglers aren’t good casters, then a simple popping cork and shrimp can still produce. Remember the guide is working for you, so let them know what your looking to do and if the opportunity presents itself they’ll make it happen.

    Tight lines Capt. Greg Stamper

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