Early March SW Florida Fishing Report

I am excited to report that fishing (catching) has really turned on this past week and with continued warm weather, there is no reason not to believe SPRING FISHING IS HERE! Fishing has been ‘spotty’ and very tough at times due to a fractional seasonal change. SW Florida water temperatures have been around 68 degrees (F) for most of the winter and affected migratory patterns.

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Captain Terry’s SW Florida Fishing Report

(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor)

Since my last report, fishing has been difficult due to low water levels, strong winds from the west, and little change in seasonal temperatures. Weather related, this has been an extremely mild winter, especially when compared to last January and February. None-the-less, time on the water boating and fishing has been exceptionally nice due to warm weather, warm water temperatures and moderate ‘cool’ fronts.

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Mid-February SW Florida Fishing Report

The beginning half of February has proven to be quite successful for Fishin’ Frank and his clients! This past weekend there have been multiple reports of Pompano along the coast and are best caught with sand fleas, pieces of peeled Shrimp under a popping cork or tiny trap and jigs. Fishin’ Frank recommends the jigs like a small buck-tail or a Crazy/Banana Jig Placing a small piece of Shrimp meat on the point of the hook will better your odds. If you are using the Crazy/silly jigs then Fishin’ Frank recommends the ones with the teaser attached although he has been selling more of the plain ones. Pink and white or Chartreuse and white are the best-selling colors. He has also found that the Pompano are within casting distance from the beach all along the coast line.

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Early February SW Florida Fishing Report

(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor)

The back half of January proved to be less productive than most of us like. However, Snook, Seatrout, Jack Crevalle and Mangrove Snapper were very active inshore. Recently, the larger Sheepshead have begun to show up on around docks and mangroves. Pictured here is Rex Burlison of St. Louis, Missouri holding a nice Sheepshead he caught in a St. James City canal. Not to be outdone, brother Ron Burlison of St. Peters, Missouri landed a few Mangrove Snappers, small Snook as well as the Sheepshead he is holding. Rex, Ron and a friend are pictured together here holding one of the bigger Snook Rex landed that day. Nice job guys!

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Captain Terry’s SW Florida Christmas Time Fishing Report

(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor)

Christmas and the New Year Holiday brought good weather and lots of opportunities to accommodate a number of charter requests from locals and visitors alike. Fishing was ‘spotty’ during the Christmas break but still produced a number of great trips with sufficient catches of Grouper, Seatrout, Mangrove Snapper and Spanish Mackerel to satisfy most.

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Captain Terry’s SW Florida Holiday Fishing Report

(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor)

This is the time of the year when many come from the frigid areas of the north to enjoy the holidays of Christmas and the New Year. The last few charters have delivered some nice catches for my young anglers. The catches were from the southern end of Pine Island Sound all the way north to Charlotte Harbor. Due to the lower winter tides, most of the game fish were caught south of the power lines in open water, around mangrove islands with oyster clusters and dead wood. The water is clearing up around the mouth of the Caloosahatchee since the Corps of Engineers have quit sending fresh water to us from Lake O. Seatrout, Redfish, Snook, Mangrove Snapper, Spanish Mackerel and small shark made up most of the ‘bounty’.

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“Full Moon Rising!” Says Captain Terry

(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor)

Full Moon Rising! It appears that the next number of days will provide great fishing accompanied by good weather and good tides. Last week the tropical storm prevented fishing, but as of last Saturday (September 3rd) everything seemed to be returning to normal, including the fish bite. Captain Davey Dunlap and I fished the Redfish Flats Invitational (Ronald McDonald Sponsorship) out of Cape Harbour in Cape Coral. We finished in the money with two Redfish weighing in at approximately 10lbs. 9 oz.

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Boat Appétit: Life in a seafood lover’s paradise.

prawn salad

Boat Appétit: Life in a seafood lover’s paradise.

As boaters in Southwest Florida, one of the great activities the lifestyle affords us is enjoying a day on the water followed by a waterfront meal. And when it comes to the menu of options available in this part of the world, it is as appetizing as you’ll find—especially when you consider the opportunities to enjoy locally-caught seafood. This is something visitors from around the country come here craving, which should enhance your appreciation for your own backyard…along with your appetite. Popular and unique seafood choices are everywhere along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Here are some of our favorites:

Grouper

The domestic species caught off the coast of Florida is white and lean with a mild sweet flavor. Red Grouper meat is firm with a heavy flake and remains moist after cooking. It is one of the most popular choices in this region.

Oysters

Raw, cooked or smoked, oysters are another local favorite. Texture is a big part of their appeal. They are firm and slippery at the same time—or should be. The farther south you go and the warmer the water gets, the softer the oyster becomes. In contrast, an oyster from very cold water can be described as crisp or even crunchy. We enjoy and prefer the former here in Florida.

Pink Shrimp

Discovered in SW Florida just before 1950, this sweet, tasty variety indigenous to the Gulf of Mexico are considered by shrimp connoisseurs to be some of the sweetest in the United States. In fact, shrimp fishermen have considered it “pink gold” since the early 1950s. And, as anyone who has heard Bubba’s lengthy monologue—in the motion picture Forrest Gump—there is no limit to the ways you can enjoy what he calls the “fruit of the sea.”

Snapper

Red snapper is a firm-textured fish with moist, white flesh that is delicate and mild. It can be served broiled, baked, steamed, poached, fried or grilled. Red snapper responds well to most cooking methods. Baked whole red snapper stuffed with fresh herbs and seasoning is just one excellent recipe. Red snapper is excellent for grilling, and spring is the perfect time to fire up the barbecue. Lemon, butter and fresh chili peppers are great ways to season red snapper.

Stone Crab

This seasonal favorite is available fresh October 15 through May 15 in Florida. A sustainable and renewable food source, the claws are harvested from the crabs one at a time—leaving the crab with one intact upon releasing them. The claws then grow back within a year in adult crabs. They can be served hot with drawn butter or chilled—usually with a cold mustard sauce.

Mullet

One of the most underrated fish in the state, mullet have been a well-kept secret for as long as anyone can remember. This versatile, tasty fish can be prepared a multitude of ways and is, generally, a pleasant surprise to first-time tasters with its pleasant flavor and texture.

Your own catch

Many waterfront restaurants will cook your fresh caught fish for you. Local anglers know this well, as it is not uncommon for boats to tie up to a local seafood eatery, hand over their catch which is then cleaned and cooked to order—for a fee, of course. But we defy you to find a way to have seafood any fresher. So there you have it…a quick guide to enjoying life in a seafood lover’s paradise. This site has a map of many of the most popular waterfront dining spots for you to reference. Explore and enjoy!

Christmas Memories

This past holiday season I received a phone call from Mr. Chris Kelly of St. Augustine, Florida requesting a charter (on a short notice) for his 10 year old daughter Chloe for either December 23rd or 24th. Like most local ‘Charter Captains’, I was fully booked through the New Year and the only day I had off was Christmas Day. I tried to find Chloe a ‘ride’ but to no avail. Her father told me how much Chloe loved to fish and had requested a charter for part of her Christmas present. Unfortunately, due to Chris’s work on the east coast, their time here was limited. After much consideration, I decided to take her for a half day run to some grass beds for Seatrout, Spanish Mackerel, Jack Crevalle and whatever else would bite.

The weather was absolutely beautiful and since Vicki and I had no family members at the house, I saw no harm in spending quality time with an upcoming junior angler (Vicki was not totally for it, as she wanted me to spend Christmas Day with her and 2nd Mate (Moby), our new Chocolate Labrador Retriever puppy).

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Chloe’s father was given my name by a captain from Ft. Myers, who was booked up as well, but who did not want to run on Christmas Day. I never thought that I would do a Christmas Day run, but ‘never say never’! I was glad I did. Pictured here is Chloe with mom and dad and some of their catches. Chloe is also pictured with a big Blue Fish and Spanish Mackerel, only two of many fish she caught that afternoon. Santa was good to her and she proved to be the avid fisher-lady that her father had indicated. Nice going Chloe!

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Fishing over the holidays was great for every charter that I took out. The weather was warm and the fish were biting. More reports to come. Chris Kelly is the Dock Master at The Town of Marineland Marina, St. Augustine, Florida (www.marinelandmarina.com).

This is Captain Terry Fisher wishing everyone tighter lines! Check out my website at www.fishfacecharters.com for charter information and more articles/fishing tips. I am also available as ‘Captain for Hire’ at 239-357-6829 or via email at fishfacecharters@yahoo.com.