February 2018 SW Florida Fishing Report

By Captain Terry Fisher

The first few days of February provided some of the better inshore fishing of the year. I have had most success with my inshore charters catching fish on the late morning to mid-afternoon incoming tides, as northern and easterly winds left lower water levels during the morning hours. This trend will continue from today (February 7) and throughout the weekend. Next week, things should revert to more favorable morning tide conditions. Some of the more recent charter memories and catches are highlighted below:

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Winter Fishing in SW Florida

By Captain Terry Fisher

January fishing had many challenges due to cold fronts, winds, lower tides and a Super Moon to end the month. The cold fronts discouraged anglers and boaters from leaving the warmth of their homes, rental houses, hotels and condos. High winds echoed watercraft advisories. North and easterly wind directions refused to allow water into some of the estuary locations by creating low water levels and the Super Moon triggered mass land exposures throughout Pine Island Sound.

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Notice to Navigation Interests: NTN 2018-02 Okeechobee Waterway – Ortona Lock Closure June 2018; Public Comment through March 31

Notice is given that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is notifying the public, marinas, commercial and recreational vessels traveling the Okeechobee Waterway that Ortona Lock will be closed for maintenance 4 through 16 June 2018. This will be the first lock closure along the Okeechobee Waterway in 6 years; maintenance is necessary to repair aging and damaged infrastructure in addition to improving public and vessel safety. Repairs will require the lock chamber to be dewatered for crews to perform inspections, replace gate seals and repair Manatee Protection system components. During the closure, barges, floating cranes and divers will be working in the lock entrance, requiring vessel operators in the area to use minimal speed and caution for safety.

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First Fishing Report of 2018

By Captain Terry Fisher

The first week of January was cold and windy, although the fishing was good for those willing to brave the cold and the winds. Naturally, I scheduled the charters for times and locations that would produce some results. The Cyclone Bomb (extreme cold and winds) that blew across the country had and is still having, a devastating effect on the inshore bites from Seatrouts, Spanish Mackerel and Pompano. However, it did bring in some nice Sheepshead and provided my anglers with some great action on light tackle. Small Snook, Black Drum and Mangrove Snapper were only somewhat active. Offshore fishing has been virtually non-existence basically due to high winds.

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Yacht Club Boat Ramp Reopens

The Yacht Club Boat Ramp in Cape Coral re-opened on Saturday, December 16 after it was severely damaged by Hurricane Irma. The storm damaged both piers along the boat launches, which have been closed since Irma. Repairs to the finger piers cost more than $18,000.

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Fishin’ Frank update

Cool weather brings changes and challenges but the fish are biting. Trout are biting well on most grass flats. Cobia are on the east side flats and the inshore artificial reefs (please note the new recreational and commercial limit from FWC). Snook are doing great on the mangroves and on flats near the mangroves. Redfish are sparse but are starting to show up near the canal mouths as they are moving into the canals.

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Cruise Club returns to secluded Useppa Island

By Terry and Laurie Carlson

Wednesday morning the 8th of November the marina staff at Useppa Island greeted the Cape Coral Cruise Club arriving boaters with both sunshine and calm seas for a wonderful cruise arrival. Eleven boats arrived at the Marina and were carefully nestled into their slips by the attentive Useppa marina staff. Cruise leaders Rich and Robyn McGloin greeted arriving members and assured a relaxing stay at one of the premier private islands in the area. Wednesday afternoon provided plenty of relaxing leisure time to explore the island along the winding, lush botanical trails. Some decided to lounge by the pool, walk the beaches or visit the historic Useppa Island museum.

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