This holiday season, Redfish can be found in three prime locations. The first is around the southern half of the west wall south of the towers. Pirate Harbour a half mile to the north around the islands has also been a successful spot. Lastly, the sandbars at the mouth of Turtle Bay across to the Eagles cut rounds out the top three places to find Redfish this time of year.
Cobia, Sharks, and Tarpon have all moved into the Harbor, and the cool thing is that they are eating dead bait. Quite often you need to catch and use fresh live bait to get these fish to eat, but reports from 3 different boats, that were fishin the middle of the Harbor to down off Cape Haze, showed that they are eating frozen bait which worked as well as or better than the live bait.
Mullet, Ladyfish, and Threadfin are all doing good, but uncut whole Threadfins, either free line or better yet 5 feet under a float, is the best of the three. For the Tarpon and Cobia, both fish are hitting and the boats have been anchored up and they seem not to mind sharing the space. One other thing to mention, cutting the bait in half as I would think to do, is not good, as they want them whole.
Sharks are hitting better off the bottom using sinkers to keep the bait down, and any of the three types of bait cut into pieces is better than whole.
Sharks are on the menu and on the beaches! We’re seeing Blacktips, Bonnets, Bulls, Sandbars and more. The best bait to attract these are Mullet or Ladyfish. Stingray and everything else are also working. Don’t know if these really are the best bait right now, but more people are buying Mullet and Ladyfish than anything else so that is why I guess they are the better bet.
All you need to catch Sharks up to 3 foot long, is a regular spinning rod with 10 to 20 pound test line and a small steel leader. I use the A.F.W. bleeding leaders about a 4/0 size as these really seems to be great for catching them. Then you can flatten the barb of the hook for catch and release.
For your bait, put on a chunk of fish, 3 fingers by 3 fingers, on your hook. To do this, I mean lay your bait fish, say a whole ladyfish down, now place 3 fingers on the fish and that is how much you should put on the hook.
If two people are fishing, one should be under a float and the other with a sinker, then see which way the Sharks are wanting the bait, either near the top or on the bottom.
Then kick back and enjoy the fight.
Fishin Update 03/21/16
For those of you who do not wish to travel far for your fish, the Reds are in good numbers around Hog Island. Poppin corks with a shrimp, popped slowly near the mangroves about four feet in front of the branches, is very effective. Also, try using a shrimp with a 1/8 ounce rockpport head, gold or pink, 1/2 or 2/0 hook tossed just under the mangroves. Let it sit for a minute and then lift your rod and move the bait 6 inches or so and then wait again.
Of course the main bait of choice is white bait if you can find any. Try either free lined or Redfish Sunday style, which is hooking the bait fish across the back so it is on its side on the bottom. The white bait is hard to find but there is some on the markers. The most bait is found by Jug Creek out to Devil Fish and along the I.C.W.
Today’s update is on pier fishing or in this case bridge fishing. The Cobia and Tarpon are being hooked at the 41 bridges, with cut bait or lures that look like an eel green, white or brown lure colors.
For you boaters, Turtle Bay is loaded with Sea Trout. Use a 1/8 ounce yellow or bright green jig head, with a 3 inch Gulp new penny shrimp body, placed 30 inches below a poppin cork for the most fish. Heading into Turtle Bay, go past the manatee signs and then head up wind. You will want to drift this flat for the Trout. Then cast out a good ways and pop the cork and watch it disappear. IOW Fish On!
For more information on Turtle Bay, visit my page at: http://fishinfranks.com/turtle_bay.htm
Redfish are still going strong, and the Reds are moving onto the west side of the Harbor. Shrimp, and Pinfish are the baits of choice right now. I believe the reason the Reds are getting thicker on the west side, is due to the lower fresh water volume coming into the Harbor from the rivers. The Peace River is down to 4.5 feet from 7.5 feet last week at this time, so you can finally start seeing the bottom again.
The bad news is that with red tide in and around the gulf beaches, the fresh water coming down the river is our security blanket, and red tide cannot live in fresh water and the Harbor still being very fresh keeps the red tide in the gulf. This means that the salt levels are coming up in the Harbor, which makes the fishing better but could also lead to red tide being able to come into the Harbor. Good news is that right now if red tide would come into the Harbor the out going tide which pulls the fresh water from the rivers would kill any red tide. All we can do is wait and see how long the red tide bloom will last or if we get lucky and get more rain.
But for now all good here in the Harbor and we hope the red tide will not get too bad along the beaches. There are some reports of dead fish in the ICW along the back side of Boca near Placida, but not real terrible at this point. So head to the west wall or the east side of the Harbor and have a great day catching Reds and Snook.
Fishing update 10/23/15 –
Spanish Mackerel and Spotted Sea Trout are both starting to move into Charlotte Harbor in good numbers. The fishing is getting better by the day and these wonderful cool mornings are really helping. The rain has been slowing down and the rivers are flowing less and less, so this week and next we are going to see some great days for catching. Now if the wind would back off a little it would be perfect!
One of our Fishin Frank customers wrote in on their weekend!
I was out on Friday and Saturday to see what was hitting. Reds are still the play down here in the mangroves and the smaller ones seem to be feeding on shrimp. Large Jacks are starting to move in and strike hard. We have also had some Snook but they’ve been on the small side. Lots of small Snappers have been working the canals and mangroves north of the Bridge.
Here are some pics of my 11 year old bending her rod in the saltwater for the first time. She had a blast! She says, “much bigger fish than the Bass” she had mastered in the local lakes, lol. Here are some pics of her catches:
Finally got to get out Fishin with my dad.
As I have said before, there are lots of Redfish out in the Harbor. We spent 3 hours fishing the east side, about 3/4 of a mile north of Pirate Harbor, and caught 6 Reds, 3 Snappers, a huge Bonnet Shark, and 3 Snook. Oh and a couple of Catfish and a Needlefish. They were small, but not a bad way to spend a few hours. We caught everything, except the Snook, on live shrimp either using a sinker or under a Poppin Cork. The Snook was caught on a Storm Twitch.
The Fishing is quite good right now and the weather is perfect. The water is very dark. The strange thing, and yes there is always something – a Pompano jumped out of the water, 15 feet in front of me just to tease me. I could almost hear that Pompano blowing raspberries at me.
–Frank & Frank Fishin
Spanish, Jacks, Lady fish, And Sharks
In the area around Boca Pass and the straights right across to Burnt Store, schools of bait fish like Thread Fins and Glass Minnows are moving in with the tide, and then move back to the gulf as the tide heads out. Spanish Mackerel can be found under these schools of bait. Below that you can find Ladyfish & Jacks, and under those you will find Sharks. Yes there are layers of fish, and they can be found in the gulf near Trembley Reef or any of the closer ones, during the last half of the outgoing tide and the first third of the incoming tide.
Once the water starts moving in hard, the bait will follow the saltwater into the Harbor and will give you a shot at some reel fun fishing, with fast and steady bites. Light tackle and a small steel leader are a good idea to use. Once your bait gets below the regular fish, you’ll find the Black Nose and Black Tip Sharks. These are a ball on the light spinning tackle.
There are red fish near Burnt Store. Yes, the big red fish are schooling along the bar, and they have been moving from just north of Pirate Harbor down to Two Pines. The Z-man scented paddler, in either the Bad Shad or Root Beer gold colors are your best bet. I use a Z-man jig head but you may rig them with a weed less worm hook if you like. The method I use with the Z-man is sort of like casting with dead/cut bait. Watch for red fish movement, and waves that are moving a bit different from the other waves. Cast it out in front of the moving water and let it sit for a minute, then give it a good twitch and take up the slack and twitch and repeat.
If I do not see fish moving which is often the case, I stay half a cast away from the sand bar and try to cast over the bar to the other side, and then slowly twitch the Z-man across the top of the bar and back all the way to the boat.
For those that prefer to use cut bait, just cast and let it sit. This is dead stinky stuff. Hot dark water means I will not cast out reel in and cast. If I feel the need to move my bait, it will only be a couple of inches at a time. Let the stink of the bait do it’s job.
Here’s a little news for the weird fishin wise. The canals in Port Charlotte are starting to hold fish. Snook is a given. September is when snook fishing should start getting good. But flounder, sheep head, red fish and mangrove snappers, are all in the canals in what could be called fishable numbers.
With all of the rain and the water being so dark, to tell the truth, there should be almost no fish in the canals. The rivers are running at flood stages and the water is so very fresh, and there is even a little salt near the bottom. Why are these fish moving into the canals?
The answers to why the fish are here in the canals could be the temperature. The canal temps have been lower than normal for this time of year, because of the rain and cloud cover. The clouds keep the sun’s radiation from heating up the water, and the water being in the mid 80’s is where it has to be for the fish to move back into the canals. This is rare but not unheard of. With so much rain and clouds, the waters are being kept cool.
The fish have been eating live shrimp, which is their #1 choice, and live pin fish, which is their #2 choice. Cut bait fish or dead shrimp are both a close 3rd. Lures would be D.O.A. shrimp or buck tail jigs.
September 16, 2015
Fishin Update – 4/16/15
Sea Trout have been pretty steady at Laishley Pier between sun up until around 9 and 10 o’clock in the morning. Here, the trout are hitting live shrimp under a poppin cork. Try to get about 4 feet from your hook to the cork. Casting might be harder with that much line under the poppin cork, but just let the tide drift it away from the pier. Then pop your cork and wait 20 seconds or so, and then pop your cork again.
Sea Trout have also been steady at Placidia pier, usually about an hour after low tide. Use free line shrimp off the first half of the pier. This is a short cast out, and once you cast, give your line some slack, then when it gets tight give it a little more slack. Fishing here is better when you are closer to the shore than farther out on the pier.
Fishing Update – 4/18/15
This week has been and continues to be good fishin. Catching Red Grouper, Trigger Fish, and Mangrove Snappers out in the gulf around 60-80 feet of water. Many of the Snapper are 3 pounds or more.
Also, Mike sent us this fishing report:
Love your website and the store. – Mike H’
Fishing Update – 4/20/15
We are seeing a bunch of Sea Trout from PC beach up towards the cut-off. To catch, use shrimp or white bait under a poppin cork. This is a nice size school of fish, and most are in the 20 inch size range.
Triple Tail are still out in the near gulf and a few have been spotted in the Harbor. To find them, look for crab trap floats or really anything that’s floating. You may even find Triple Tail hanging around at some of the markers. In order to find Triple Tail, cruise along as slow as you can go with your boat while it’s still on plane. If you see one, it will look like a dirty rag just under the surface, with its face, hiding under the object. It’s almost like a little kid thinking ‘if I can’t see you, then you can’t see me’. Do not stop the boat for at least 100 yards once you spot a Triple Tail, then make a turn and come back quietly. Then cast at them free line with a small shrimp or white bait.