With the Snook season closed here on the west coast, I think many people are forgetting how much fun big Snook are. They jump, thrash, and pull. Everything you really enjoy about fishing all rolled up in one striped package. Snook will eat top water, jigs, swim baits, spoons, if you throw it they will eat it.
And right now they are kind of easy to catch, The rain which is coming every few days has them bunched up at the spillways, waiting for the easy meal to get pulled over the dams. Try small white lures, 3 to 4 inches, cast right at the falling water. Rapala X-rap 8 size is a great one to start with. If you are thinking of doing this, take an extra couple of minutes to flatten the barbs on the treble hooks of the lure. Do not smash them just bend the tip of the barb down. Makes it easy to get out of the Snook and they do not come off. And consider that when you are grabbing the lip of a Snook with a lure there are lots of barbed hooks. If the flattened down, the barbs come out of your hand easy also.
(FT. MYERS BEACH TO CHARLOTTE HARBOR) Last Saturday I was off to the Keys (Islamorada) for some time with my 1st Mate Vicki (wife) to enjoy dragging some lines for Dolphin, Tuna and anything else that I could coerce to ‘hit the bait’. We had a wonderful time catching and eating fish as well as doing some relaxed snorkeling around Alligator Reef. I am home now looking forward to a productive week in both ‘off-shore’ and ‘back country’ fishing for Red Grouper and Permit as well as Snook, Reds and other species respectively.
Charter Captains report that ‘off-shore’ has been good for Red Grouper in 20-25 ft of water on hard bottom with Permit being taken over structure in the 20 to 30 pound range in approximately the same depths. I suggest that with the beautiful weather we are having and forecast to have, that this will be a good week to ‘fish the gulf’ for your favorite summer catch!
Moreover, I predict that with the new moon and good tides, that the ‘flats’ and ‘back country’ fishing opportunities will be second to none from Punta Rassa to Bokeelia for Snook, Redfish and a variety of other species this week for both the experienced and beginning angler.
If you want to get in on the action or need some information to make your trip a success; give me a call at 239-357-6829/239-471-7332 or email me at email@example.com. Check out my website at www.fishfacecharter.com for fishing articles and additional information for booking a charter.
Well there is good news for all you big game people, The Tarpon are holding good in the Harbor, and it is easy you can use any lure you wish as long as it is a D.O.A. , Bait-buster or Swimming Mullet. This is a crazy year for Tarpon, live bait, cut bait, all is good to use but the hook-ups keep coming on The D.O.A.
OK here is what you do, Start early at the Gilchrist bridges or as we call them the 41 bridges, Start casting the pilings then keep an eye open for the rolling fish, they do not like outboard engines too much, so you will need an electric motor to keep up with the Tarpon. Sometime about 8:am or so they will show up along the southern shore line to fisherman’s Village, where they will hang out on the west side. By 10:am they are on the move again. The most common destination is the mouth of the Myakka River, after that it is on the holes of the Harbor,
When moving from the bridge to Fisherman’s Village to the Myakka you will have to use your out board or it would take you forever to get there. Just remember to shut down before you get to the Tarpon, and get back on the electric,
It is just a matter of casting, casting. Several retrieves are working but check your depth finder. If you are in 10 feet of water, cast the lure, then count to 10 before you close the bail on your reel. If you close the bail, the line will come tight and often the lure will come back to you. Better if it just sinks, once you have done your count start a slow up wards jigging motion, hard upward pulls then let it sink, take up the slack repeat, I can tell the guys who are hookin up lots of Tarpon. Their hands are swollen from casting. 75 casts per hook up is better that a fish-less day. There are many other types of retrieves you can use to get these Tarpon to hit but try the one I suggested it has worked before.
The heat is on here in Charlotte Harbor. It is all about getting out early if you can. Red fish are thick throughout the Mayaka cut off and the Mayaka River. Question is, can you cast up under the trees? If you can get your bait 4 to 6 feet under the mangroves you will catch a lot of Red fish.
Spanish Mackerel and Pompano are doing well along the beaches. Casting small silver spoons and or Git-cha’s will produce good results.
Tarpon are still hanging out in the holes of the Harbor. DOA bait busters & swimming mullet are the key to a good day of Tarpon fishing, Just keep casting.
Snook fishing in the canals and the Peace River is very good right now, big monster Snook Rapala X-rap 10 series or The 15 bombers darker colors. Pitch right along the shore.
By “Fishin” Frank of Fishing Franks Fishing Store in Port Charlotte
This would be a great time to get out in the gulf, Blue green waters, lots of fish, Barracuda, Sharks, Snappers, most within viewing distance from your boat. Just put out a chum bag, and give it a few minutes. Do not worry about being right on a reef, if there are too many boats just move over a 1/4 mile. Too many boats in a spot and you do not get the schools & schools of fish and bait fish massing under the boat. Just seeing this is too cool, let alone being able to catch some. Be safe, watch the sky, don’t let a surprise storm get between you and land. Have fun!
(FT. MYERS BEACH TO CHARLOTTE HARBOR) Fishing was really good this last week for both ‘Off-shore’ and ‘In-shore’. Off-shore wrecks and reefs holding Permit, Grouper, Snapper. Big Pinfish, Squid and Sardines were my baits of choice and produced good results. I do not profess to be an expert at bottom fishing, but with the calm variable winds, I took the opportunity to go out 35 miles or so to confirm some of the other Captain’s off-shore reports. One of the most intriguing things to me about ‘Off-Shore’ is the fact that you never know what you might hook up on!
‘In-shore’ has been fantastic as well with a variety of species at almost every turn or good location providing current, deep cuts. Anything and everything from large Snook, Redfish Crevalle Jacks, Permit, Mangrove and Sea Trout are at your beckoning. Most success stories come earlier in the mornings before it gets real hot. On the top of the high tides, look for Sea Trout on the real shallow flats providing grass and sand holes (2ft) busting ‘bait’ fish. These areas may be found behind and between spoil islands where the wind can provide a little breeze. This is back country fishing and with our tides coming later in the morning hours, it gets hot out there, so take plenty of water and sunscreen to stay the course. You will need a shallow hull to get to most of these areas as well.
There are plenty of reasons to believe that this coming week will produce more great fishing. If you have any questions or want to go fishing in the ‘back country’ I am easily reached by phone at 239-357-6829 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out my website at www.fishfacecharters.com for all of my recent reports for fishing the bountiful waters of Lee County! Until next week, GOOD FISHING from Captain Terry Fisher of Lee County.
(FT. Myers to Charlotte Harbor) Back Country/Flats fishing has really picked up in Lee County in the areas from Ft. Myers Beach to Bokelia on Pine Island, including Matlacha Pass. I have had good success with Snook, Sea Trout, Crevalle Jacks, Sheepshead, Mangrove Snappers, Flounder and a couple of Permit. I am finding the Snook on the beaches, in the passes and in or at the mangroves on the high incoming tides. This should continue to be the pattern for coming months in regards to Snook.
Many of my recent charter customers have been enjoying what I call ‘Sport Flats Fishing’; catching Sea Trout, Crevalle Jacks and Redfish on only artificial baits. I am having most success as the last half of the tide rises over very shallow (2ft.) sand/grass flats surrounded by spoil islands and mangroves (doesn’t hurt to have an oyster bar or two around). All one has to do is lay a top water plug (Heddon Spook Jr., Bomber or other brand), jig a Gulp Shrimp in white or penny across the bottom and if you’re not hooking one every 5 casts or so, then change your method of retrieve or relocate the boat and repeat the process. One should be able to spot fish feeding on the surface. This is the time of the year to try the top water artificial baits. They will draw vicious strikes from virtually every game fish on the flats.
In regards to the Snappers and Flounder; fish the deeper cuts under mangroves as well as heavy structure areas with a mixed bottom. Work from the shoreline and mangroves out to about 4ft of water. The Mangrove Snapper and Flounder will both take a jig as mentioned above but prefer a small 2/0 circle hook with a small live ‘summer’ shrimp weighted just enough to get it down.
The last week of July should produce more good fishing. If I may be of assistance to offer advice or charter services, I am easily contacted at 239-357-6829, via email at email@example.com or check out my websites at www.fishfacecharters.com or www.captainterryfisher.com.
By “Fishin” Frank of Fishing Franks Fishing Store in Port Charlotte
Fishing in the Charlotte area is getting better, You still need to try and get that incoming tide for the best bite, but Red Fish along the west wall, as well as the east keys are biting. Cut bait, Lady fish or mullet are the best. Take a little frozen bait with you just in case you do not find fresh right away. Fresh is better, but fishing is better than looking for bait.
In the Gulf of Mexico this is the time for dolphin (mahi mahi). Start looking at about 20 miles out, they are thick along the weed lines, just the way you do it in the keys. Most of these are chicken or schooly dolphin. Small lures or even shrimp will work well.
Snook are moving into the area. More & more by the day. Really big Snook in Pine Island sound in the pot holes. Up the river big Snook are hitting at the narrows and by I-75
(FT. MYERS BEACH TO CHARLOTTE HARBOR) Summer weather patterns are here in full swing with warm temperatures more times than not followed by a string of thunderstorms. So long as there is not lightning, I welcome the cool breezes that they produce from time to time. The only downside is that the wind usually picks up, presenting some casting discomfort until they subside or go away. One thing for sure is that an early start will keep you out of the afternoon heat and usually produce better strikes and more fish action than being in out there in the heat of the day.
This should be a good week to get out there and try your luck as the tides will be bigger with stronger currents in many areas. My last few charters are yielding a good variety of species from St. James City to Bokelia on Pine Island Sound. I have been working the passes for Snook, the Mangroves and oyster beds for Reds and the flats for Sea Trout. Small Threadfins have been my best producers for live bait, even though they have been smaller than I like. The ‘summer’ shrimp have been very small, but to offset simply place 2 on a hook!
Flounder have been good on a redheaded jig using Gulp Penny or White color 3” Shrimp. The Mangrove Snapper like them as well with both of these species being caught relatively easy around and on structure at 3-4ft. depths where the current is moving.
Off-shore activity is good when the wind permits using cut baits such as mullet, squid, Pinfish. Fish over structure and chum. Try dragging some ‘Stretch’ or other brand of lures while searching out new spots. When you get a hit; mark the spot, land the fish and investigate the bottom for any opportunity to anchor and fill your cooler. Try trolling the you baits on the outgoing tides around and through the passes as well.
(FT. MYERS BEACH TO CHARLOTTE HARBOR) Yes, the fishing is improving since my last report. The Snook are still the easiest to target on the beaches and in the passes as well as on the last half of the higher tide in the Mangroves. The stronger the tide, be it outgoing or incoming, the better. I suggest targeting deeper cuts and points as the fish are looking for relief from the heat. When you spot your quarry or have the intuition one is lurking around, make four to five repeat presentations in the target area. If you do get a ‘swirl’ or ‘slap’ at the presentation (especially if one is using artificial lures) odds are in your favor that they may not resist other opportunities. However, after you have caught a couple of fish from a school or made several passes, they get wiser and it is probably to your advantage to move onto another spot.
Likewise, the Redfish (‘Red’s’) will move up in the Mangroves on a high tide and in the deeper cuts as well until they move out just at the flats as the tide subsides. Based on my recent charters and other reports the ‘Reds’ seem to be more concentrated in the upper part of Pine Island Sound.
Gray Snapper and Flounder bites have also been good in the back country and they are tasty as well. The Sea Trout seem to always be active and I have had recent success with some Permit and Pompano on the sandy flats in about 4-6ft. of water. The bait and tactics that I am using are both live and artificial depending on the time of the day. I prefer artificial in the early morning hours and live/cut baits during the daytime.