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.
‘In-shore’ fishing in March has been good for a number of different species, but more specifically for Seatrout, Spanish Mackerel, Jack Crevalle, Ladyfish and occasionally a Pompano on the flats. Live shrimp have provided lots of bites and harvest when fished under a cork on a weighted jig head in about 3 to 6 foot of water, over grass beds. March was the transition month to spring, with rising and stabilizing water temperatures.
March proved to be the month for large Seatrout. Pictured here are Bill and Sally Catinella, of Traverse City, Michigan with some of their nice catches. Bill and I share the same birthday date(s) and our ventures have become a yearly ritual, celebrating the occasion, in search for a ‘fish of a lifetime’! I am looking forward to doing it again next year and I have already marked my calendar.
Look for Tarpon, Snook and Redfish to ‘join the party’ starting early April. The water temperatures are dictating the migration arrivals of offshore and inshore species; including big schools of Tarpon, Kingfish, Cobia, hungry Snook and Redfish to gorge on bait fish leading the migrations.
This is Captain Terry Fisher of Fish Face Charters wishing everyone safe boating and tight lines! Check out my website at www.fishfacecharters.com for fishing charter and ‘Captain for Hire’ (by the hour) information. I provide navigation, fishing locations and techniques at your convenience and on your vessel. Contact me direct at 239-357-6829 for immediate assistance or email me at email@example.com.
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.
Spring is here and so are ‘Gator’ trout, Pompano, Spanish Mackerel and big Snook. Pictured here is Jack Roberts (10), of Blaine, Minnesota, posing with two of the three species mentioned. His Pompano was impressive to say the least. The big Seatrout he is holding is one of many he caught on a charter with me during a recent visit to Cape Coral. Jack mixed it up this year catching Seatrout, Spanish Mackerel and Jack Crevalle on artificial presentations as well as suspending shrimps under a cork. His attire is evidence of his commitment to becoming a professional angler. Great job Jack!
Mr. Larry Olson of Bonita Springs is pictured with his ‘Gator’ trout caught on jig head (with live shrimp), suspended under a cork just off the flats around Cabbage Key. Larry and Liza Lufkin had a great outing catching more than their share of big trout and Spanish Mackerel.
Snook season is open and there are plenty for the taking. Craig Miklus of Seymour, Ct. had the pleasure of angling a 32” Snook caught just off a small ‘Key’ in northern Pine Island Sound. Craig fishes all over the world and has landed several nice fighting game fish. He will attest that a big Snook will make you work for a successful landing on light tackle. He caught this ‘slot’ fish using a big shrimp (‘tail’ hooked) on a weighted jig head placed on the bottom of the seabed, just off structure and at the very top of an incoming tide. Good going Craig!
Virtually every charter during the last couple of weeks has produced big Seatrout. The basic method has been ‘shrimps suspended under a cork’, over the grass flats in around 4 to 5 foot of water. Look for ‘milky’ green water and use a weighted jig head to keep the bait down.
Most of my fishing has been up on the northern end of Pine Island Sound due to the water conditions around Punta Rassa and St. James city. I look to continue this strategy until the water clears up a bit on the southern end of Pine Island Sound. Water temperatures are on the rise and I am looking for a Tarpon migration soon. A few have been caught and a number of them reported.
(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor) Hello fishing and boating friends. Even though the month of February presented some high winds and cool climates, the fishing remained good north of Redfish Pass. Unfortunately, south of the pass has a lot of dark water, creating difficulty in locating and catching fish. I suggest fishing north of Redfish Pass and the surrounding waters of N. Captiva Pass together with other locations in Pine Island Sound. The water is much clearer and has continued to produce fish.
The cooler weather has attributed to lots of Sheepshead and larger Seatrouts. Pictured here is Karen Jacobs of Harvester, Missouri holding her huge Seatrout while on vacation with the family. GREAT JOB KAREN! Both her son’s, Austin (10) and Lee (12) are pictured with just one of their many catches during their day on the water with Captain Terry. It was a great boating and fishing day for the Jacobs family. Karen, Todd, Austin, Lee and Grandpa Greg, all of Harvester (St. Louis, Missouri), are pictured enjoying a much deserved ‘break from the action’, at Cabbage Key.
The better news is that spring is bringing warmer weather and warmer water temperatures. This week offers the ‘back-side’ of a full moon. Remember to work the top half of the incoming and outgoing tides for best results.
This week Vicki and I will be at the Bonita Springs Boat Show and invite everyone to our booth. I will be doing seminars on Snook, Redfish and Seatrout and look forward to visiting with clients and potential newcomers to boating and fishing SW Florida waters.
This is Captain Terry Fisher of Fish Face Charters. Charter information, fishing tips and other articles may be found on my website at www.fishfacecharters.com. Contact me at 239-357-6829 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also available for orientation to navigating the waters, providing fishing instructions and locations on your vessel by the hour. Until the next fishing report, I wish everyone safe boating and tight lines!
(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor) The full moon is phasing out and the tides are positioned for several more days of good fishing during the daytime hours. Hopefully, the cold snaps will stay away for a while so that the fish adapt to sustained water temperatures.
Seatrout, Spanish Mackerel and Pompano have been hard to find due to the cold fronts. However, the Snook action can be very good; especially the small and medium sizes along the mangroves, in and around creek openings and passes such as Redfish and N. Captiva. Free-lining shrimp make a good presentation, as the cold fronts have made cast netting for the Pichards very tough.
The good news is Sheepshead are back in bigger sizes. I look forward to this time of the year, as do many of my charter clients, to have the opportunity to catch them on light tackle, using shrimp or fiddler crabs. Pictured here is one of my favorite clients, Disabled Military Veteran, Bobby Powell of Cape Coral, Florida, holding one of the first big Sheepshead of the year. He caught it along the mangroves using a piece of shrimp on a #1 bait hook (weighted just enough to hold his presentation down). Nice job Bob!
During the Christmas Holidays, I had the opportunity to take out one of my favorite junior anglers, Seth Loehr (10) of Indianapolis, Indiana. This has become and annual event for Seth and I. He proudly displays one of many Seatrout he caught on his charter with Captain Terry. Seth is very independent, a good angler and loves to fish! This year, Seth fished along side his cousin, Abigail Manoukain (7) of Nashville, Tennessee. This was her first fishing trip in Florida and she caught the nice Seatrout pictured here. Nice going Abigail!
Remember to fish on rising or outgoing tides for best results. Tide information may be found on line at www.saltwatertides.com or in the 2016 Tides Publication, which I sponsor and that has my picture on the cover holding a big Snook. This publication may be found at several Lee County bait, tackle and marine stores or access it on-line at www.leecountyboater.com.
Information regarding ‘charters on my vessel ‘or me as your ‘Captain for Hire’ may be found on my website at www.fishfacecharters.com or by calling me direct at 239-357-6829. I am also reached via email at email@example.com. Regardless of which of the above ‘charter choices’ you select: I provide valuable navigational instruction, fishing tips, techniques and fishing locations for every client.
This is Captain Terry Fisher of Fish Face Charters wishing everyone safe boating and tighter lines!
Last week the inshore fishing continued to be excellent for Redfish and Snook together with a number of other species, including but not limited to, Seatrout, Spanish Mackerel, Flounder and Mangrove Snappers. The most productive days were the ones prior to last weekend (October 24), before the cool front approached and the east winds started to blow.
Nonetheless, with the full moon approaching, most all of my charter clients were able to secure Redfish and Snook catches. Pictured here is Mr. Wayne Hasson of Naples holding a nice Snook he caught while ‘free-lining’ a small Pilchard on a circle hook. Not to be out-done, his son, Davis Hasson, landed a nice Redfish on a large shrimp suspended under a popping cork in heavy structure, close to ‘Bird’ Key in Pine Island Sound. Davis caught two nice size Black Tip Sharks to top off the morning. The cold front made fishing that morning tough, but we all enjoyed the time together on the water and look forward to our next adventure.
The full moon is upon and so long as warm weather prevails, fishing should continue be good for all species. Even though the harvesting of Snook will close on November 01, anglers may still target and enjoy the catch. Lots of small pilchards are in the area and are my preferred bait (free-lined on a circle hook) for Snook. I suggest using a cast net with a ¼” mess, otherwise the baits will ‘Christmas-tree’ and require lots of extra work to get them to release and still keep them alive.
Redfish will continue to inhabit the flats and backcountry so long as the warm weather holds. Other species such as Spanish Mackerel and Seatrouts are here in bigger sizes with all species available for harvesting. Be sure and get the FWC Regulations and Rules governing the size, methods allowed and any other requirements or restrictions.
In closing, Vicki and I will be at the Ft. Myers Boat Show (Downtown Convention Center) on November 19-22. I will be doing seminars as well. My seminars will explain the many techniques that I utilize to catch inshore species. Be sure and stop by and say hi!
This is Captain Terry Fisher of Fish Face Charters, LLC saying so long and tight lines! Obtain charter information at www.fishfacecharters.com or call me direct at 239-357-6829 with any questions or to schedule a charter on your vessel or mine.
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.
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.
(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbour) Snook season is open and reports of numerous catches of large and small ones on live baits as well as artificial presentations. Pilchards and large jumbo shrimps should be the baits of choice for live presentations. Artificial presentations should include soft-scented plastic, twitch baits and top water plugs. Both methods will work wonders around points and areas where there is good current flow.
Redfish are everywhere and they are getting bigger each day. Work the incoming tides along mangroves with oyster shells and oyster shell clusters on hard, sand or mud bottom. While gold spoons, soft-scented weed-less plastics or shrimp imitations on jig heads produce, I prefer to use cut Pin Fish and large jumbo shrimps under a cork or stationary on the bottom. Work any area for 10 minutes or so and keep moving until you find the fish.
Pictured here is Bob Johnston, Richard Shuttlesworth’s and John Hamilton all from the Plantation Fishing Club of Ft. Myers, Florida showing off their Redfish catches from areas around Pineland. These three men would rather fish than eat and they know how to catch the fish! Good job men! See you soon.
This month will continue to produce good Redfish numbers, so now is the time to get on the water and get your share. Hopefully the above information will assist in getting your Redfish or Snook ‘of a lifetime’.
This is Captain Terry Fisher wishing everyone ‘tight lines’. Charter information may be obtained by calling me direct at 239-357-6829 or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. See my website: www.fishfacecharters.com for more information including fishing articles, tips and reports.