by Capt. Greg Stamper
May is just a perfect time to be fishing throughout Florida and especially here in Southwest. The options are endless for both the inshore and offshore angler. There’s all kind of action from all the fun things to catch. We’ll be targeting snook, redfish, and tarpon primarily, but permit, trout, pompano and cobia will be in the mix.
Snook are plentiful this time of the year, and the season will therefore be closed. That’s probably a good thing for the population as snook will be cruising in schools along our beaches in big numbers. On good calm days this is the place to be with flyrods or spinning tackle, sight casting to fish anywhere from 15 inches to 45. The snook will be tight to the beaches as they keep tabs on the schools of bait that are plentiful. Snook will also stack up on the wrecks and nearshore reefs and are usually of the large variety. Using a threadfin on the bottom usually on a tarpon rod can be productive to give anglers a chance at one of them.
Tarpon is now in full swing and can be found in and around all our passes and up and down our coast. These fish will be moving around in big schools and can often be seen rolling or free jumping on the good days. Crabs are the number one choice around here and threadfin herring a close second. The size of the nearshore and offshore fish ranges from 80 pounds up to 200, so prepare accordingly. Personally, I prefer catching to juvenile tarpon that now stack up in our back bays and around structure in good numbers. These fish can also be seen rolling around in schools but free jump less. These back-bay tarpon are usually 10-40 pounds are a blast.
Redfishing will be great this time of the year and can often give anglers several fish each trip. There’s a lot of glass minnows and white bait on and around the flats so sight fishing is an option. The times where the water is churned up can make things a bit tougher but using search baits such as top water plugs or the old faithful gold spoon can help you find them. You still have the option of putting out spreads for reds, as this is an easy way to catch them and takes minimal skill. The hurry up and wait approach catches tons of redfish all year long.
Finally, for those that just enjoy a fun time there will be lots of fun with pompano, trout, ladyfish, snappers, etc. Those who like constant action or have kids this is for you. Jigs tipped with shrimp are a sure way to catch a variety of species when worked through the water column correctly. If the anglers aren’t good casters, then a simple popping cork and shrimp can still produce. Remember the guide is working for you, so let them know what your looking to do and if the opportunity presents itself they’ll make it happen.
Tight lines Capt. Greg Stamper