It is that time of year when I relish the opportunity to climb aboard Fish Face II with clients and once in a great while with my 1st Mate Vicki. In spite of the recent and existing Pandemic (Corona Virus) our Cape Coral Mayor Joe Coviello, City Council members and Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno, had the savvy and foresight to leave open the city boat ramps for residents and visitors to enjoy boating and fishing activities so long as there is compliance with the ‘Social Distancing Guidelines’. Read more “SPRINGTIME BOATING AND FISHING IN SW FLORIDA”
Hurricane Matthew is finally gone so we can all go back to doing what we love to do; fishing and boating! The water temperatures and wind conditions should allow most anyone good opportunity over the next week to fish both offshore and inshore. Naturally, the winds will mostly dictate offshore activities. Offshore bottom fishing should produce good numbers of Grouper, Snapper, Porgies, Cobia and an occasional Triple Tail. Baits of choice include, Pinfish, Threadfins, Finger Mullet, squid and shrimp. Use circle hooks when fishing for reef species. Know the species by sight or compare to a ‘fish species’ color chart. Know size requirements and harvest restrictions.
Last week produced good fishing offshore as well as inshore. Red Grouper, Lane Snapper, Permit, Gray Snappers and a few Cobia were caught on live Pinfish, shrimp, squid and crabs. Many fisherman and guides enjoyed a good bite anywhere from 3 to 30 miles offshore.
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.
Early morning fishing (inshore and offshore) should be good over the next 10 days or so. We have a ‘New-Moon’ phase bringing in high water levels for the inshore anglers together with strong water currents that should enhance opportunities for offshore anglers as well.
My positive report of July 4th – July 11th was predicated on high tide levels with strong currents due to a new moon phase. Unfortunately, the tide predictions were wrong and we experienced lower water levels, weaker currents and less fish activity. Nonetheless, Pilchards are arriving in bigger numbers and that is a good sign for those wanting live bait. They are small (hatchlings), but are growing and should provide good sizes by the end of the month, just in time for the full moon tides. I recommend a ¼ mess net.
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:
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!
(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor) Offshore; Spanish Mackerel are being reported in the passes and just off the beaches. The Kingfish migration has begun on the east coast and the west coast migration should follow suit. Groupers, Snappers, Cobia, Tripletail and other species are all being caught off shore off the wrecks and reefs from 20 to 80 ft. of water. The baits of choice (depending on the species) will range from artificial presentations (top water and weighted jigs) to live and cut baits, including but not limited to squid, squid wings, finger mullet, pinfish, squirrelfish and shrimps. Look on the website for reef coordinates in our area and use them or simply drift until you find a change in the bottom structure, then anchor down.
Inshore; focus has been on Redfish (‘Reds’), Seatrout or nice size Mangrove Snappers. Snook are plentiful, but the season will not open until a week from now (September 1st). The Redfish and big bull ‘Reds’ are here in good numbers off the flats, oyster beds and off of back country channels in the shallows with mangrove protection (I am pictured here with a nice Redfish caught along the mangroves with a cut pinfish on a weighted jig head). Cut Pinfish, Ladyfish and Shrimps are the order of the day for those anglers wishing to ‘cash in’ on the next few days during the back half of the new moon phase. However, I recommend fishing earlier this week!. The tides will be good enough around Punta Rassa all week, but will begin to weaken as Labor Day Weekend draws near, offering much less in the way of higher tides. The tides on the northern end of Pine Island Sound will tend to be even lower, restricting access to shallow areas for both boaters and the fish alike. Weather forecasts call for hot and humid. Fish will move with the tide, but when tides are low they will ‘hold up’ in deeper water. Move around until you find them.
This is Captain Terry Fisher of Fish Face Charters wishing everyone, ‘tight lines’! To book a charter and get in on some great Redfish or Snook action call me at 239-357-6829 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out my website; www.fishfacecharters.com for more articles and fishing tips.
Grouper in Captiva Pass, this one is just short of keeper size, for bait, Shrimp, Squid, Bait fish-Live or dead all seem to be working well.
The Spanish Mackerel are thick by the Artificial reef off Alligator Creek all the way down to Cape haze. To catch yourself some, troll a Black & Silver or White lure, about 2 to 3 miles per hour. When you get a hit, stop and fish. Often you will see the Mackerel or Lady fish, maybe even Cat fish. Busting the surface of the water, they are feeding and this make them almost Guaranteed catch-able.
(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor) Last week I had the opportunity to spend some time in the beautiful clear waters of the Keys (Islamorada, Fl). My 1st Mate and I spent time searching out destinations and locations to promote future fishing charters to that area with a few of our clients from our home base in Cape Coral. It was a real ‘treat’ to go back there again and spend some serious research time for fish habitats and utilizing different tackle, baits and techniques to target the Atlantic species, such as Dolphin, Wahoo, King Fish, Sail Fish, Bonefish and Permit.
Nonetheless, it is good to be back on the ‘Gulf Coast’, chasing a variety of species in the ‘back country’, even though the tannin waters of the Punta Rassa Bay and Pine Island Sound make it difficult to find the fish. While the ‘run-off’ water from Lake Okeechobee is definitely a hindrance to charter captains, fishermen and fisher-ladies alike, do not be too discouraged, as one suggestion is to go very early in the morning regardless of tide status. This should prove to be the best chance of catching fish, especially under ‘dismal’ circumstances. Moreover, pick a location south of Ft. Myers Beach or the northern end of Pine Island Sound (including Charlotte Harbor) for some relief of the dark waters that surround us.
A while back, I had the privilege to charter the Lobell family of Cape Coral and New Jersey, pictured here.
I took them north into the Charlotte Harbor area as suggested above. Alexia Cedrone (10 yrs old), of Cape Coral is shown here with a nice Redfish.
Alexia caught Snook, Snapper and Seatrout as well. GREAT GOING ALEXIA! Three of the family members are fly fishermen and good one’s at that. Working with Eric Lobell was a pleasure, as I do not get many clients that are able to handle fly equipment in a ‘salt-water’ venue. I am looking forward to getting them out again soon.
Offshore continues to offer good fishing opportunities for Groupers, Snappers, Permit and Porgy’s alike. Sharks are plentiful and the surface action on a calm day is enough to get anyone excited. Have lures and jigs ready to cast and you may be pleasantly surprised. The best part about fishing offshore; is one never knows what they might catch!
Feel free to contact me at 239-357-6829 or email me at email@example.com with any questions on a particular species, where to find them, how to catch them or charter information. Check out my website www.fishfacecharters.com for all information relating to charters and fishing in general.