Christmas and the New Year Holiday brought good weather and lots of opportunities to accommodate a number of charter requests from locals and visitors alike. Fishing was ‘spotty’ during the Christmas break but still produced a number of great trips with sufficient catches of Grouper, Seatrout, Mangrove Snapper and Spanish Mackerel to satisfy most.
This is the time of the year when many come from the frigid areas of the north to enjoy the holidays of Christmas and the New Year. The last few charters have delivered some nice catches for my young anglers. The catches were from the southern end of Pine Island Sound all the way north to Charlotte Harbor. Due to the lower winter tides, most of the game fish were caught south of the power lines in open water, around mangrove islands with oyster clusters and dead wood. The water is clearing up around the mouth of the Caloosahatchee since the Corps of Engineers have quit sending fresh water to us from Lake O. Seatrout, Redfish, Snook, Mangrove Snapper, Spanish Mackerel and small shark made up most of the ‘bounty’.
October finished strong for most inshore species, including Flounder, Spanish Mackerel, Mangrove Snapper and decent size Seatrout joining the ‘party’. Pictured here is Dave Anderson of Lake St. Louis, Missouri holding a nice Flounder he caught around Cabbage Key while ‘free-lining’ a shrimp under a cork along mangrove trees. I was ‘Captain for Hire’ on Dave’s new 24ft. Boston Whaler Bay Boat. Dave and his wife Barbara learned some fishing locations, strategies and techniques that yielded each of them a Redfish along with a number of other species, including Snook.
(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor)
October 24th, 2016
Fishing has been very good north of the power lines in Pine Island Sound (‘Sound’) for species such as Snook, Redfish, Seatrout and Mangrove Snappers. South of them, the water is ‘coffee’ color due to the excess releases by the Corps of Engineers from Lake O. Red Tide seems to linger in specific areas from time to time. The Punta Rassa launch ramp is slow with few charters going out as of last week, due mostly to that. I run most of my charters out of Pineland Marina and Matlacha when possible, even though water levels are higher at the southern end of the Sound’, allowing good access to more remote areas.
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.
(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor)
August 17, 2016
Fishing remains good inshore, especially early mornings on high incoming or outgoing tides for Seatrout on the flats. Troll for Spanish Mackerel around Sanibel Lighthouse, in Redfish, N. Captiva and Boca Grande Passes, using spoons with swivels and 40lb monofilament leaders. Fish for large, Mangrove Snappers in the passes using small circle hooks, 3oz. lead weights with shrimps or small Pinfish for bait.
The last 10 days brought about a mix of good and not so good catches. Water levels were high enough, but due to the ‘on-slot’ of rain, muddy waters moved the fish from locations that I was expecting them to be. However, on the brighter side and with the exception of our normal afternoon showers, the waters should clear up a bit as summer temperatures return to the 90s. I am looking forward to some good fishing during the early morning hours and well into early afternoon in most areas, as water levels should remain high. Fish the tides when possible, as good water movement will enhance the bite.
Last week proved to be exceptional fishing for a number of species including Seatrout, Snook and Redfish. Warm waters, good tides and lots of bait provided the opportunity to target virtually any species that swim our waters.
Tarpon are here in better numbers both from Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor, including Boca Grande Pass. My ‘Tarpon’ season will begin this week. Subject to the winds, I will focus off the beaches of the outer islands of Sanibel, Captiva and N. Captiva. My baits of choice will be crab, Pinfish, Mullet and Herring. However, I prefer to mix things up a bit, depending on the bite. I almost always suggest fishing for Snook and Redfish in the back-country to round out a day’s charter in the event the Tarpon are not cooperating. As of now, the reports are very early, morning bites.
Pictured here is Mr. Mike Herr of Kansas City, Missouri holding a nice Snook that he caught on a Herring in a canal, just off the mouth of the Caloosahatchee. Mike is no stranger to fishing for game fish when visiting SW Florida. Nice going Mike.
Dr. Rolando Rodriguez of Winter Haven, Florida displays a nice Snook and a Redfish that he caught during a charter with me just last week. Both species were caught while free-lining Pilchards into mangroves during a high tide. Rolando belongs to a fishing club in the Tampa area and displayed exceptional casting talents, which are second to none. Nice job Rolando! Looking forward to doing it again.
Moreover, my good client and friend Martin Smith of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, was not to be ‘out-fished’, as evidenced here by his Redfish caught on a jig-head, loaded with a shrimp. It had been a long time since his last Redfish and he was looking forward to boating one. Martin and I will be fishing for Tarpon later this week!
Given some time, fishing should continue to be good after the cold front moves through the area and so long as the winds stay reasonable. Wind and water temperatures will dictate the bite. I am hoping for southerly, mild winds!
This is Captain Terry Fisher of Fish Face Charters wishing everyone safe boating and good fishing! Check out my website at www.fishfacecharters.com for charter information. Call me direct at 239-357-6829 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I am available by the hour as a ‘Captain for Hire’ on your vessel as well. Look for more of my fishing tips in the Coastal Angler Magazine.
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.
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.