fishing Forecast

  • 04/03/2018 9:08 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Backcountry to the beaches
    by Capt. Greg Manis

    At this point, we could find ourselves fishing anywhere from the backcountry to the beaches. As the water temperature warms, bait will move into the harbor from offshore where it’s been holding in the deeper more stable environment all winter.

    As a result, snook should begin staging up along shorelines adjacent to creeks and cuts looking to fatten up for after the slim pickings of winter. On the east side, anywhere from Ponce Park in Punta Gorda all the way down to the Big Dead Creek and Buzzards Bay area outside Matlacha is good country. On the other side of the harbor, the edge of Bull Bay where it intersects with both Gasparilla Sound and Turtle Bay can be good.

    Redfish should be scattered on the flats and I’ll look out in the open around sand holes as it’s not hot enough for them to be heading for mangrove cover. Around the intracoastal, anywhere from Stump Pass in lemon Bay to Useppa in Pine Island Sound is a good bet.  In addition, don’t be surprised if you run into spotted sea trout while fishing for snook or redfish.  Cobia is also an opportunity. In particular, keep an eye on the outer edge of the bar from Alligator Creek down past Pirate Harbor on the east side.

    Out in the harbor, Spanish mackerel will be scattered all over the place. Looking for birds is a great way to find schools of these fast moving fish. The birds hover over all the bait that’s being pushed to the surface by the mackerel.

    Also, in the upper harbor, we should begin to see our first tarpon. These are resident fish coming out of the rivers. They’ll generally be somewhere in the vicinity of the 20 foot hole. The numbers of ladyfish in the upper harbor probably have something to do with why the tarpon like to hang in the area. In addition, I’ve seen schools of big jacks making their way through this area.  

    Typically, towards the end of the month we’ll start to look for the first of the migratory tarpon working their way up the coast. My favorite way to set up for this is to anchor off Murdock Point outside Johnson Shoals and just wait for something to come down the pike.  It’s all sight fishing and I’ll either throw fly or a live crab. The anchor is attached to a buoy for a quick release.

    Until next month, good tides.

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

  • 04/03/2018 9:01 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Let the games begin!
    by: Capt. Greg Stamper

      April is a great time of the year to be fishing in SWFL! We’ve got it all, like tarpon, permit, cobia, and tripletail to name a few. Our perhaps you’ll want to play in the shallow back-bays for snook, redfish, trout, and big jacks. There’s also shark fishing as an option as they’ll be full speed. The reason is clear, the larger game fish that the sharks prefer to have show up with the massive schools of bait.  So, there’s lots of decisions as to what we’ll be doing, and the weather should be great!

         Tarpon become a big deal and are what we are best known for in Southwest Florida during the next few months. The spawn for tarpon begins now, and they’ll be found along our beaches and nearshore waters. Targeting these fish is usually best on the stronger tides closest to the full moon and with the right kind of bait. I prefer crabs or threadfins, but many tarpon are caught using cut baits and artificial as well. Tarpon will be in town spawning until around mid-June, so if you miss a few good days there will be more. Our typical near shore tarpon will be around 100 pounds and are backbay fish will be 10-40 pounds.

         Snook fishing becomes one of my favorite targets during this time of the year as more and more anglers pursue tarpon, leaving areas holding snook less pressured. Snook begin to patrol the beaches, passes, and rivers stalking schools of sardines, threadfin, mullet, etc. You’ll find that most snook like sandy bottom so looking for them along mangrove shorelines with just that works well. It’s also important to remember that releasing snook verse harvesting them is the right thing to do. This ensures the fishery will continue to be strong for the future. When you do catch a nice fish, get a quick picture then put her right back in the water. Reviving the fish well before releasing her is just as important to assure survival and lots more snooklets in the future.

         Redfish will be happy this month and will be another target many anglers will want to catch. There’s plenty of options as to how we’ll attack them, but the easiest around here is spreads for reds. You can use a variety of baits from shrimp to frozen mullet. Now for those that are good casters, I prefer slowly moving down shorelines, oyster bars, and occasionally docks. Doing this we can throw artificial like DOA shrimp, Swimbaits usually rigged weedless, or perhaps walk the dog for some top water action. This type of fishing keeps anglers busy and can be very rewarding when you get that bite.

         Trout, pompano, jacks, ladyfish, and mangrove snapper are just a few of the other inshore species that we target this month. As most guides do, we cater to what our clients want, so if it’s about numbers and action these species can keep you busy for most of the trip. These fish are great for kids or those who just want an enjoyable day with some fun action. Besides some peeps aren’t up for fighting a fish for 30 minutes anyhow. Targeting these fish is simple, try using a simple popping cork with a live shrimp below it.

         Permit have been rolling into town, and if you’re lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, it can be an experience. Permit are crab eaters but will eat shrimp and clams as well as other crustaceans. When targeting permit, it is best to move quietly preferably on a trolling motor while paying attention to what’s happening on the surface as well as on your depth finder. Permit have excellent eyesight, so using a long fluorocarbon leader say 25lb is a must combined with a 2/0 circle hook will do the job. When you target this species, be sure to have a reel with a good drag that can hold at least 300 yards of line.

         Finally its shark time!  We’ve gottem all starting now and on a good day we can catch a ton. Hammerheads, blacktips, spinners, grays, nurse, etc. all here all fun. It’s a great time for those that want to catch something big. Most of the sharks will be 3-4 feet, but occasionally we’ll get a 7-8 footer. 6/o circle hooks and a variety of baits should get the job done both free lining and weighting a bait down.

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

  • 04/03/2018 8:55 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)
    April's Fishing Outlook

    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    As many of you have heard by now a brown alga bloom in the inshore waters of the Banana River Lagoon has raised its ugly head again.  This is sad news for some parts of our east coastal estuaries and the no-motor zone, but if there is a bright side to this story, this event has open the eyes of many who prefer to look the other way when it comes to the health and preservation of our fragile resources.  Another positive note is the alga bloom is currently isolated to the central Indian River Lagoon and has not occurred in the portions of the Lagoon system north of SR 405 (NASA Causeway) and the Mosquito Lagoon.  This forecast is based on my past experiences fishing in a healthy lagoon system, so I may be off a little on my predictions this month.

    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. As usual, windy conditions have and will limit the fishable days.

    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 sporadic thus far, 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 these areas. When you see 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 trout and redfish 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.

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

    Good luck and good fishing,

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

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

  • 02/28/2018 9:53 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Spring has Sprung, it’s time to fish!
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    I’m not sure what that furry oversized squirrel from up North was thinking, but Spring has sprung here in Southwest Florida. This is an exciting time for all of us that enjoy catching fish throughout the area. With the warming of the water bait, what eats the bait, and what catches them increases daily.  Throughout the area it’s a super busy time, as local Spring training is in full swing and all the guides are booked up catching fish. This is the month that our water temperatures start to consistently stay above 78 degrees thus we’ve got happy fish.

    Redfishing gets good this time of the year. We’ll be looking for schooling fish along grass flats, oyster bars, and even our near shore wrecks. All kinds of different baits will work. Artificial lures from top water to deep divers will get them, as well as live baits and cut ones. In the back bays when we’re not slow rolling on the trolling motor, we’ll put out spreads for reds. Basically, we throw a variety of baits on jigs, chicken rigs, or freelined along shore lines or structure and wait’em out. This is a very productive method to catch reds, snook, trout, etc…

     Snook fishing gets good this time of the year as their moving out of their back-bay winter haunts and can be found on the open flats, beaches, wrecks, and river mouths consistently. Live bait is your best bet as I’ll usually use whitebait or threadfins. Depending on the size of the snook your finding, a typical 30-pound fluorocarbon leader and 2/0 hook works well. Should you run across large snook using your 40-pound leader and moving up a hook size will usually do the trick. 

    Tarpon will be starting to show up, especially if we continue this warm weather pattern we had through February. This will be the beginning of the spawn and you can expect to see lots of reports beginning to show up near everglades national park soon. This push of tarpon will then be heading up the coast following the schools of bait and trailed by many of us trying to catch them. Fishing with crabs or threadfin herring are the best bets during the first month or two for the silver kings.

    For those who just want to have fun and not fight a fish for 40 minutes, we’ve got pompano, trout, jacks, macks, bonita and a bunch of other options. We’ll do a lot of popping cork fishing and jigs tipped with shrimp to target most of these fish. Fishing for these targets is a lot of fun and you don’t have to be an experienced angler to have a great time with these. These are the typical family outings or just those anglers that want to soak up the beauty of or area during their stay.

    So to wrap things up, we may get a few more cold fronts here and there. Februarys weather was excellent, and our water temperatures have already risen to 78 degrees. Even a future front or two isn’t going to change much as far as the progression of Spring. Fishing is going to be good moving forward and your better give your guide a call if you haven’t already done so. It’s going to be a busy season for us and we’d love to get you out.

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


  • 02/28/2018 9:48 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Spring transition
    by
    Captain Michael Manis

    Again, its transition time around the harbor, only this time we’re heading into spring. The winter pattern of low tide sand hole fishing is about to change. We’ll still get to deal with the wind, but warmer air and water temperatures should begin to bring the bait in from offshore and the fish will get aggressive. It’s not unusual to see a good cold snap in March, but overall, it’s a big change from the past two months. Typically, I like to pick up where I left off last month, working the edges of the deeper cuts and creek systems along the east side not far from Matlacha.

    This is the time of year that I like looking for snook. In particular, the younger males can be a lot of fun on fly. This area holds redfish and spotted sea trout so there’s plenty of opportunity. At the top of the harbor, the north end of the west wall and the shorelines at the edge of the western entrance to the Myakka cutoff can also be good spring snook spots.

    Towards the end of the month, it’s even possible to see some resident river tarpon show up in the upper harbor. Generally, April is prime for this bite, but if it’s warm enough, late March could be good. Cobia will also begin to appear around the bars that surround both the east and west walls. I like to pole or run the trolling motor down the outside edge and look for groups of cow nose rays, as it’s not unusual to find the cobia close behind. In addition, these bar structures should still be holding some pompano.

    The sheepshead bite should still be strong anywhere there is structure. The Boca Grande and Placida trestles are very popular as is the artificial reef off Alligator Creek. On windy days, some live shrimp thrown up under any canal system dock can make for a good time. The Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte canals hold good numbers.

    Any of the bays, sounds, and flats that surround the harbor will be holding redfish and spotted sea trout. On average, tides will run higher allowing easier access to most flats. At the north end, Lemon Bay should fish well as should all the flats in the Placida area adjacent to the public ramp.  Any shoreline area in Gasparilla Sound close to the intracoastal is also a good bet. Turtle Bay has potential as well as around Cape Haze Point and up the West Wall.

    Across the harbor, all the flats adjacent to the intracoastal in northern Pine Island Sound are also worth a look. The intracoastal provides such a strong flow of clean water from the passes that it provides great habitat. So, for anglers with minimal time to get out and look it can make finding productive spots a bit easier.

    Until next month, good tides.

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


  • 02/28/2018 9:39 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    The Lavender Azaleas are in Bloom
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    I always use my lavender azaleas as an indicator for the arrival of the cobia migration north through our near-shore waters. Their magnificent blooms favor the same temperatures and weather conditions, and when the azalea blooms peek the time is right. Currently my azaleas are showing some significant blooms, but like the azalea’s delicate blooms, the cobia run will pass before you know it. 

    The current water temperature in Port Canaveral is 73 degrees which is an indication of a very warm February. 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 have also draw manta rays into the shallows shadowed by pods of cobia. Other notable species are tripletail around the buoys and under flotsam, heavy weight jack carvalle near the end of the month, large redfish, and sharks shadowing bait schools. Currently, the cobia have started showing up, and once the seas lay down, cobia mania will begin.

    Weather conditions through next Sunday are not looking good with gusty winds and seas up to 6 feet predicted, so let’s hope the cobia are still around when the seas settle down.

    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.

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

    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 pockets or potholes, and once the afternoon sun warms the water, look for tailing fish on the shallow flats. 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. Last year, fifty bass days were not uncommon as schooling pre-spawn and post spawn fish push schools of menhaden to the surface at first light creating explosive top-water action. Additionally, the American shad run is showing signs of improvement, so give shad a shot while they are still here.

    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

  • 02/01/2018 9:48 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    The American shad bite is good
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    As winters go, we are in the grasp of our coldest winter in ten years and we are experiencing the effects on both the Lagoons and on the St Johns River system.  Although we have seen temperatures in the low 30’s we are fortunate to live in Florida where fishing is a year-round sport.

    On the St Johns River, we are experiencing one of the best American and hickory shad seasons I seen in years with catches being reported in the triple digits. We are still experiencing higher water levels thanks to Hurricane Irma and stronger currents which shad like as well as water temperatures in the 60’s which are ideal conditions.  Although the water level is higher, the level has receded within the banks bringing bait fish and grass shrimp with it, concentrating the fish as well. Last Tuesday while filming an episode of Ultimate Catch TV we boated over 100 fish between us on ultralight spin tackle and fly.

    Inshore on the flats water levels are extremely low, but the colder weather has created some cleaner water conditions throughout the Lagoon. On colder days, falling water temperatures force fish to seek deeper locations in search the warmest water they can find, and they become very sluggish. As the sun warms the water, all it takes is a degree or two of change, the fish will begin to move and feed in the shallows. On the sunny mornings, it is not uncommon to find redfish and trout holding in the sand pockets or potholes within the shallow flats where water temperatures raise faster. Additionally, warming water temperatures combined with sunny spring days and crystal-clear water make February one of the best months to site fish for redfish, large sea trout, and black drum on the lagoon flats.  The freezes we experienced in January have taken a toll on or snook population, and the windy conditions have proven to be tough to fish in.

    Near-shore, look for tripletail concentrations to improve greatly along the Port Canaveral buoy line and under floating weeds and structures, and for cobia to move in shadowing manta rays near the end of the month if the surface water temperatures reach the upper sixties. Now is also the time for shore fisherman to target pompano, bluefish, weakfish, small black drum, sheepshead, Spanish mackerel and whiting in the surf and larger redfish and flounder around the inlets and jetties.  We just have to wait for the seas to settle down to get out there safely.

    Offshore, kingfish are still present along the inshore reefs and wrecks, and they will remain there as long as the water temperature stays above 68 degrees. When targeting kingfish this month focus your efforts on the areas of 8A Reef, Pelican Flats, and Bethel Shoals to the south for best results. Look for cobia and amberjack to be present on the inshore wrecks like the Carol Lee, Dutch, and Sub Wreck out of Port Canaveral. Additionally, live bait is tough to find this time of year, so always carry a box of frozen Spanish sardines with you as backup.

    February is also the time to target tailing black drum and redfish in the Banana River Lagoon "No Motor Zone".  Unfortunately, I am limited to one angler on my NMZ charters, as I fish out of an Indian River canoe. 

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

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters

    mosquitocoast@cfl.rr.com

    www.irl-fishing.com
    407-416-1187 Cell

  • 02/01/2018 9:44 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Timing out the cold fronts will give anglers options
    by Capt. Greg Stamper
       

    Although we may be lucky enough to see 75 degrees a few times in February, temperatures between the mid 50’s and low 70’s are more the reality until March. With a bit of lucky timing regarding cold fronts, anglers will have options.

    Wind becomes a big factor, especially that which comes driving down on us from the North or Northwest. Understanding the effects of cold fronts will dictate how successful your fishing days will be. Northern winds will silt up the backcountry waters in some areas, and mess with the tides in others. As strong fronts blow through they cool the water down. These post front conditions make things challenging for a few days.

    When fishing after a cold front our strategy turns to slow and low. No worries though, those are the days we’ll hide in the creeks and tributaries fishing deeper holes hiding from the wind. Fishing at the doorstep of these cold fronts is always a favorite of mine, and often gives us a good bite. Fish right up to the moment when those cold fronts come rolling in, and the fish will be chewing.

    Now, when we get East clockwise to Southwest winds we get the warmer weather and better fishing in general. So, now that we have the wind thing figured out what are we going to fish for?

    On days when it hasn’t been windy for a while, we fish the clear water. During days like this you will have the possibility of sight casting to redfish, black drum, and even sheepshead in the back bays.

    On cloudy water or dirty water days, try using shrimp or cut bait around the oyster bars and points for better action. Sheepshead will be a big target through February as the big fish spawn both inshore and on the reefs and wrecks. Black drum will continue to be a big target certainly thru March as they stay in and around the creeks, river mouths, canal systems with deeper water, and docks.

    Trout fishing will be good, and it won’t be uncommon to catch them practically every cast at times. You’ll find the trout in 3 to 5 feet of water in good numbers and occasionally find big ones or “gators” up on the flats while red fishing.

    Redfish will be a big target for many of us, as they can be found in small schools cruising around the flats.

    Flounder will show up from time to time, usually hitting small swim baits or jigs tipped with shrimp. It’s not easy finding a big flounder around here, so if you get one close to 20” you’ve done well.

    Pompano will still be plentiful both along the beaches and passes as well as on the nearshore reefs.

         On those beautiful days, when we can run around out in the Gulf of Mexico; tripletail, kingfish, grouper, sheepshead will all be fair game. On the days we have light winds it usually means clean water, especially since we tend to get very little rain during the month of February.

    Taking this into consideration, you will find that tripletail can be a great fish to target nearshore along the crab trap buoys, markers, and coastal signage. You can look for tripletail as you troll around for grouper or kingfish as crab traps are usually in the same areas grouper and kings will be found in. If you don’t want to move around a lot, you can always anchor up near your favorite reef or wreck and give them a go that way.

    When bottom fishing this time of the year, flounder and sheepshead will be around the same areas as the groupers, so rig up accordingly for both. I prefer dropping two rods that can handle a serious grouper, cobia, kingfish, etc... and have two lighter rods with simple jigs to get the action from snappers, sheepshead, flounder, pompano and such.

    Tight lines, 
    Capt Greg Stamper
    Snook Stamp Charters.com
    239-313-1764

  • 02/01/2018 9:40 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Winding down a winter pattern
    by Captain Michael Manis

    Typically, February is an extension of the previous two months in that cooler north winds and low tides provide some decent backcountry sand hole opportunities. This is where redfish and spotted sea trout drop into the shallow depressions on the lower tides waiting for water to come back onto the flat. The flats are full of these depressions and they come in all shapes and sizes.

    On any given year, this month has the potential to start out resembling winter but can end up feeling like someone hit the light switch and all of a sudden it feels like summer. It’s like, what happened to spring? With that being said, it’s also not unusual to get a good cold snap in March. I guess the point is that as February winds down and transitions into spring; you just never know what kind of weather, with the exception of wind, that we’re going to see around Charlotte Harbor. 

    It’s not unusual to see quite a few shallow running skiffs working some of the more popular areas like Pine Island Sound and Lemon Bay. In the sound, I like fishing out of Pineland or the Bokeelia boat ramp and hanging tight to the western edge of the Pine island Shoreline in order to hide from the wind. In lemon Bay, I like the flats adjacent to and north of Buck Creek. These also provide protection from a strong northeast wind.

    Matlacha is one of my favorite areas and the shoreline outside Big Dead Creek and down through Buzzard Bay is well protected from the north winds. Here, the deeper cuts with strong current hold redfish, spotted sea trout and snook.

    The open harbor and adjacent bar systems also hold potential as winter winds down. Pompano are still on the bars like the one that runs the length of the West Wall and down onto Cape Haze Point. Spanish mackerel are scattered throughout the harbor and will be mixed in with lots of ladyfish outside the bars working the schools of glass minnows. Sheepshead are under the Boca Grande and Placida trestles in good numbers. This is a great spot to fish with or without a boat.

     Lastly, area canal systems can also be good. In particular, because of good tidal flow, the perimeter canals of both Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte hold lots of species. Redfish, black drum, spotted sea trout, and snook hang close to the cement seawalls that hold heat from the afternoon sun. Corner spots are prime as that is where current moves the fastest.

    Until next month, good tides.

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

  • 02/01/2018 9:37 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Winter lingers
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    While winter is still around the Treasure Coast and weekly cold fronts will continue to bring cool nights and lots of windy days to the area, fishing will still be good out on the water.  It has been a tough winter so far with all the rain, winds and cold.  Water temperatures can dictate where and how you might fish on any given day this month.  January was a much warmer month this year.  When the water is cold, fish the deeper cuts and drop offs of the river.  Sunny days will bring fish up in shallower waters to feed and the bite can really get hot out on the flats.

    The trout bite picks up very nicely in February.  2017 proved to be the year of big trout in the Fort Pierce area.  I anticipate that 2018 will be another big fish year around the area.  CAL jerk baits and Deadly Combos are exciting ways to trout fish with artificial lures, while live shrimp on popping corks are the ol’ standard way to trout fish out on the river.  Redfish can be found in shallow flats around mangroves and islands.  We had a fantastic winter bite in 2017 around the docks and mangroves for redfish.  On warm sunny days, the reds will sit around the mangroves and soak up the sun.  Finding some along the mangroves will bring some good rod bending action to anglers this month.  DOA shrimp and CAL jerk baits can find some hungry reds hugging the mangrove lines when fished very slowly.  Docks are a great way to find plenty of fish waiting for something tasty to drift under them.

    Sheephead will be plentiful around the river and the larger fish will be coming into the river to breed.  They showed up early this year and January has been a great month for them.  Live or dead shrimp around bridges, docks and structure can provide lots of action in addition to some great tasting fish.  Sand perch and croakers should also be hanging around the inlet and bridges during February.  Pompano around the surf and on the deeper flats of the river can be taken on CAL grub tails, Doc’s Goofy Jigs and shrimp or clams.  Bluefish, mackerel and jacks will continue to haunt the baitfish around the jetties and turning basin.  Small, shiny lures will keep you busy.  There should be some flounder around the back sides of the jetties and on sand flats around the inlet area.

    February is a transition month on the river.  Winter has been challenging this year on the Treasure Coast.  We have enjoyed more normal winter weather and the fish bite has been good for us.  Winds will still be blowing and the water will begin to gradually rise in temperature.  Fishing your lures slowly will certainly give you more action on the river.  Fish tend to be sluggish in the colder water.  Working your lures or bait slower along the bottom will give the fish more time to react to it and will result in more bites for anglers.  Have fun this month and get out fishing!

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

    Thanks and Good Fishing!
    Captain Charlie Conner

    www.fishtalescharter.com
    captaincharlie@fishtalescharter.com
    772-284-3852

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