(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor) Even though last week brought on some brutal winds and a couple of unwanted cold fronts, fishing was a fantastic in the back country locations for those wanting to catch Sheepshead, Mangrove Snappers, Flounder and Redfish. The Redfish bite was good during a couple of days with strong southerly winds blowing in extra water providing access to remote locations. Live baits of choice for many guides and anglers have been shrimp and Pinfish. Fiddler Crabs for Sheepshead have been virtually extinct. Early morning ‘top water’, swim, twitch and soft plastics rounded out artificial presentations for species such as Jack Crevelle, Redfish, Snook, Mackerel and Seatrouts.
The pictures are of my favorite corporate fishing clients and friends of the Buffalo Wild Wings Organization of Buffalo, Minnesota: They are Chad Wolney, Joy Wolney and Denise Riley all from the corporate office in Buffalo, MN. They were joined by Chad’s father, Jim of Sauk Rapids, MN. Each angler proudly displays their individual catches of big Sheepshead as well. Other species, such as Mangrove Snapper, Snook and Redfish were caught.
The new moon cycle is upon us this week and if the temperatures warm a bit and the winds are reasonable for access to the flats up and down Pine Island Sound, the fishing for Spanish Mackerel and Seatrout should improve. Fishing for the Sheepshead should be good anytime during moving water, as they are the go to, tasty, winter species that test anglers abilities to hook!
This is Captain Terry Fisher of Fish Face Charters wishing everyone safe boating and tight lines! Charter information may be obtained by calling me direct at 239-357-6829 or emailing to email@example.com. More charter specifics, information and articles will be found on my website at www.fishfacecharters.com
Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor
(January 24-January 31, 2015)
Fishing this last week was fair to good. Unfortunately, the new moon phase provided the higher and stronger currents during night time hours when most of us were off the water. Furthermore, It appears that the weekend and the start of the week will bring cooler weather, making the fish a little lethargic. None-the-less, do not be discouraged, as the good news is; Sheepshead should arrive in full force with bigger ones being caught for sport and harvest. The best baits for Sheepshead, are Fiddler crabs and shrimp pieces. The Seatrout and Mangrove Snapper bite should be good on small shrimps.
Some Spanish Mackerel are being caught as they continue to migrate through the area. Hopefully, this week’s cool front from up north will move them south in bigger numbers and sizes.
Live pilchards are being netted around the Sanibel Causeway in fairly good numbers on either the early morning incoming or outgoing tides. This is the best live presentation available for Snook. Jack Crevalle are everywhere and love to eat them as well.
Pictured here is Aaron, Gavin and Eli Hoffman of Lakeville, Minnesota on their annual fishing trip with Captain Terry. Aaron shows off his first Snook (22″) caught on a pilchard while free-ling. Gavin (11 yrs) is holding just one of his many Seatrout he caught that day. His brother Eli (9 yrs), is shown with his Seatrout as well as a nice Gag Grouper he caught. I enjoy taking these junior anglers out as they are two of the better fishermen that I have the pleasure to fish with! Nice job Gavin and Eli! Practice casting and you will get your Snook next year.
This is Captain Terry Fisher wishing everyone tight lines. If I may be of assistance for a charter on your vessel or mine, call me at 239-357-6829. More articles and charter information will be on my website at www.fishfacecharters.com including charter rates on my vessel or your vessel. Email me or my 1st Mate Vicki at firstname.lastname@example.org with any requests or questions.
Lots of reports about the river, “Peace River” that is. It’s funny that when it gets too rough to be on the Harbor that river fishing is “rediscovered”. Try a full sized glitter Zara spook and hold on tight – the Snook are pulling the hooks straight! Cast close to the shore and try to find deeper
bends. When you cast let it sit still for about 20 seconds, then start walkin’ it back. Yes, the big ole Snook are thick in both rivers!
On the subject of harbor snappers . . . well, there are NO dog snappers in Charlotte Harbor, only Lane, Mangrove/Grey, and once in a blue moon some Yellow Tail, Mutton, or Bee liners (small vermilion snappers). So the whole Dog snapper thing is a myth / mistake/ wrong. As I have maintained for years, if you caught a small fish that looks kind of like a smallmouth bass with teeth like an ally cat, it’s a Mangrove Snapper. These are a tricky snapper with a red belly and dark back . . . how could they possibly be called a Grey Snapper? Well if you catch them out in the gulf they are completely Grey with no other color. You will not know that it is a mangrove Snapper until you put it in the ice chest and all the colors come out. This does stand to reason as a dark color fish would stand out in the clear waters of the gulf of Mexico, and would be eaten by larger fish. So, the snappers change colors to match the water they are in. Clear water they turn grey, dark waters reds, browns and black. So anyway, what I wrote before was wrong, and now I am eating Crow. I should never type anything until I check into it first. But then why should typing be different than talking? I am usually somewhat surprised by what I say, most of the time!
Like many things about fish, I continue to learn, after all the more you know about what you are trying to catch, the more successful you will be. When I think about it there are really only a couple of months in which you can catch really nice size Snapper in Charlotte Harbor over 14 inches. by far the most common are smaller fish, & the larger sizes are much more common in the deeper waters of the gulf. Maybe they should be thought of like Red fish, Tarpon, Shrimp, or Goliath & Gag grouper, only using the Harbor to get big enough to brave the adult world of the Gulf. Yes the more I look into it the more this seems true, the larger Snapper only come into the Harbor to spawn then head back out,
A really weird thing is that Snapper seem to get a secret message and all over the world they spawn, Yes from what I am learning all the Snappers in the world seem to get a signal and start spawning at nearly the same time. How weird is that?
Right now in the Harbor we are in the 2 to 3 week window of big snapper. They are being caught at the 41 bridge, the concert reef, cape haze reef and even larger sizes in the passes.
so get some shrimp and some white bait, because one day they will eat one and the next the other, and Snappers are some of the tastiest eating you will ever have, fresh snapper can be cooked any way and will come out great. Keep in mind they like to hug the bottom but you can raise them off the bottom by taking advantage of their greedy natures, yes they will follow at chum line right to the surface.
As a foot note to this, I have heard that many of the Snapper in Charlotte Harbor are mis-identified as Mangrove or Grey snapper, Same fish two names and are really Dog snappers which the only real difference is they have thicker teeth. I may have been wrong all these years, I am going to be checking this out this year.
Well have fun out there the weather is great the fishing could not be any better. Why are you sitting reading this, grab a pole and get your butt out there.
(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.