fishing Forecast

  • 05/31/2017 5:02 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Work the beach and passes
    by Captain Michael Manis

    There’s nowhere I’d rather be right now than off the beaches. Because of the light winds and cooler air temperature, first thing in the morning will be best. Of course, first and foremost, it’s all about the tarpon. The migration out of the keys is in full swing and some fish are already moving north out of our area and other groups are just arriving. As usual, Boca Grande Pass is at the center of this activity, so I’ll spend my time looking both north and south of the pass.  I prefer throwing flies, but live crabs and threadfins are also fun.  fishing, Florida Guides Association

    Snook are also on the beaches right now and there just as easy to fish without a boat as with one.  In fact, this is one of the best times of year to fish from land as snook are easily within reach as they like to move up and down the trough where the surf meets the sand.

    As with just about any month, redfish are a good bet. Only this time of year, I like to concentrate on grass flats that receive flow from the Intracoastal Waterway. Shorelines and adjacent flats where Bull Bay intersects with Gasparilla sound can be good. A bit further south, northern Pine Island Sound has lots of potential. Here, there’s a lot of real estate to explore and anywhere from Mondongo Island down through Cabbage Key can produce on any given day.

    Even though it’s starting to warm up, there’s still a good spotted sea trout bite going on if you get out early. Deeper flats in three to four feet with good salinity will fish best.  It’s not a coincidence that some of the best trout fishing takes place where the highest bait concentration exists. Typically, good grass flats that lie just inside passes tend to hold good numbers of scaled sardines or whitebait. Throwing top water first thing in the morning is a great way to look for trout.

    Sharks are prevalent throughout the harbor right now and there’s a good chance of seeing anything from a small bonnet head cruising the flats to a large bull or hammerhead anywhere in the vicinity of the tarpon. However, black tips are around in good numbers and are lots of fun.  Just drop a bait, live or cut, anywhere around one of the many schools of threadfin herring scattered throughout the harbor and see what happens. You just never know; that’s what keeps us coming back for more. 

    Until next month, good tides,

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    (941) 628-7895
    mike@puntagordaflycharters.com
    www.puntagordaflycharters.com

  • 05/31/2017 4:50 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Expect the fish to be feeding shallowExpect the fish to be feeding shallow
    by Capt. 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.Fishing, Florida Guides Association

    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.  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. Fishing, Florida Guides Association

    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.

    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

  • 05/01/2017 5:16 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Redfish Rule
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    Finally, the windy months of March and April are almost behind us and we can look forward to the great fishing weather that May has to offer us on the Treasure Coast.  Other than the usual windy days, it has been a pretty mild winter and spring has arrived. Look for warmer temperatures and little less blustery days. As the water temperatures climb, the fishing will steadily improve on the river.   The water is already in the mid 70’s and that means the fish will be hungry.  It will provide fantastic mornings for top water and lazy afternoons to drift the flats.   May is one of my favorite months on the water!

    Redfish will be our main target throughout the month of May.  The past several years have bought us schools of slot sized redfish along the Indian River.   Most of the fish we have caught have been in the 18 to 30 inch range. The mangroves have produced lots of redfish action again this year.  They have been sunning on the flats and May gets their blood pumping and turns on the feeding.  I always have three lures ready during May…DOA shrimp, CAL jerk baits and top water lures.  Gold spoons and the DOA 2 ¾” shrimp will also be great additions to the arsenal when fishing for redfish.  As the fish school up, look for them around the edges of the flats.   Most of the river here on the Treasure Coast has been holding redfish and you should be able to find some on your favorite flats.   I tend to enjoy the east side of the river, but we have found many on the west side as well.
    Snook fishing in the early mornings will bring some rod bending action as they head up on the flats for an early morning or late evening meal.  Top water lures (like the new DOA PT-7), Baitbusters and DOA shrimp are all great lures to tempt a snook into biting.   We have been broken off numerous times by big snook under the mangroves.  Docks will also hold snook lurking around for an easy meal. Live shrimp is hard to beat around the docks.  In the inlet areas, try around the seawalls and bridges with live bait, Terror Eyz, feather jigs or deep diving plugs.  I love early morning for great snook fishing opportunities!  Snook season will close May 31st.

    Trout will continue to feed on top water at first light and live shrimp on popping corks during the day.   As the sun rises, they will head off the shallows to deeper water in the two to four foot range.  We have had some nice gator trout of late and should see some still big trout throughout the month of May.  I have had great success with CAL jerk baits and Deadly Combos this year in place of live shrimp.  If you are using live baits, try big shrimp or pilchards on the flats.  Both sides of the river have been productive in early mornings.  Winter fishing for trout has been good this year and spring should continue to give you some great action.

    Bridges will hold the usual sheepshead catch, while snapper will be moving into the river along with flounder. Jacks and ladyfish will be patrolling the areas and creating havoc all over the river.   Beaches will produce whiting with still a few catches of Spanish mackerel and bluefish along with the usual whiting.  Tarpon will begin their trek into the river and you can start looking for them in the St Lucie River, Big and Little Mud areas and the channels of the river.   May is a great month to fish the Treasure Coast….plan on a trip out on the river soon!

    As always, remember, fishing is not just another hobby....it's an ADVENTURE!!

    Good Fishing and Be Safe,
    Captain Charlie Conner

    http://www.fishtalescharter.com
    captaincharlie@fishtalescharter.com
    772-284-3852

  • 05/01/2017 5:09 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Variety on the Gulf Coast
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

         May is a spectacular time of the year in Southwest Florida. Tarpon take center stage as the top billing through June; however, there are many other fish species to target. A few of the side shows this month will be snook, redfish, permit, cobia, trout, etc. This means plenty of options for anglers of all levels and ages. Should you find yourself along the Gulf Coast, it’s practically a sin not to wet a line somewhere this time of the year. May is typically a month of good weather as we begin to set into our summer weather patterns of light east winds in the morning, followed up with the afternoon sea breezes taking over, giving us some rain late evening.

         Tarpon will be found along our beaches, in and around our back bays and sounds, along with schools of fish offshore all eating crabs, threadfin herring, glass minnows, and pilchards. Typically, these fish are part of the spawn and can range from a modest 80-pounder all the way up to 225-pound behemoths. We also begin seeing a lot more juvenile tarpon that begin to show up in schools in our back bays and rivers. These juvenile fish are usually between 10 and 40 pounds, will be around throughout the rest of the year, and can be targeted rather regularly.

         Snook are another big target during the month of May and can often be seen cruising down the beaches edges looking for easy meals. We target beach snook often by slow rolling down the shores all ready to throw our choice of bait upon first sight of cruisers. These fish typically swim in packs when they’re big and in larger schools when they’re small, so you’ll see them if the water stays clean. Snook fishing this time of the year is like hunting and can give mixed results as every day is different, and just like hunting, it doesn’t always work out. Snook will take a variety of baits from flies, artificial, and both live and cut baits. As the water gets a bit dirty either from storms or Lake Okeechobee water releases, you’ll still have chances to catch snook by just having faith in the areas you saw them last.

         Redfish, trout, pompano, and jack crevalle will take up another big part of the guide’s life this month. Those clients that aren’t into 30 minute to hour-long fish fights will prefer targeting them. There are plenty of great areas to target these quicker fighting fish throughout my region. Fishing the passes and mouths of rivers and creeks will find anglers catching plenty of different species. Redfish will typically be found cruising the flats during the low tides as they work their way to the mangrove shorelines and bushes during the highs. Trout will be a bit deeper than the reds in general, but will occasionally be found up in the skinny water right next to those reds as well. Trout fishing is great, especially for kids this time of the year, as the action can be almost constant. Pompano, jacks, mackerel, and lots of baby sharks will fill our passes up and can be caught with simple shrimp-tipped jigs worked aggressively.

         Nearshore fishing for permit, cobia, sharks, and tripletail finishes up my list of things to do in May. Permit are a lot of fun on the calm slicked out days as they can be seen in large schools feasting on the crustaceans floating buy. Cobia offer a sporty fight, are delicious to eat, and tend to be a surprise visitor as they meander around with curiosity seeing what’s going on. Most of the time you’ve just got to be ready for a cobia as he may only give you one shot by before he’s on his way. Sharks are basically easy pickings should one target them this time of the year and are often caught as bi-catch while tarpon fishing. Finally, always keep your eye open for a tripletail while moving around as you never know what piece of junk that big one may be found on.

    Tight lines,

    Capt Greg Stamper
    Snookstampcharters.com
    239-313-1764


  • 05/01/2017 5:04 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    May offers good fishing onshore or off
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    As our length of daylight and the water temperatures increase, so do the fishing opportunities along the Lagoon Coast of Florida. May is one of the better fishing months on east Florida's coastal waters, so make sure your lunch is packed, mental health days are scheduled, and I will see you on the water.

    Near-shore along the beaches, concentrate your efforts in the areas of active bait pods (pogies). Typically, when you see concentrated areas of bait with birds feeding on the surface, big fish are just as active underneath. Species feeding on these pods include tarpon, jack cervalle, redfish, cobia, and sharks. Near the end of the month, you can add kingfish into the mix. Also, tripletail and flounder numbers should be improving around the Port Canaveral buoys. At the inlets and beaches, Spanish mackerel, snook, redfish, jack crevalle, bluefish, flounder, sheepshead, and black drum are just some of the species available this month.

    Blue water trolling should be excellent in May, with the larger dolphin being the focus of most blue water anglers. Also in the mix are tuna, wahoo, kingfish, sailfish, and an occasional marlin. When targeting these species, work areas of color and water temperature changes (lines) in 120 feet of water or deeper, and in areas of concentrated floating weeds and debris. In addition, don't forget that kingfish and cobia are present on the near-shore shoals, reefs and wrecks like Bethel Shoals, Pelican Flats, Chris Benson, and 8A reefs.

    On the lagoon flats, redfish and spotted sea trout will provide the majority of the action for light tackle and fly anglers. For sea trout, fish your favorite top-water plugs at first light in about two feet of water concentrating in areas were bait is present. After the morning top-water bite fades, switch to your favorite soft plastic jig fished in three to five feet of water alone the edges of flats or spoil islands. The water has warmed to the point where the jack crevalle, ladyfish, snook, and tarpon will begin to show up in good numbers. In addition, there is a huge showing of finger mullet this season, so it's time to break out your DOA Bait Busters. Schooling redfish and other predators find the Bait Busters difficult to resist when retrieved quickly just under the surface of the water in areas of concentrated mullet schools. Remember when using the technique; keep your lure moving until you feel the fish on the line.

    As always, if you have any questions or need information, please contact me. Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
    407-416-1187
    www.irl-fishing.com


  • 05/01/2017 4:56 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Prime Time
    by
    Captain Michael Manis 

    After months of working low tides around creeks and adjacent shorelines, it’s time to go tarpon fishing.  Now, that doesn’t mean it’s not a great month to hunt redfish and snook.  In fact, because of all the options, May is one of my favorite months to be on the water.  As for tarpon, they typically begin showing up first in the upper harbor between the West Wall and Punta Gorda. These are resident fish that come out of the rivers and generally eat pretty well. 

    A free lined live bait or big piece of cut mullet work well. Moreover, If you can get out early and see them rolling, they’ll take a fly. A big Puglisi Peanut Butter pattern in black and purple or black and red are two of my favorites. I’ve had my best luck throwing a clear tip intermediate sink tip line. It won’t be too long after these fish show that the migratory fish coming up from the keys begin to filter through Pine Island Sound and Boca Grande Pass and should start staging up anywhere between Cape Haze Point and the hill just inside Boca Grande Pass. These fish can be fished just the same as the river fish; although, small live blue crabs are a great bait for this bunch.

    Because of tarpon fever, the backcountry sees less pressure and this provides a great opportunity to get in some redfish and snook fishing. Particularly, first thing in the morning, you could find yourself with a flat or shoreline all to yourself.  This month, I like to look for redfish from the south end of the West Wall all the way around Cape Haze Point and into the entry shorelines leading into Turtle Bay. For snook, the east side of Charlotte Harbor is one of my favorite areas. I like the cuts and outer shorelines north of Matlacha as well as those north of Pirate Harbor.

    May is going to fly by and they’re just too many options. Therefore, I like to hunt for tarpon first thing in the morning then maybe hit a shoreline or two in the afternoon looking for redfish. Because, the harbor spots where I’ll look for tarpon are in close proximity to some of my favorite shorelines, this can be done without burning too much fuel. Lastly, whether in the harbor, on the beach, or on a flat, don’t be surprised if you see a big school of jacks, a cobia, or one of the many sharks that are scattered throughout the area. Keep an eye out for birds and have a rod ready.

    Until next month, good tides.

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    (941) 628-7895
    mike@puntagordaflycharters.com
    www.puntagordaflycharters.com

  • 04/04/2017 11:29 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Full Spring Transition
    by Captain Michael Manis

    This month begins what’s considered the beginning of some of our best fishing. Springtime is always a great time to be on the water as the water temperature is warming but the air temperature’s still comfortable. It’s transition time as some of our favorite game fish are on the move and are looking to eat after the slim pickings of winter. With this winter producing moderate temperatures, it’s really not surprising that what we like to call “spring fishing” began a bit early and the patterns that I like to start working around April have been in full gear since last month.  

    I’ll typically make my way out of backcountry creek systems and start to work more open water. I’ll stick close to outside shorelines but it’s not unusual to find both redfish and snook holding off the shoreline. On more than one occasion, I’ve found myself poling tight to the mangroves while spotting fish moving off from outside the boat. Moreover, these were always the larger fish.

    This is the case throughout the bays and sounds that border Charlotte Harbor. Now, I like working the east side and spend as much time as I can from Pirate Harbor down to Matlacha. There is plenty of shoreline and lots of deep cuts with good current.  The West Wall should also fish well and I’ve had lots of good days inside Turtle Bay. Keep in mind, it will probably remain windy this month and I realize it’s more comfortable fishing a lee shoreline. However, I’ve had some of my best days working the windy shoreline as the wind and waves were pushing bait up onto the shoreline and snook, redfish, and trout all seemed to be staged up and waiting.

    If you find yourself on the East or West Wall and are looking for a change of pace, don’t hesitate to drop off the bar and spend some time casting for cobia. Pompano are still around and the hard bottom just off Cape Haze is one of the best spots around. In the same area, small black tip sharks can be found all along the entire bar that runs from Cape Haze Point to Cayo Pelau at the base of Gasparilla Sound. 

    Spanish mackerel should be scattered all over the harbor. The easiest way to find one of these schools is to find the birds. Lastly, keep an eye out for tarpon. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the upper harbor around the ladyfish and spanish mackerel.

    Until next month, good tides,

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters
    (941) 628-7895
    mike@puntagordaflycharters.com
    www.puntagordaflycharters.com


  • 04/04/2017 11:18 AM | FGA (Administrator)

    Tarpon Time
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

         Spring has now sprung, which means fishing will be good down here in Southwest Florida. This is a magical time for anglers as bait becomes plentiful and so do the fishing options. For guides, additional species become selected targets as bait schools push their way north along our beaches and backcountry waters. This is a great time of the year for anglers since options ranging from tarpon, permit, cobia, and tripletail become active in our nearshore waters while snook, redfish, trout, and big jacks can be pursued in the backcountry as well as along our beaches. Shark fishing begins picking up as well, and the reason is clear -- the larger game fish species that the sharks prefer to prey upon start to move in with the spring weather.

         Tarpon, perhaps what we are best known for in Southwest Florida, begin spawning and can be found in large schools patrolling along our beaches and nearshore waters. We will catch plenty of these silver kings using a variety of baits both live and artificial. This can mean catching fish up to 150 pounds regularly. Tarpon will be in town spawning until around mid-June, when they begin to spread back out up and down the coast. The cool part about being down here in Fort Myers is we have them through December, and in another month or so, we will get a large push of juvenile tarpon as well.

         Snook fishing becomes one of my favorite targets during this time of the year as more and more anglers pursue tarpon, leaving areas holding snook less pressured. Snook begin to patrol the beaches, passes, and rivers stalking schools of sardines, threadfin, and mullet. There are many ways of catching these linesiders, from sight fishing to enticing them of off our local wrecks. Your best bet is live bait; however, artificial, flies, and cut baits all work. I usually use a medium heavy fast action rod with 20# braid, 30# fluorocarbon leader, and a 2/0 circle hook for most snook, until I start seeing fish above the 34” mark. For big snook, you’ll need to bump up the rod, line, leader, and hook size accordingly.

         Redfish, trout, pompano, and mangrove snapper are just a few of the other inshore species that we target a lot during the spring months. As most guides do, we cater to what our clients want, so if it’s about numbers and action these species can keep you busy for most of the trip. Not to mention some folks just aren’t up for 30-40 minute fights and prefer something a little less tiring.

         Permit schools begin rolling into town, and if you’re lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, it can be quite an experience. Permit love dining on crabs, but will eat shrimp and clams as well as any other crustaceans that are around. When targeting permit, it is best to move quietly preferably on a trolling motor while paying close attention to what’s happening on the surface as well as on your depth finder. Permit in these waters can be up to 30 pounds and have excellent eyesight. When you target this species, be sure to have a reel that can handle long runs and can hold at least 400 yards of line.

    Tight lines,

    Capt Greg Stamper
    Snook Stamp Charters
    239-313-1764


  • 04/04/2017 9:54 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    April should be fantastic
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    As March blows out of the area, you can still plan on some windy days ahead in April. The transition into the summer pattern is well under way and soon the winds will die down and you can enjoy those calm days of summer once again. Expect the fishing to be especially good this April as water temperatures warm up and spring takes over the area. March was a little warmer this year and the fishing has been good. As the river fills with bait schools, you can bet the fish are hungry and will be feeding heavily. Have fun!

    Redfish and trout will become more active around the flats. They will be shallow early and gradually move to the edges of the flats as the sun get higher in the sky. Look to areas like Bear Point, Harbor Branch and Round Island for trout to be feeding on the flats. On a calm morning, break out the top water lures and switch to jerk baits, like a DOA CAL 4” Arkansas Glow or Watermelon. Shallow running Mirrolures will also entice the trout into biting. Don’t forget to use the Deadly Combo or CAL Airhead for more exciting trout action on the grass flats. There has been a lot of redfish activity throughout March and it should make April a fantastic month. Redfish can be found on sandy flats around the docks or try the Moorings and Bear Point for a chance at a nice size red. DOA shrimp or CAL grub tails in root beer or glow colors are great ways to find a redfish along with a trusty gold spoon. 

    The snook season has my anglers out seeking that slot fish this year. The bite has been good around the inlets and will improve on the flats as well. Snook season will close May 31st so you still have time to find that slot fish. We have had good luck with the DOA TerrorEyz on snook this winter. Docks will hold sheepshead, jacks, redfish and many other species. I like either a DOA shrimp or TerrorEyz around docks. Fish them slowly to keep them under the dock as long as possible. Drop a live shrimp or pinfish under a dock as well for a great chance at hooking up. There are many great areas to fish so plan on getting some fishing in this month. 

    Bridges will continue to hold sheephead, jacks, bluefish and some black drum. The big jacks will be invading the river this month. They are not great to eat, but provide a tough battle on light tackle. Ladyfish will be all over the river and keep the kids smiling. The inlet will continue to hold bluefish, jacks and mackerel. While April might be a little windy, it is still a great month to fish the Indian River. 

    April is the first month that fish can enjoy all the many baitfish schools and they will be feeding heavily on the schools around the flats. The water has already been warming up and you can see the changes in the bite already. Early morning can bring lots of good results this time of year. It was a warm winter this year and the fish are anxious to enjoy the arrival of the bait schools…..and so are we!


  • 04/04/2017 9:40 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Time for migrating fish
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    I can't help but get excited about the many different angling opportunities spring brings to the Indian River Coast of Florida. I'm always grateful and blessed to live, breath, and fish on the east central coast of Florida, and with the windy March behind us, I'm ready to set the hook.

    Some of highlights of fishing on Florida's east central coast during the spring are: the weather is still cool and enjoyable, and as the waters warm up the fish begin to shift into their feeding mood. Some examples of this behavior are the cobia moving north up the coast, and the spotted sea trout moving into their traditional spawning areas on the inshore flats. Like many saltwater species, the cobia and sea trout spawn in aggregations or groups, not on beds. In the case of the cobia, 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 are currently experiencing. 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 around the beginning of the first new moon or full moon in April, and then again on the new and full moons throughout the summer.

    On the lagoon flats, fish inthe 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. April is the month when sea trout become egg laden for the spawn, so it's very important to handle and release the larger females with great care.  Water levels on the Mosquito Lagoon remain very low with clear conditions and both redfish and black drum fishing should remain good as long as the clear conditions last.

    Offshore, April marks the beginning of the fishing season for most blue water anglers. It represents the start of the April/May northern migration of dolphin in deeper water, 120 feet and beyond and usually brings in some of the largest bulls taken all year. April also marks the beginning of the Easter kingfish run on the near-shore reef outside Port Canaveral. It's the time of year when most of the larger kings, 30 to 50 pounds, are taken off 8A Reef, and Pelican Flats.

    Moving in near-shore, tripletail should become more dependable, and look for late season cobia as well. The cobia run thus far has been so so; 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 underneath.

    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.

    In the freshwater lakes and rivers, largemouth and striped bass action has will heat up on the St Johns River. Look for schooling bass at first light feeding on treadfin shad from the Osteen Bridge to Lake Harney. My favorite locations are in the river bends near the power lines at Lemon Bluff and at the south end of Lake Harney were the St Johns Riiver dumps in.

     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 most swim plugs, and small live shiners. Also, several years back we caught southern flounder in Lake Harney fishing treadfin shad on the bottom under the schooling bass. 

    Also, spring is the time of year the larger catfish move up the river and into the creeks following the rising water. I know to most, they’re not a glamour species, but try telling my good friend Mike Murray that. Lastly, the bluegill and brim will be spawning soon on the lakes, so look for popping bug fly fishing to heat up in our local Central Florida lakes.

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

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
    www.irl-fishing.com
    (407) 416-1187 on the water

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