The weather is not what had been predicted, so chasing the Kings may not happen for a little while.
There are however a lot of Sheepshead in Alligator Creek and at El-Jo. Shrimp is the bait of choice right now for the Sheepshead. The larger shrimp should attract the larger fish. Many of the Sheepshead are close to the 20 inch mark. While fishing at El-Jo you should also be able to get your keeper Snook. Snook is better to catch on lures like the Storm 4 inch Shad. Also walking it is better than casting it.
On the flats it is again a shrimp bite right now, from Snook and Sheepshead to Trout. The Trout seem be be looking for the float rigs. If you are interested in using fake bait, a DOA deadly combo is the ticket.
Trout. They seem to be everywhere right about now. We’re getting reports from Boca to the 41 bridges.
Personally, I’ve been doing the best on trout on the east side of the harbor. If you’re looking for quality then head inside the bar from Two Tits (Cormorant Key) and work the trough against the mangroves. Moving out into the flats will bring on the little guys, but most of the big trout are hanging out in that trough.
If you’re looking for quantity then you really can’t beat Burnt Store channel. There are a kabillion little trout inside the channel. The nice thing is, if you stay at it, you will catch legal trout mixed in with them. You’re not going to shatter any records, but you will catch a nice dinner. I’ve been free-lining shrimp into the channel on the faster tides. On the slower tides, I’ve been putting a small split shot just above the shrimp and jigging it across the bottom. Another option is trolling small X-raps or Storm lipped lures through the channel. It took us almost 30 minutes to get into Burnt Store today because every time we threw a Storm into the channel it would get whacked.
What a great day to be in Southwest Florida, especially if you like Tank top shorts and flip flops.
Yes, the weather is warm, it’s sunny and the fish are starting to really bite. Yes, the Florida mountains ranges are visible all over the Harbor and there is even bait fish showing up at the markers and on the flats on both side of the Harbor.
Weird thing here “Besides me” I used to always toss out any Skip jack “Leather Jacket”. In the net, I would these stinging little bait fish. If you grab them around the body, they have stingers and their belly and back. While not deadly they will light you up. I have tried them for bait over the Years and no real luck. Now for some reason they are great Trout bait! Yes Dracula likes them hitting the skip jack before a white bait or a shrimp?????
Now I am confused. I know most all of the rules about fishing, what to do, what works, how to rig. But I am really starting to think no one told the fish what the rules are. Al Gore I believe was right. It is warm, beautiful and January so why should the Trout be eating Skip jacks?? So enjoy the view. Catch some trout either side of the Harbor or for some bigger trout try 41 or I-75 bridges.
Jacks are back in the Harbor, as feisty and uncivilized and wanting to fight, as I am. Watch the sand bars down from 2 pines up to Pirate Harbor. Keep in mind the Jacks are looking for fast moving shallow baits, If you have a shrimp on the line, no sinker is better. Free line and fast retrieve, If you have a sinker on your line add a bobber / poppin cork and again reel fast. Jacks scare the bait fish and get them in a frenzy so slow or still baits are not what they are used to seeing. Make your bait or lure quick noisy and fast.
Trout fishing for a meal is cool, but a good size Jack makes it a day to remember.
The flats fishin requires a Lewis & Clark attitude. Yes indeed boys & Girls if you are going to find fish on the east side, put on your explorer out-fit. Right now those Red-Fish, Trout, Sheep head, Snapper are all tucked in between the islands. This will require two people (one of you drawing straws seems to work out) for who drives the boat and who gets to stand on the bow. Yup one of you gets to stand on the bow as you idle slowly, very slowly around the keys “Islands” of the east side. You are looking for deeper water flowing between two islands.
When you find a place, it is not going to be good fishing yet, since you just ran your boat into, over, & through it. Take a minute to look around. Study where the hole/trough is and where you should anchor to get your best cast. Get a game plan in your head, then go off to find the next spot. By the time you find the next one, the first one you found should be ready to fish. Head back to your first spot. come in using your Electric motor or push pole. Use a stick-it pin/pole to anchor with not, not an anchor with a chain (this is a quiet area). You have to be sneaky about this. Once you are set, you should be able to start catching. And, as we all know, that is just the “bonus”. But it is really nice to be catching and not just fishin every once in a while.
Trout stories are being told about Tippy Canoe Bay, Muddy Bay, Cape Haze, and the east side bar, so I think I am going to say the Trout have moved in.
Pompano and Triple tail, are mystery guests here in the harbor, with a few reports coming in steady, but the exact where about remain a mystery.
Small jigs, banana type white or pink, is the color everyone is talking, but a guy told me he caught his pompano on a pink jig. Had the picture of the fish and the jig in the pompano’s mouth was green chartreuse. I am beginning to think some fisherman might lie a little!
I got to go fishing Sunday. I wanted to take my boat and scout out some of the Cut-off. Good plan, not a good choice, I was going out to the gulf because the fishing has been unreal out there, just plain wow! But the wind was going to make it a little rough for the flats boat & we got a late start, so to the cut-off I went. My jack plate blew out. Not just a hose, the cylinder went. It is 15 years old and has seen a lot of use. So I was not well too up set. I thought heck, I will just trim the motor up and go on with the electric when I get shallow.
Good plan again, but with my plate not lifting the motor will not tilt without hitting the stern and breaking the steering connections. So it was run through the shallows and set down in deep water, Red fish for dinner was the goal. That did not happen. Myself the wife T and my Dad scored 3 fish for 4 hours of fishing, 1 Trout, 1 lady fish, 1 cat-fish. The cat was unusual because all 3 fish were caught be me on the Small chartreuse Maverick golden Eye. It catches fish, but a hard head cat-fish that was a first. Any way Dad & T had no luck with bait, but it was a nice ride.
So today I order a new jack plate and get ready to mount that. And while I am doing that, some wiring needed to be done, and I should get a new roller arm for the trailer, mount the new depth finder, and fix a couple of switches. Other than that everything works great. 🙂
Oh well. You all be safe out there and have some fun.
Saturday was a great day if you were fishing the inside of the East Keys. Captain Cayle wacked the Mangrove Snappers and Red fish. Cayle said he had other fish, but it was unreal how big and steady the Snapper bite was.
Capt., Greg had a different kind of day. Greg & Chris headed to the east side. Found a pothole against the side of an island. They started fishing then proceeded to catch every conceivable fish you could fish for in Charlotte harbor; grouper, lady fish, trout, redfish, snook, snappers. Everything except flounder and sheeps-head. The even ended up catching one catfish on what was to be his last cast. After the cat-fish they decided they had had enough.
It was a great trip. End this one on a high note. Putting in the trolling motor, they headed out from the keys, to more open, deeper water. After reaching water deep enough to use the out board Chris went to hit the key nothing, dead battery. Luckily there was a guy fishing on an aluminum boat not far away. They trolling motored up to the guy. Due to a little bit a bad financial luck he had to sell his flats boat and here he was fishing in an aluminum boat, but at least he finally got out on the water. And all he wanted was to catch dinner for that night, but he had not caught a thing.
“Idea!!” How about a trade? A nice 24 inch six and three-quarter pound red fish for a jumpstart. I know you’re not supposed to trade redfish for a jumpstart but this was an emergency. He was able to have fish for dinner, and they were able to start the engine. As it turned out, their lucky day, turned into his lucky day. Not a bad way to and a fishing trip. They did not have a fish dinner but they did not have to push the boat back to the ramp!
(Ft. Myers Beach to Charlotte Harbor) Wow, what a wonderful fishing experience for those that had the fore-site to go out and fish the days before, the morning of and days after Tropical Storm Issacc! I had the opportunity to fish all of the above with both charter clients as well as with my wife Vicki in the Cape Coral Canals, Pine Island Sound, the back country of Punta Rassa and Matlacha Passes. They all produced great sport fishing for hungry and aggressive Crevalle Jacks, Snook, Tarpon, Redfish and Trout alike. My clients enjoyed violent strikes from both Snook and Jacks on artificial baits. We caught several 17”-22” Seatrout on shrimp under corks and Vicki landed a 42” Tarpon in the ‘spreader’ canal in Cape Coral on her favorite MR 19 Mirro-Lure twitch bait ( the key is to know how to ‘twitch’ it)!
We have a full moon for most of the weekend together with subsiding winds and I cannot wait to get out over the Labor Day Weekend anticipating both great weather and great fishing. I will be targeting Redfish north of Matlacha Bridge, as well as the northern parts of Pine Island Sound to confirm that they are still holding in those areas. All species seem to have been charged up by the dark waters, stronger moving tides, giving the anglers a chance to make unsuspecting presentations.
(LEE COUNTY) Summer weather brings out some of the best fishing opportunities our areas from North Ft. Myers Beach to Boca Grande Pass have to offer.
INSHORE: Snook are everywhere along the beaches and in the passes of Sanibel, Captiva, North Captiva and Cayo Costa Islands feeding on schools of glass minnows and scaled sardines. Spinning casters, Fly fishermen/women are walking and stalking the beaches for an opportunity to land one of the most sought after gamefish for the pure excitement of the fight and bragging rights they provide. Spinning casters using artificials should find success using suspending twitch baits, small white bucktail jigs and X-Raps to name a few. Fly-fishers have had success with numerous patterns such as small deceivers and Clauser minnows. Be sure your equipment is up to the task. Spinning casters will want 15-20 lb line test and they along with the Fly-fishers should consider a 40lb Fluorocarbon leader. Remember to stay back away from the water for best results.
Those with flats and bay boats will want to try angling close to the mangroves in Pine Island Sound as well as on the inside of the Outer Islands along structure on the last half of the incoming or the first half of the outgoing using whitebait for best results;
Redfish may be targeted in the same areas as the Snook on the first part of the outgoing tide using Pilchards, Threadfin Herrings or large shrimp on a 2/0-4/0 hook either under a cork or free line. As the tide subsides, move out to the oyster bars and troughs. Artificial baits such as, Gulp Shrimp (Penny color) on a 1/8 ounce redheaded jig, gold spoons and soft plastics should provide results. I prefer to fish the early morning or late evening hours for both Snook and Redfish, so long as the tide is moving. This provides the best opportunity to break out the top-water lures and experience vicious strikes from both species. My tackle preference for both Snook and Reds are somewhat similar being 7 ½ ft medium to medium power heavy rods w/extra fast action tips matched with Stradic 4000-5000 FI Shimano reels loaded with 20 lb braid tipped with 3 ft. 25-30lb Fluorocarbon leaders depending on the type of bottom and density of the structure I am fishing;
Trout are everywhere. Deep V, deck and pontoons alike can get in on this action on the grass flats of Punta Rassa and in Pine Island Sound. Use the same bait and equipment mentioned above only with lighter leaders (15-20lb), a light jig head on a 2/0 size hook positioned about 3ft under a popping cork on an incoming tide in 3-6 ft. of water. You will lose a few however, as the Spanish Mackerel attacks the bait. To help prevent this, go with a heavier leader or a small wire leader attached directly to your main line understanding that this may cost you a few strikes;
Mangrove Snappers are still around and can be found under about any mangrove structure. They love shrimps free-lined or under a cork so long as the bait lays close to the bottom or around the structure.
Tarpon are here but the reported catches have been off as well as the bite. I recently spoke with Mr. Bob Thomas, President of the Cape Coral Tarpon Hunters Club and agreed that June was not as productive as we had hoped. Attributed in part to the early warm waters of April and May and the seemingly early arrival of the Tarpon; the south and west winds have played havoc on the fishing. He reported that live bait fishermen/women are using Threadfins and Pinfish under a cork with the most success in the passes and around bridges. Dead bait fishermen and women are relying on catfish fillets, Spanish Mackerel chunks and ladyfish for the most part. Not a lot of Tarpon sightings of late in the Caloosahatche River. However, as the weeks progress the Tarpon should be showing up in the potholes of Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor. When the weather cooperates, I find the Tarpon off of the beaches of Ft. Myers, Sanibel, Captiva and North Captiva in 10-30 feet of water as well as in the passes. Early morning and evenings with tide movement are the best times to target these fish. My bait of choice are live large Threadfins/Pilchards, Pinfish and Mullet under a cork or free-lining. I use lighter tackle than most of my fellow Cape Coral Tarpon Hunters. I use spinning tackle that can handle 50-65lb braid tipped with 60-80 lb test 6-8ft Fluorocarbon leaders and a 6/0-7/0 circle hook. Be prepared to catch your share of sharks as well.
Depending on the weather and tide movements, fishermen and ladies working famous Boca Grande Pass are using techniques which include jigs as well as live baits (big threadfins, pilchards, crabs) with some success.
OFFSHORE: I have not spent a lot of time working the structures and wrecks offshore as I have concentrated my efforts on back country and Tarpon, not to mention that my new 21ft. Cobia Center Console Bay Boat is not designed for long trips on the Gulf of Mexico. However, some of my fellow captains report the following;
Red Grouper may be found anywhere from 10-20 miles offshore. They are eating cut Squid, Sardines, Pinfish when being heavily chummed. Fishermen going out 20 miles or more are catching their limits;
Red Snapper/Mutton Snapper are being found on structure in about 150 ft. of water are being chummed and being caught on Squid, Sardines and Pinfish as well. They are averaging anywhere from 5-10lbs for Muttons and 5-17lbs for Red Snappers;
Permit are closer to the shore line and are being found anywhere from 5-20 miles out on structure using live crabs, live shrimps and big chartreuse jigs tipped with cut bait and are weighing in anywhere from 15-30lbs.
In closing, there are numerous other species that will be caught both In-shore and off-shore. Simply pick your day to go and be safe. There are a number of reliable weather sources to go to for planning your next fishing trip. I basically rely on wunderground.com for marine forecast and my planning purposes together with the local news weather channels. If I may be of assistance on your next trip or answer any questions about fishing or boating the beautiful and bountiful waters of SW Florida (Lee County) simply give me a call at 239-357-6829/239471-7332 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out my website at www.fishfacecharters.com. I am for hire on your vessel or mine. My rates are posted on the web-site or may call on the phone numbers listed above. I am USCG License, insured with years of fishing experience. Customer satisfaction and helping you know the area and understanding how to catch more big fish is what I am all about.