fishing Forecast

  • 07/01/2016 12:17 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    HOT Florida Bite for July
    By Capt. Charlie Conner

    July brings hot weather, chances of afternoon rains and Fourth of July parties. Oh....and lots of great fishing out there, too! Watch out for afternoon thunderstorms this month. Mornings on the river will bring action at first light on top water lures for snook or trout along the flats. They will seek deeper water as the sun rises. It’s a hot, but very productive month around the Treasure Coast.

    I will be fishing along the mangroves for snook and redfish with DOA shrimp, CAL jerk baits and top water lures, like the DOA Airhead, where the water will be 2-3 feet deep. Trout will move to deeper flats in 2-6 feet of water and will most likely hit pigfish, DOA shrimp or Deadly Combos. Look for the trout to move to the deeper edges of the flats as the sun warms up the water. Fish the sand holes on the flats! You will find the bigger fish sitting in these holes waiting on the tides to bring the food to them. It has been another banner year for big trout around the area.

    Redfish will continue to hold up on the flats. Read the water as you move across the flats and look for any activity that might be a school of reds. Gold spoons, soft baits, like DOA shrimp or CAL jerk baits will work best for them. Search along the docks during the day for snook or redfish hanging around there as well. It’s a fantastic month to be fishing!

    Bridges will be producing snapper, drum and sheephead during July. Live or dead shrimp will be hard for them to resist. Watch the tides and fish the slower sides of them for best results. Whiting will continue to be in the surf with the occasional bluefish and Spanish mackerel. There will be larger snapper in the river around structure and along channel edges. Sharks will be patrolling along the beach also. The glass minnows will be flowing into the river in huge schools. Watch for these bait schools and fish the edges for your best action.

    Areas to fish in the river for July: Bear Point, Queen's Cove and Round Island. South of Harbor Branch will be a great area to work for trout in the mornings before the sun heats up things. The flats in front of the power plant taper off to 3-5 feet and will be holding trout during the day. Live pigfish are the favorite food for trout this time of year. It’s time to set the traps to feed these hungry fish! Try a DOA TerrorEyz or the DOA Airhead during the day also for trout. The west shore down there will be good areas to search out redfish. Channel edges will be yielding snapper on structure. Tripletail will be around channel markers and pilings to the south towards Jensen Beach. Have a fun month out there!

    Remember, as always, fishing is not just another hobby……it’s an ADVENTURE!

    Good Fishing,
    Captain Charlie Conner
    www.fishtalescharter.com
    captaincharlie@fishtalescharter.com
    772-284-3852

  • 07/01/2016 11:36 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)
    The Heat is on . . .

    By Capt. Greg Stamper

    July is now upon us and its getting hotter, so as we move into the dog days of summer, the water will be much warmer. Redfish, snook, trout, and the transition back to our local tarpon will be a big piece of the backcountry fishing through July. Nearshore waters should also be very active with Spanish mackerel, pompano, seatrout, jacks and ladyfish -- just to mention a few species. Likewise, as you venture out deeper to the wrecks and reefs, all kinds of snappers, groupers, cobia, permit, etc… come into play. Fishing is great this time of the year as long as you keep tabs on what Mother Nature offers you.

    Most of the time, it’s best to get an early start and beat the heat, particularly as we get low tides in the mid-afternoon. When the rain starts to pattern, as it often does throughout the summer, you’ll be blessed with nice, low East winds for most of the mornings, followed by an hour or so of almost still conditions before the afternoon sea breeze and storms start to develop. So starting early in South West Florida gives anglers great opportunities to site fish laid up fish, or make that long run with relative ease, pre thunderstorms.

    Red fishing can be very reliable this time of the year as fish ambush the flats during the first part of the tides foraging for crabs, shrimp, and pin fish as they slowly work their way into the mangroves on the higher water. I personally love the opportunity to throw top water plugs or spoons during these times as they cover vast sloughs of water and come on who doesn’t love a top water bite! Snook fishing will be great as fish cruise almost all of the beaches attacking the schools of pilchards swimming only feet from the water’s edge. This is the time of the year to throw small swim baits, flies, or feather jigs parallel to the beach and be ready. Besides snook, many of the beaches will hold redfish, trout, tarpon, and certainly sharks.

    The nearshore waters and passes will be a great place to find action during the summer, as the moving water tends to hold fish longer. The passes can be a hodgepodge of different species, and if you see birds diving in these areas then there will certainly be fish there as well. Most pass fish won’t be that big, but there will be a lot, so if action is what your looking for you'll do just fine! If you lose a jig quickly then you’ve got mackerel, so a small tip of wire should suffice to allow for some fun without losing all your gear.

    The offshore wrecks and reefs can be super in July. There’s something to be said for a smooth run out to your favorite wreck and being able to see fish swimming all around you in pristine clean water. Be ready as you approach your spot as cobia may be greeting you as soon as you pull up. I like to have a large jig already to go as soon as I come off plane, or at least a nice shrimp on a 3/0 circle hook for you never know what might just pop up. If its snapper your after, they may be a bit deeper this time of the year, but chumming for a while along reefs or drop offs then dropping cut threads, pilchards, or shrimp on an extra-long 20lb leader can put some very nice mangrove snappers in the box or perhaps a few yellowtails. The grouper are moving out deeper and deeper now, however trolling some deep diving plugs in 30 to 40 feet of water may still get you that big gag grouper.

    Tight Lines
    Captain Greg Stamper
    Snook Stamp Charters
    Fishtale Marina on Ft Myers Beach
    239-313-1764

  • 07/01/2016 11:08 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Transition for summer fishing
    By Capt. Michael Manis

    As hot summer temperatures arrive I’ll transition from the backcountry onto outside bar systems. Moreover, even though the tarpon migration is winding down, there will still be some fish on the beach as well as in the Harbor’s deeper holes.

    As for outside bars systems, I particularly like the mix of sand and grass that runs from mangrove Point to Alligator Creek. Its proximity to the ramp at Ponce Park allow for a quick escape from summer storms. Snook, redfish, spotted sea trout, and jack crevalle roam the bar.

    A bit further south, the bar between Burnt Store Marina and Matlacha is popular. In fact, it’s one of the best spots to wade in the entire harbor. Across the harbor, the bar that runs from Cape Haze Point down past Bull Bay can fish well. Abundant rainfall provides additional opportunity. Outside shorelines close in proximity to bars with adjacent creek systems can hold fish on an outgoing tide. Again, the shoreline between Mangrove Point and Alligator Creek is a good one. In addition, the West Wall has multiple creeks. In fact, it’s eight miles of shoreline and bar system. Because of the bar’s proximity to the Harbor’s deeper holes, you can fish shoreline, bar structure, and even make a short run to look for rolling tarpon.

    With these conditions, working around the intracoastal is always an option. The cooler oxygenated flow coming from the Gulf via the passes combined with turtle grass flats that are common here provide good habitat. Ramps from Lemon Bay, Placida, and Pine Island provide easy access.  In particular, I like northern Pine Island Sound and Lemon Bay. In Pine Island, loading from Pineland Marina.

    The flats from Mondongo to Useppa Island and over to Cabbage Key are good. In Lemon Bay, the flats north and south of Stump Pass on both sides of the intracoastal can hold good redfish and trout. Here, you’re not allowed to run your outboard outside the intracoastal. It’s idle only and many simply use a trolling motor or push pole. Consequently, the fish aren’t always so defensive and on the run making them a bit more approachable.

    Until next month, good tides.

    Captain Michael Manis is a U.S.G.C. Licensed captain and has been teaching the sport of fly and light tackle angling since 2002. He lives in Punta Gorda, Florida and can be reached at (941) 628-7895 or on his website at www.puntagordaflycharters.com

  • 06/01/2016 11:43 PM | Anonymous

    Near Shore Fishing Heats up in June
    By Captain Tom Van Horn

    Calm conditions across the water will allow for those with smaller boats to venture further out into the deep blue sea in search for ocean predators, and facilitate a smoother and faster ride for those with larger vessels.

    VanHorn forecast-pic

    Offshore, look for the dolphin bite to slow as the schools begin to spread out and the kingfish concentrations will remain good along the inshore reefs and wrecks of 8A Reef and Pelican Flats, so slow trolling with live pogies (Atlantic menhaden) will produce the best action.

    Additionally, bottom fishing will remain good for snapper and grouper until the first summer squall (hurricane) blows in and muddies up the water. Remember as of now the American red snapper season is closed on the Atlantic coast of Florida, so please handle them with care and return them to their proper depth. As the summer doldrums set in, the seas flatten out and the ocean cleans up, and near-shore opportunities are typically the best you'll see all year along the reefs and wrecks and the beach. June is also the time of year when the kingfish move in close along the beach shadowing schools of Atlantic menhaden (pogies), as well as along the Port Canaveral buoy line.

    In the early morning on the Lagoon flats look for trout and redfish up in the skinny water around concentration of bait, and toss them your favorite top water plug. Focus your efforts between 5 am and 9 am, and in the late afternoon after the thunderstorms dissipate. Also look for schools of bay anchovies (glass minnows) in deeper waters. These schools can be located by watching for small terns and other sea birds working, and they usually are shadowed by concentrations of small trout and ladyfish. These fast moving schools produce fast and furious action for fly anglers casting small top-water popping bugs.

    Night fishing especially during period of intense moon will also produce decent catches of redfish, snook, and trout. When fishing the flats at night, I prefer fishing real slow with glow in the dark shrimp imitation baits like the DOA Shrimp. If you can only fish during the heat of the day, target the docks with deep water access.

    Remember as the days heat up, long battles will kill the fish, so if you plan on targeting large fish, you may want to step up your tackle to shorten the battle. Also, dissolved oxygen levels are low, so leave them in the water as much as possible, and revive them completely before releasing them. Also, snook season is closed on Florida's east central coast in June, July, and August, so if you catch one, please be respectful and handle and release it with extreme care.

    As always, if you have questions on need more information, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,
    Captain Tom Van Horn
    Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
    407-416-1187


  • 06/01/2016 11:41 PM | Anonymous

    Get out early and beat the heat
    By Captain Charlie Conner

    Summer has arrived and you can bet on hot afternoons and lots of great fishing action around the Treasure Coast during June. The mornings will be calm and it is certainly to your benefit to get out early to beat the afternoon heat. Being on the water at first light is worth the effort to watch the sun rise. Expect a chance of afternoon thunderstorms each day…we can always use some rain around the area this time of year! Watch the weather each afternoon out there. It’s a fantastic month to fish.Conner June Photo Trout

    Inshore will provide lots of redfish, snook and trout action on the flats. Get those top water lures cleaned up and plan an early morning to get some of that explosive action in the shallows. Try the DOA Airhead or Bait Buster for great top water action. Switch to DOA shrimp or a CAL jerk bait as the sun warms up to continue your success. Watch for bait schools on the flats and you can be assured there are fish nearby. You can expect the fish to be feeding shallow early and move to the edges of the flats as the sun rises. Look for sand holes on the flats! Fish are traditionally lazy and love to sit in a sand hole and wait for the tide to bring the food for them to ambush.

    You should be able to find plenty of redfish around the shallows. The population this year has been outstanding and they have been growing all spring. Redfish schools will be feeding on the flats, so be on the lookout for them. Most will be slot size to just over the slot. I love using a DOA shrimp or CAL paddle tails while fishing for reds. Try along the mangroves as well. Lots of fish will move under the mangroves as the sun heats up for the day.

    Conner June Photo Trout 2

    Trout will be on the grassy flats and feeding on the same food out there. Move out to three to five feet of water as the day heats up to continue your action. A Deadly Combo can provide inexperienced anglers with lots of fun learning to fish artificials. Don’t forget to fish the docks around the river. Lots of big fish will be hanging around many of the docks along the Indian River. Live bait, TerrorEyz and DOA shrimp can find some exciting action in June. Harbor Branch, Queens Cove and Bear Point will all be hot spots for action all summer.

    Snook will provide plenty of action around the bridges and jetties this month. Snook season closed on May 31 and won’t open again until fall. Night anglers will be heading to the jetties for catch and release snook and maybe some tarpon action.

    Top water lures, feather jigs, TerrorEyz and Bait Busters can all get you in on some fantastic action. Handle the snook carefully and release them quickly and safely so that they will be there this fall. Jacks will also be hanging around the inlets and give you some rod bending activity.Conner June Photo Trout 3

    Make sure you take plenty of water with you. It will be hot out there. Drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated and reduce the risk of heat stroke. Slather on lots of sunscreen! Sunburn isn’t a good feeling at the end of the good day of fishing. A little common sense and a few minutes can a big difference. Make that part of preparations for your adventures on the water. It will just make a great day even better!

    Remember, as always, fishing is not just another hobby……it’s an ADVENTURE!

    Good Fishing,

    Captain Charlie Conner
    www.fishtalescharter.com
    captaincharlie@fishtalescharter.com
    772-284-3852


  • 04/01/2016 11:41 PM | Anonymous

    It’s Time for Great Spring Catchin’ in Central Florida
    By Captain Tom Van Horn

    As many of you have heard by now, a brown alga bloom in the inland waters of the Indian River Lagoon system has resulted in a major fish kill in all reaches of the Banana River Lagoon and portions of the Central Indian River Lagoon.  This is sad news for some parts of our east coast estuaries, but if there is a bright side to this story, this event has open the eyes of many who prefer to look the other way when it comes to the health and preservation of our fragile resources.  Another positive note is the fish kill is currently isolated to the central IRL and has not occurred in the portions of the Lagoon system north of SR 405 (NASA Causeway) and the Mosquito Lagoon.  This forecast is based on my past experiences fishing in a healthy lagoon system, so I may be off a little on my predictions this month.

    Some highlights for fishing on Florida's east central coast during the spring are: the weather is still cool and enjoyable, the waters warming up and the fish begin to shift into their pre-spawning feeding mood. Some examples of this behavior are the cobia moving north up the Atlantic coast, and the spotted sea trout transitioning into their traditional spawning areas on the inshore flats. Van Horn Trout

    Like many saltwater species, the cobia and sea trout spawn in aggregations or groups, not on beds. In the case of the cobia their traditional spawning areas are off of the central east coast of the US, and in the northern Gulf of Mexico. As the fish migrate north, they burn energy and feed heavily along the way, hence the cobia run we experience each spring. 

    On the flats, the smaller male sea trout move up into the shallows first, and then call the females in to spawn by drumming loudly just after dusk when the conditions are right, usually on the first new moon or full moon in April, and then again on the new and full moons throughout the summer. 

    As we move in near-shore, tripletail should become more dependable, and look for late season cobia as well. The cobia run thus far has been slow; with bait pods (Atlantic menhaden or pogies) arriving late this year. As the bait pod move in, look for Spanish mackerel, bluefish, redfish, giant jack crevalle, sharks, and smoker kings. Concentrate your efforts in areas of bait pods. When you see areas of bait balled up and pushed to the surface, there is a high probability that feeding gamefish are pressuring the bait from below. 

    In the inlets, look for good numbers of flounder, sheepshead and black drum around structure such as jetties and docks, and Spanish mackerel, blues, and large jacks in open water. Also look for the nighttime snook and tarpon action to heat up in the Sebastian Inlet. 

    On the lagoon flats, fish the early morning and late evening with your favorite top water plugs for extreme trout and redfish action, and soft plastics and jigs in deeper water, 2 to 3 feet after the midday sun settles in. Remember, April is one of the months when larger sea trout are egg laden for the spawn, so it's very important to handle and release the larger females with great care. If you are looking for snook and tarpon action inside, the Sebastian River will be the place to go. Van Horn-Red

    Last but not least, freshwater largemouth and striped bass action has been and will remain hot on the St Johns River. Look for schooling bass at first light feeding on pilchards from the Osteen Bridge to Lake Harney. My favorite locations are in the river bends near the power lines at Lemmon Bluff and at confluences of Lake Harney and the River. A good way to locate these schooling fish is to look for white pelicans and other wading birds congregating along the shore. When in the feeding mode, these fish will take small plastic jerk baits like the 4-inch DOA Shad Tail, most small swim plugs, and small live shiners. Also, as the river rises and the velocity increases, the larger spawning channel catfish (freshwater cobia) move out of the big lakes into the river to spawn. 

    All in all, there's some great spring catching in Central Florida, so don't miss the boat and let's go fishing. 

    As always, if you need information or have any questions, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    www.irl-fishing.com
    mosquitocoast@cfl.rr.com
    407-416-1187 on the water


  • 04/01/2016 11:40 PM | Anonymous

    Good Water Clarity Present
    By Capt. Dave Pecci

    Charlotte Harbor is Florida’s second largest estuary encompassing 270 square miles. Over 80% of its shoreline is reserved land. There are more than 15 boat ramps and many kayak access point on the Harbor providing easy access to great fishing. 

    April Action: Redfish will be eating flies and lures along mangroves that have oysters and grass close by. You’ll find snook cruising the mangrove points with sandy patches and moving water. Ladyfish and sea trout will be on deeper grass flats. There's been some schools of 10-12 pound jack crevalle cruising the flats - keep a 20# class spinning rod with a top water plug handy or a 10 wt. rigged with a white bait fly. The first of the spring tarpon are now cruising the middle section of the Harbor. There’s not a lot of them yet but by the middle of the month they’ll be here in good numbers! Cobia have been scarce but they will show up soon. Beach Jackrs

    Conditions: Water temps will be rising into the high 70s to low 80s with good water clarity throughout the Harbor. The Lake Okeechobee water releases into the Caloosahatchee have been reduced to just above normal flow so the salinity ad clarity continues to improve in Punta Rasa Pass, along the area beaches and in the lower reaches of Pine Island Sound. 

    Bait the fish are feeding on: shrimp, crabs, pinfish, ladyfish. Some whitebait in Matlacha Pass, upper Pine Island Sound, Gasparilla sound and on Bokeelia Shoals. 

    April Fishing Tactics: With the clearer and warmer water, tactics change to fishing moving water along the grass flats and sight fishing for reds and snook on the sandbars and oyster beds. The fish will be more aggressive but also a bit spookier. Stay back and make long casts, if you can see the fish – they can see you too. 

    My April Fly Fishing Tip: I get asked about bite tippet a lot – Use a minimum of 20# for smaller fish. 25#-30# for baby tarpon and snook. Always use fluorocarbon. Check the tippet after EVERY catch. Not just by sight or touch, do a pull test. 

    My April Spin Fishing Tip: The same holds true for spinning gear; 20# leader for the little guys and 25#-30# for the biguns. Check the leader after EVERY catch. 

    Species to fish for this month: Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, Bluefish, Jacks, Ladyfish, Snook, Tarpon.

    FMI: for regularly updated fishing reports, photos and videos go to: www.obsessioncharters.com or https://www.facebook.com/obsessionsportfishing/ 

    Capt. Dave Pecci
    Obsession Sportfishing Charters
    Port Charlotte, FL
    dave@obsessioncharters.com
    207-841-1444 voice and text


  • 04/01/2016 11:39 PM | Anonymous

    Spring Patterns Emerging in The Big Bend
    By Captain Marrio Castello

    Late winter feels more like early spring here in The Big Bend with water temps already in the 70’s.  Springtime patterns are already happening along with a few wintertime patterns as well.  This makes for great mixed bag fishing. SHEEPHEAD ROBERT 2rs

    We are now entering the end of our wintertime Sheepshead fishing offshore but it seems to still be very consistent.  We are fishing rock piles, ledges, and high relief structure from 8 to 25 feet using a 2/0 circle hook knocker rig with live shrimp.  Use as much weight as you need to hold bottom.  Sheepshead are ranging from 4 to 8 pounds.  

    Trout are showing up on the emerging grass flats from 3 to 5 feet of water.  Mirrolure Lil Jon in the darker colors under a popping cork seem to do very well.  Change out colors regularly to find out which ones work best at that time.  

    Redfish are a year around target but they are beginning to show up around the outside islands and oyster bars.  We are using live shrimp freelined on a 2/0 circle hook with great success.  

    Snook are also beginning to show up around the same bars and shorelines as the redfish.  When we specifically target Snook instead of Redfish we are using a DOA Cal shad tail on a 1/8 oz jig.   

    Tall Tales Charters
    Captain Marrio Castello
    352-454-7719
    http://www.talltaleschartersfl.com


  • 03/10/2016 11:37 PM | Anonymous

    Fishing continues strong in Charlotte Harbor
    By Capt. Dave Pecci

    The fishing will be good on Charlotte Harbor this month despite all the news and social media hype about water releases from Lake Okeechobee. The water in and around Pine, Sanibel and Captiva Islands is brown (turbid) and has an elevated nutrient level but is not toxic.Pecci-FGA-pic1

    Turbid water along the Lee County coastline is being caused by freshwater released from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee River. Such releases have taken place for years during the rainy season but they rarely happen this time of year.

    The releases are due to recent record rainfall and are necessary to keep homes, businesses and agriculture around the lake from being flooded and destroyed. Currently 4 billion gallons of Lake Okeechobee water a day is going into the Caloosahatchee. There’s 2 billion gallons per day going into the St. Lucie River and another 2 million gallons per day going into the Everglades through Shark River Slough. This will continue for several more weeks. No one disputes that something has to be done to stop the releases into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers. The water must be allowed to flow into the everglade as it once did. Unfortunately it will take 5-10 years to accomplish this.

     

    Pecci-FGA-pic2

    This chart shows Charlotte Harbor. It encompasses 270 square miles. There are over 15 launch ramps on the Harbor providing access to great fishing. The shaded area is where the turbid water from Lake Okeechobee is. Fishing in this area will not be all that good in March. The rest of the Harbor will have great fishing for redfish, seatrout, sheephead, cobia, jacks, snook and more.

     If you are fishing the lower east side of the Harbor in March you will find the best action will be during the dropping tide. If you are fishing the lower west side of the Harbor the incoming tide will provide the better action.  The upper Harbor will have good fishing conditions on all tides. Fish the deep holes around the mangrove islands for trout and redfish early and move to the grass flats as the water warms. The Snook will be around or on the sand flats and will eat when the water temps warm above 70*.

    My fly fishing tip of the month: Fish with bulky and brightly colored flies in the Upper Harbor and smaller, more lifelike flies in the lower Harbor. Slow down your presentations when the water is cold.

    My spin fishing tip of the month: Downsize your lures, especially if your fishing jigs with soft plastic tails. We’ve been getting a lot of bumps and short strikes on the larger baits.

    Pecci-FGA-pic3

    Capt. Dave Pecci
    Obsession Sportfishing Charters
    Charlotte Harbor, Boca Grande, Pine Island Sound
    dave@obsessioncharters.com
    www.obsessioncharters.com
    voice and text: 207-841-1444


  • 02/23/2016 11:34 PM | Anonymous

    Lavender azaleas indicate the arrival of the cobia
    By Captain Tom Van Horn

    Angling in Central Florida has shown some improvement in these past weeks with the best action coming from anglers fishing freshwater locations like the St Johns River.  Cold, rainy and blustery weather conditions combined with higher water levels in the Lagoons has made inshore and offshore saltwater fishing a challenge. It’s not to say the fishing has been poor in these locations, it’s finding fishable conditions that has been the challenge. On a positive note,  the colder weather is starting to reduce the level of brown alga in the lagoon in some locations, so sight fishing should be improvingVan Horn-Sunshine Bass

    In March, I always use my lavender azaleas as an indicator for the arrival of the cobia migration north through our near-shore waters.  Their magnificent blooms favors the same temperatures and weather conditions, and when the azalea blooms peek the time is right.   Currently my azaleas are showing some blooms, but like the azalea’s delicate blooms, the cobia run will pass before you know it.

    The current water temperature in Port Canaveral is 62 degrees, and as the ocean begins its gradual warming phase, 67 to 68 degrees, watch for the progression of baits schools (Atlantic menhaden and silver mullet) from warmer waters into the near-shore waters bringing the cobia and other predators with them. The warmer waters will also draw manta rays into the shallows shadowed by pods of cobia. Other notable species are tripletail around the buoys and under flotsam, heavy weight jack carvalle near the end of the month, large redfish, and sharks shadowing bait schools. Currently, the cobia have started showing up, and once the water warms up and the seas lay down, cobia mania will begin.  The marine forecast is showing some fishable seas this week, so it may be worth your while to give it a shot.

    Moving out into deeper water, the spring kingfish run should begin with the smaller kings showing up around the middle of March, followed by the smokers, 30 to 50 pounds, in April on the near-shore reefs and wrecks like Pelican Flats and 8A reef. If the bait moves in close to the beach, look for the larger kingfish to follow them. Also, April marks the beginning of the fishing season for many of the blue water anglers with the start of the April/May northern migration of dolphin in 120 feet of water and beyond, and the early part of the run usually includes some of the largest bulls taken all year. 

    In the inlets and along the beaches, whiting, pompano, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel should remain a staple with sheepshead and black drum holding on jetties and rock piles. As we move into the later part of April, watch for the snook and tarpon action to improve in Sebastian Inlet and then move north following the bait progression.

    On the lagoon, rising water levels will draw the slot size redfish schools up onto the shallow flats, with the larger breeder schools holding along the deeper edges and sand bars. On the cooler days, focus your attention on sand pockets or potholes, and once the afternoon sun warms the water, look for tailing fish on the shallow flats. Also, the end of March signals the return of silver mullet to the estuary, and the beginning early morning and late evening top water sea trout and redfish action.

    Last but not lease, March brings largemouth, stripers and sunshine bass into the equation as schooling bass begin to form up in consistent patterns on the St Johns River.  Last year, fifty bass days were not uncommon as schooling pre-spawn and post spawn fish push schools of menhaden to the surface at first light creating explosive top-water action. Additionally, the American shad run is showing signs of improvement, so give shad a shot while they are still here.

    As always, if you have questions or need information, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    www.irl-fishing.com
    mosquitocoast@cfl.rr.com
    407-416-1187 on the water


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