fishing Forecast

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  • 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.



    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.


    Capt. Dave Pecci
    Obsession Sportfishing Charters
    Charlotte Harbor, Boca Grande, Pine Island Sound
    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
    407-416-1187 on the water

  • 02/23/2016 11:33 PM | Anonymous

    Warm water moves fish shallow
    By Captain Charlie Conner 

    March has arrived on the Treasure Coast and, traditionally, we can expect windy conditions along with some rain clouds most days.   It might dictate where and when you can get on the water, but at least we aren't cutting holes in the ice to fish!  Water temperatures will continue to rise and the fish will be actively feeding on the flats.  Winter was a little cooler and windier for us in February.  March brings the transition into Spring and things will warm up again. Take advantage of the good days and get out fishing soon!

    Conners-MarchPhoto As the sun warms up the water again, look for fish to travel into the shallows to feed. Trout will continue to be most prevalent in the deeper grass flats in two to four feet of water. Those anglers using live shrimp on popping corks, Deadly Combos, CAL jerk baits and top water will have the best chance at hooking up with a trout. I like to fish the edges of the shallows where the water drops off to these depths. You can find trout in four to six feet of water and they will move onto the shallower flats to let the sun warm them as the day goes on. Depending on weather conditions, there are many areas to fish.  Round Island, Bear Point and Harbor Branch are always popular to fish in March. 

    Redfish will get more active this month and you can find some tailing on the flats in early mornings.  Top water, DOA shrimp, CAL grub tails or gold spoons are good choices for finding a spot tail on the flats.  Don't forget to fish around the mangroves also.  So far this winter, there has continued to be a good redfish population around the river and the fishing has been fantastic for them. I tend to like the east side of the river for redfish, but you can find them on the west side also.  Work your baits slowly along the bottom for best results.  This has been a good winter to allow us to enjoy a terrific redfish bite around the docks and mangroves with nice sized slot fish.  Learn to read the water so you don’t miss what is happening around you.

    Anglers will continue to target snook around the inlets, docks and bridges on the Treasure Coast.  Live bait always works best, but feather jigs, TerrorEyz and DOA Bait Busters can also get you hooked up. Most of the action will be at night with best results on the high ends of the tides. As the water warms up around the area, the snook action will liven up also. Those fishing the flats can also find snook feeding early or late in the day. Fish the mangroves during the rest of the 
    day. There has been a very good juvenile snook population on the flats this year.  Top water, twitch baits, TerrorEyz or CAL jerk baits can do the trick in March on the flats. 

    The pompano bite has been better this year with the cooler weather bringing them into the area.  Whiting, Bluefish and pompano will be hanging around the beaches this month. The inlet will be holding Spanish mackerel, jacks and bluefish. Jack Crevalle and ladyfish continue to haunt the river and provide fun catch for all. Bridges should give up catches of sand perch, sheepshead and black drum on live or dead shrimp. 

    Spring is just around the corner on the Treasure Coast.  It won't be long!  Take some time to check all your equipment now and be ready as the weather improves to get out on the water. Make sure your reels are in good working order.  Check your rods for broken or cracked tips and guides. How old in that line??  Get ready now on some of these windy days ahead, so you will be ready to head out to the water soon!  Have a great March in 2016! 

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

    Good Fishing and Be Safe, 
    Captain Charlie Conner 

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