fishing Forecast

  • 06/29/2019 12:17 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Creek flows and oxygenated 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 winds 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 in close proximity to 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. This is simply a matter of looking for cooler oxygenated water.

    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 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.

    Furthermore, look past the larger well-known creeks and spend some time exploring creeks or even cuts between mangrove islands. I particularly like small creeks that flow out from what look like small ponds or bays within a mangrove island. With high water and a good outgoing tide, many spots like these hold fish.

    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 this month. In either case, the fish will be tight to the bushes, mangroves, and your presentation or cast should be also. As a rule of thumb, if you’re not sticking your fly or lure into a root every once in a while, you’re not fishing close enough. It goes without saying that when this does happen, you need to take the time to get your rig and line back. Never break it off and leave it behind.

    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

  • 06/29/2019 12:13 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Fishing in Our Summer’s Heat
    by Capt Joe Garcia

    Summer is in full swing and it’s not uncommon that water temps will start off warm and can rapidly rise just as the sun does. Add to that, the expected mid day and afternoon storms and a full day on the water can be a challenge to many friends and clients.  It’s time to tap into our wealth of knowledge and to adjust our fishing to what Mother Nature throws at us.  Let’s plan to be on the water early and take advantage of the first few hours.  This ensures that temps, both water and atmosphere will be more tolerable.  In doing so also the fish may be less lethargic, more aggressive and apt to feed. 

    For tackle I tend to downsize my lures, the 3” and 4” Bassassassin Sea Shads and 4” Salt Water Shads are exclusively my go to and the smaller profiles help with a less aggressive presentation when landing.  Color choices will be dictated by water clarity or “the hatch” we see in the area.  My rigging is done mainly on an unweighted 2/0 or 3/0 stout weedless worm hook, with a 1/8 oz hook at times in deeper water.  This helps the casts into mangroves and over oysters less intimidating and productive.  Rods in the 7ft range with medium light/fast actions help present these lures better and make casting easier.  With Snook and Tarpon still lurking my leaders are still tied with 30 or 40lb mono or flouro, ‘cause you never know!

    The fish will be slower to react due to the warm conditions and since we are already downsizing now be sure to work the baits much more gentle as well.  This is not unlike bass fishing when you feel the lure on the bottom as you work it.  Take a moment to instruct and show folks the lures action up close.  A slight, gentle movement of the rod with slow take up from the reel is the best example to use, visualize the lure as it moves slowly and let yourself feel it as it moves.  This allows the lure to be in the fish’s strike zone the maximum amount of time and allowing that finicky fish to make it’s mind up to strike. 

    We tend to take our weather for granted being here all year as we are, but for others this can be altogether a new experience not unlike the fishing may be.  It’s very important that we as Captains keep safety and comfort for others in the forefront.  Be sure to bring plenty of water and maybe sports drinks, keep snacks simple and fruits are a great idea to have available or recommend that folks bring.  Clothing and hat recommendations are important, suggest they bring what works for us and is proven to be most effective for the heat In the end, it’s all about having a good time, seeing new things and enjoying a day in our amazing backyard.

    Tight Lines and have fun!

    Captain Joe Garcia
    Southern Glades Charters

  • 06/29/2019 12:10 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Fish Deep as the Sun Rises
    by Captain Charlie Conner

    July has arrived and it brings hot weather, festive parties and some great fishing action to the Treasure Coast.  Getting out early or late is a must to beat the heat of the day.  Action will begin at first light and late in the evenings.  Water temperatures are warm so look for docks and mangroves that provide shade to help the fish cope with the hot weather. 

    I like to fish docks and mangroves in July.  Redfish like the shade and a DOA shrimp can help you hook up on a nice red.  Docks are usually very productive all year for us.  Top water lures are good to use early on the flats.  There have been some nice trout this year and it’s a great way to target them on the grass flats.  With snook season being closed, I generally try not to target them in summer. 

    There will be larger snapper in the river around structure and along channel edges.  Bridges will be producing snapper, drum and sheepshead 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. Sharks will be patrolling along the beach also.  Watch for the glass minnow schools to flood into the river and you will find lots of action surrounding these tasty morsels!  Jacks, Spanish mackerel and bonito are a few of the fish that love to feast on the glass minnows.

     Fish deeper water as the sun warms things up.  I like channel edges for a variety of species as the water temps get into the upper eighties.  Incoming tides will bring in cooler water and that’s a good time to fish!  Try Harbor Branch, Queen’s Cove and Bear Point this month for some good action.  Enjoy fishing in July!

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

    Good Fishing,
    Captain Charlie Conner

  • 05/31/2019 6:29 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Summer Doldrums
    by Captain Tom Van Horn

    Yep, the heat and humidity are rising, and so are fishing prospects along the Indian River Lagoon Coast of Florida. Hot summer days can be brutal, so the prudent angler and the fish will take advantage of the cooler nights and early morning and late evening hours to feed and stock their prey, and then they snooze in the shade and deeper areas once the heat turns up. So, adjust your routine in June, July, and August, by fishing at night, during the predawn hours, and in the late afternoon after work and reap the rewards of the summertime fishing bonanza. 

    Look for the tarpon and shark numbers to increase along the beach, and let's not forget about the schools of large jack crevalle and the tripletail as both fisheries are cranking up. Remember, snook season closes this week, so let's give them a chance to relax and get jiggie. Try not to target them, and if you do happen to catch one, please handle it gently and release it with extreme care. 

    When the summer doldrums set in, the waters clear, and the seas flatten out, the window of opportunity opens for smaller boats, so near-shore opportunities are typically the best you'll see all year 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, and slow trolling live pogies can result in some outstanding catches. 

    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, so again slow trolling with live pogies will produce the best action. Additionally, bottom fishing will remain good for snapper and grouper until the first summer squall (hurricane) blows in and muddies up the water.

    On the flats, focus your efforts between 5am and 9am, 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 Glow Shrimp.

    If you can only fish during the heat of the day, target the docks with deepwater 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. 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. These fast-moving schools produce fast and furious action for fly anglers casting small top-water popping bugs. 

    Remember as the days heat up, long battles will kill fish, so if you plan on targeting large fish please step up your tackle to shorten the battle. Also, dissolved oxygen levels are low, so 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
    Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
    407-416-1187 on the water

  • 05/30/2019 6:58 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Still Going Strong in SWF
     by Capt. Greg Stamper

    June is here and the fishing will continue to be great! All options are open for anglers fishing both the shallow flats and nearshore waters the entire month. Tarpon are going to continue to take up most of my anglers’ time here in Southwest Florida, but snook, redfish, permit, and cobia will be also targeted. We can expect the waters around us to continue the warming trend as we creep toward the dog days of Summer.

    Tarpon of all sizes will be found along practically every shoreline and back bay estuary throughout the region. Early mornings and during the evenings will be prime fishing. Tarpon will be chasing massive schools of glass minnows as well as threadfins from 6 feet all the way out to 20 miles at times. Fishing around bridges and passes at night, especially on the outgoing tides can be very good. If you haven’t been getting on the tarpon bite, then you’ve missed out for about 2 months now.

    Snook are now going to be found cruising the beaches, usually within a few feet. These fish will be getting fat on the schools of white bait as they get ready for their July spawn. You can sight fish them along the beaches now or stay back in the back bays or around docks as they’ll be plenty there as well. Flys that mimic the small baitfish you see, artificial lures that look similar, or the real thing are the goto’s. Snook will be catch and release for a while, so please handle fish with care to ensure their survival.

    Redfish should be in the mix for bay anglers as well as trout hopefully soon. We’ve had a tough time getting trout in my neck of the woods since last June, so I’m keeping my figures crossed there. Pompano, mackerel, and a host of other action fish will continue to big good as well as shark fishing.

    Tight lines,

    Capt. Greg Stamper

  • 05/28/2019 4:24 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Light Tackle Red Snapper
    by Captain Tim “SGT” Peterson

    Red snapper are found in extremely high numbers this time of year.  Summer fishing season is in full swing! Tuna, mahi mahi, wahoo, barracuda, king mackerel, cobia, and tarpon are all here and ready to eat.

    An angler’s best bet offshore in June is to catch red snapper 5-15 miles offshore. Smaller keeper size snapper can be caught in state water and are plentiful until the mid to end of the month when the waters start to get too warm for them to feed heavily during the day. But the big boys are 12-30 miles out in 85-200 ft of water. Look for hard bottom on your sonar, a wreck, or a tower. The snapper may not be right over it, but I promise they are close. They like to move around an area a bit so anchoring is not always needed unless the wind is blowing like crazy or you’re fighting super-fast current. They may even be biting on the surface of the water. You can catch them on almost anything when they are fired up, but sometimes, they are hook shy.  When the bite is slow, just keep lowering the size of your hook and leader.

    For natural bait, pinfish, and squirrel fish are everyone’s favorite.  Big, large, frozen squid is my favorite big red snapper bait.  I will sometimes put out two on the same hook.  If the fish are eating your bait before it gets to the bottom, try a small bit of squid for scent with a large frozen fish.  Or just go big with a huge squid and a huge frozen fish.  I have caught monsters this way.  An old timer told me about this, and called it the smorgasbord.  If the fish is frozen, the little fish can’t peck away at it all by the time it hits the bottom. They eat the squid on the way down, causing the larger fish to become interested.  When the large frozen fish hit the bottom, the large ones hammer it because of the social proof of the little ones feeding on it. Cut frozen cigar minnows, northern mackeral, Spanish sardines and fresh off the boat shrimp. You can chum up the red snapper and get them to hit almost anything that flashes.

    For artificial options, I prefer Williamson vertical speed and flutter jigs, diamond hammered silver jigs, old fashion white lead head 5 oz jig with a large white rubber grub tipped with  fish bites.

    For light tackle rods, my favorite is 4500 Spinfisher VI, Ugly Stick Tiger Elite medium heavy jigging rod, rigged Carolina style knocker weight with 30-40 lb test Kastking braid, plastic bead to protect the knot 3-4 oz lead weight, 40 lbs swivel, and 4-8 ft 40-80lb fluorocarbon test Seegear pink leader, and a 1/0 or 2/0 Owner circle hook. If you ask around, you will hear a wide range of what people like to use. When you get offshore on large artificial reefs, I would bump it up to a 6000 series spinning reel and 50 – 80lb test or you may lose nice fish if you’re not careful.

    Ultra-light Flatline (fishing on the surface or just below it), use 20-25lbs test Hi Seas Camo monofilament,  4-8 ft 30lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 -2/0 owner circle hook and 40lb swivel. For this, use an 8500 series reel as you will hook into some larger fish that you will need the line capacity for.

    Light tackle snapper fishing braid is used for three reasons: One, so you can keep more line on your real. Two, so there is less friction on the main part of the line for very long runs and fighting the fish back to the boat. Three, so when you get an inexperienced person trying to reel one in, they don’t twist up the monofilament very badly by reeling when the fish is taking out line. When you twist mono, it stretches more and can break more easily. It is also great when dropping in deeper water with fast current. Keep in mind if the goliaths and sharks are around this may not be the most effective way to fish that day.

    A reel with a high retrieve ratio, and a very smooth durable drag is very important so you can get the slack out of the line and get the fish past the monsters below. This is a scenario where you must have a high quality reel. Starting at Penn Battle 2 and up. The others simply are not the right tool for the job. I find the best value to be the Spinfisher line. My favorite is the Battle 3 Slammers.

    Until next month, practice your Fish Jitsu.

    Captain Tim Peterson
    Captain ‘SGT’ Peterson’s - “More than just fishing”

  • 05/28/2019 4:20 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Lots of Options
    by Captain Michael Manis

    For many, this could simply be an extension of May.  If the tarpon are numerous, it’s difficult not to fish them. For many, fishing a live crab or threadfin along the beaches or up in the harbor works well.

    On fly, I’ll spend most of my time inside Pine Island Sound. When the wind lies down I’ll make my way along the beach between Captiva and Boca Grande Pass.  Because these are large migrating fish, I’ll fish an eleven or twelve weight rigged with a floating line. I also prefer no more than a 20 lb. line class tippet but will use a 60 or 80 lb. piece of shock tippet. Typically, I’ll stick with a 3/0 black and purple Puglisi baitfish pattern.

    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.

    In addition, as snook prepare for their spawn, they’ll be all over the beaches. However, they’ll still be inside around deep cuts and tidal creeks. Turtle Bay and around Cape Haze to the southern end of the West Wall can fish well. Too, along the east side around Big Dead Creek and Buzzard Bay north of Matlacha holds good fish. Here, I like a 2/0 Puglisi mangrove baitfish pattern fished with a seven or eight weight rigged with a floating line.

    Redfish 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. Here, I’ll throw the same gear and patterns that I throw for snook.

    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 should be in the upper harbor at the mouth of the Myakka River. Big jack crevalle can be found 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.

    Until next month, good tides.

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

  • 05/28/2019 4:15 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Ladies on the water
    by Capt. Joe Garcia

    There is no greater satisfaction than sharing what we enjoy with the ones we love. The ladies both in our lives and as guest can be great stewards of this amazing sport and the experience we share will dictate a return trip and an interest that may grow and they can share.  Keep in mind that this is new to many of them and that we are now in teaching mode, so have fun and keep it simple!!   

    Experience levels will vary and with few exceptions a “quantity experience” will win over a monster fish hunt so it’s time to break out the knocker rigs, the popping corks and the jigs and seek out those trout, snapper, sheepshead and juvi holes.  A fast action light/medium inshore rod with a 2500 or 3000 series reel will be light and comfortable and much less tiring on the arms allowing for easier casting of those lighter lures and baits.  Become a teacher and include them in the process, show them how we tie leader and hooks on, why we have a jig or popping cork on and what our bait or lure choices are. 

    As we head out make our runs short and direct to those areas that we know will produce the most action, remembering that size fish may not play a huge role.  Look for those grass flats and structure and start setting lines.  Bait choice can be shrimp, white baits, pilchards and cut mullet, with an artificial thrown in for fun.  Casting with artificial will both teach a new skill, break the monotony of waiting and can in fact produce exciting strikes.  Easy to use artificials can be as simple as a gold spoon or soft swim bait.  Keep close to cover and walk them through their casts, something I say always is that smooth is fast and that the rod is built to work for us.   

    When we are introducing these ladies to our sport, be mindful of comfort to.  Have water and snacks available, know where a “rest stop” can be driven to.  Plan ahead with a surprise stop and take them to a beach where to have lunch and give them a chance to stretch.  If possible a beach or landing that allow shell collecting and has unique photo opportunities.  Remember we are making memories and creating a positive experience for them and us.

    Tight Lines and have fun!

    Captain Joe Garcia
    Southern Glades Charters

  • 05/28/2019 4:12 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Look for Snook around the bridges in June
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    June brings about hot summer days and great fishing action around the Treasure Coast.  It’s a time to get out early or late in the day and avoid the afternoon heat.  Winds will be the calmest of the year so far and water temperatures will be in the mid to high eighties most days.  June is an awesome month to enjoy the fishing in the area.

    Redfish, trout, snook and tarpon will be the main targets this month.  Redfish will be hanging around mangroves, grass flats and docks.  DOA shrimp or CAL shad tails are the perfect lures to target reds.  I like root beer or copper colors.  Most of the redfish will be slot sized fish.  Trout will be feeding on the grass flats both early and late in the day.  Top water lures are the best choices for trout with switching to DOA paddle tails once the sun rises up high.  Start shallow and move out to 3-5 feet as the temperature heats up.  The DOA Deadly Combo is a great way to search out the sea trout on the flats.

    Snook will be found around bridges, inlets and sea walls in June.  Live bait or DOA Terror Eyz are great ways to fish for snook.  Don’t forget that the season is closed, so handle the fish carefully and get them released quickly. Night fishing will also be one of the best times to snook fish.  Look for tarpon along the beaches, inlets and channels.  Live and cut bait or DOA Terror Eyz are some of the popular choices for tarpon.  Look for jacks, ladyfish and mackerel in the inlets as well. 

    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

  • 04/26/2019 3:15 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Life is good. 
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    Well, not a lot is going to change as we enter May and continue to catch all kinds of fish. Tarpon will continue to be a big draw throughout the area this entire month. Snook fishing gets better and better as the fish start cruising the beaches. Redfish of all sizes become plentiful in our back-bays along with the possibility of some trout sprinkled in. Even the passes and jetty’s will be great for action with fish such as pompano, mackerel, sharks, etc.

    Tarpon fishing throughout the area will be done a lot of different ways. Some anglers will focus primarily on the schools of big fish found along our beaches and sometimes several miles offshore. These big schools of fish can be seen rolling on the surface, free jumping at times, and with the new technology side scanned on your GPS. Crabs, threadfin, ladyfish, and even catfish are the typical baits for the tarpon. In the back bays we’ll have a bunch of smaller tarpon typically ranging from 10-60 pounds. These are fun sizes to catch as they can be landed in a generally short amount of time on both spinning gear and fly rods.

    Snook are going full speed now and can be found both on the beaches as well as stacked up on the local wrecks and reefs. Anglers can go after snook several different ways. Leader size and length can make or break the day. Depending on the size of the snook that you’re catching as well as the clarity of the water, I recommend 30 pound fluorocarbon in general. Snook leaders should be a minimum of 3 feet in length and artificial baits, live white bait, and flys that mimic them all work effectively. When the fish get big bumping up the leader size a bit is a good idea. Snook over 30 inches or so can chew through 30lb rather easily so bumping it up to 40lb and occasionally 50lb may be necessary.

    The passes throughout the areas will be loaded with all kinds of different fish at different times. I use the passes as a starting or stopping point for fishing the change of tides. Basically, those areas will have the first moving water and the last in general. One thing for sure moving water is a key component down here for catching fish. So, when we get close to that last hour of tide that’s a good place to be.

    Tight lines,

    Capt Greg Stamper

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