fishing Forecast

  • 09/01/2020 8:05 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Fish Top Water Earlyby Capt. Charlie Conner

    With COVID-19 still affecting the Treasure Coast, more people have turned to fishing to get out of the house. August was a super-hot month! September will continue to be warm, but the fishing is always exciting. It’s a great time of year to target tarpon, snook and redfish around the Treasure Coast.

    Lots of bait has arrived in the area and the predators are chasing it both in the river and on the beach. Water temperatures will continue to be warm. Temps have been in the upper 80’s lately. It is always best to fish early or late in the day. The fall mullet run begins this month and that will bring exciting action to the area. I love fishing in September!

    Fish the shallow water early. Look for redfish around docks and mangroves this month. They like the shade these areas offer, and you can get a nice redfish fishing live bait, DOA shrimp and CAL grub tails. The trout bite improved this year and you can find some nice fish around Bear Point, Harbor Branch or Round Island flats. Fish top water early and switch to DOA shrimp or CAL jerk baits as the sun warms up.

    Snook season opens again on September 1st. Live bait, DOA Terror Eyz and assorted other favorites used around jetties, bridges and sea walls can get you hooked up to that slot fish. Make sure you are prepared for the season and check your equipment. It’s always good to check your license and snook stamp, too.

    Fish the bait schools! It's easy to spot the bait this time of year. The fall mullet run is going on strong in September. If you do not find bait around your favorite fishing spot, you will most likely not find many fish there. Move around if you need to find active bait. Fish love this time of year and they are out there gorging themselves on the bait in anticipation of the coming winter months. Water temperatures will begin to mellow out and will get back to normal. It's a great time of year to be fishing!

    Remember, fishing is not just another's an ADVENTURE!

    Good Fishing and be Safe,
    Captain Charlie Conner

  • 09/01/2020 8:01 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Small changes in the airby Captain Michael Manis

    Even though it may still feel like summer, the harbor and surrounding bays are beginning to transition. For the most part, rain accumulation and somewhat cooler overnight temperatures will combine to drop water temperatures just enough to get the fish moving. However, it’s still warm enough that most of our snook and redfish will remain on the outside shorelines and adjacent bar systems along the harbor’s perimeter. In particular, areas adjacent to creek mouths and deeper cuts should be most productive. In addition, it’s not unusual to find baby tarpon, five to ten pounds, in the same areas.

    Furthermore, redfish are grouping up as their spawn, which runs from August to Mid-November, begins to peak this month. Too, snook are at the end of their spawn and should be looking to put on weight. Keep in mind, water temperatures are still warm enough that careful handling is important when releasing all these gamefish. Keep them as wet as possible before taking them out of the water for a quick picture. Remember, every second they’re out of the water is the same as your head being under water.

    Out of Punta Gorda, the shoreline and bar system that runs from Ponce Park all the way to Alligator Creek can fish well. A bit further south, the first or second sets of islands inside and including the bar down towards Pirate Harbor can be good. Down below Burnt Store, from Big Dead Creek to Buzzard Bay is one of my favorite areas. Here, the proximity to Matlacha Pass ensures good current flow.

    Across the harbor, there are some good creek systems along the west wall that are worth exploring. Because of the deeper cut and current flow, the southern end where the wall meets Cape Haze Point is a good spot. A bit further west, the Catfish Creek area includes quite a number of drainages that flow into Gasparilla Sound. Here, the bar system that also borders the intracoastal waterway with it’s clean oxygenated water provides for a real healthy  habitat.

    Just like last month, there are tarpon scattered throughout the upper harbor. The bigger fish are in the deeper holes and around the U.S. 41 and Myakka bridges. Smaller fish can be found outside the perimeter canals of Punta Gorda Isles. Particularly with the smaller fish, early is better as they tend to disappear when the sun gets too high about 9:00 a.m. Also, keep an eye out for black drum schools around these perimeter canals.

    Until next month, good tides.

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters

  • 07/29/2020 11:40 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Beach Bite Good
    by Captain Tom Van Horn

    The heat is on, as fishing opportunities kick in along the Indian River Lagoon Coast of Florida. Looks like its going to be an active season for summer squalls, but as long as they stay away fishing along the beaches and in the inlets will remain equally as hot.

    Along the beach, look for the silver kings (tarpon), smoker kings, blacktip sharks, jumbo jack crevalle, and redfish to be shadowing pods of Atlantic menhaden (pogies), threadfin herring (greenies), Spanish sardines, and bay anchovy (glass minnows) in close to the beach.

    Also look for snook fishing in the surf to improve, as we get closer to the commencement of the fall bait run. Remember snook are out of season until September 1st , so if you target them, please handle and release them with care. In and around the inlets, look for Spanish mackerel, tarpon, jack cervalle, and bonita to be working schools of glass minnows on the outside, and snook, redfish, mangrove snapper, and flounder in the area of jetties and other structure. If snook are of interest, Sebastian Inlet is the place to be.

    The Labrador current (cold water upwelling) as it's known is still holding off this year, but when it arrives it will cool down bottom temperatures and the bottom fishing in some areas along Florida's east coast. With average bottom water temperatures in the mid-sixties, finding warmer water is the key to locating fish.

    Studies have shown the phenomena is actually the effect of a prevailing south wind combined with the Coriolis effect pushing the warm surface water offshore and the cold bottom water moving up to replace displaced water, but either way it equates to some tough fishing at times. Look for the blue water bite to improve along the inshore reefs and wrecks of Chris Benson, 8A Reef, and Pelican Flats, with kingfish, dolphin, black fin tuna, and cobia serving as the primary species, along with an occasional wahoo or sailfish.

    This is also the time of year when cooler waters sometimes push the giant manta rays in close to the shoals off the Cape, bringing cobia with them. Further off shore, the Gulf Stream typically moves in closer making tuna a possibility for smaller boats, and as long as the summer squalls stay away, running to the other side of the stream isn't out of the question.

    Angling on the in-shore lagoons will continue to show improvement, with fishing in the predawn and late evening hours being most productive. Look for redfish in the skinny water up close to the shoreline holding in the vicinity of bait concentration, and target them utilizing smaller top-water plugs.

    Once the sun starts to grow hot, the top-water bite slows down, and bait becomes your better option. For larger trout, fish live pigfish in close to docks and other structure adjacent to deeper water. In deeper water, look for large schools of ladyfish, small trout, and tarpon pushing schools of glass minnows near the surface.

    Last but not least, look for pompano schools holding in the shadows of the causeway bridges. Fish jigs tipped with shrimp or sand fleas (mole crabs) along the deeper edges and drop-offs. Lagoon water levels are extremely low, so please use caution when accessing skinny water.

    In closing, I would like to thank all of you who enjoy angling on Florida's east central coast for your courteous and respectful treatment of the resource, other anglers, and the sport, and as always, if you need information or have questions, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing, 

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    407-416-1187 on the water
    Book a charter at  and let's go fishing.

  • 07/28/2020 4:33 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Early works best!
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    So here we are smack dab in the middle of our Summer. I’ll give you the forecast for the entire month, Partly cloudy with a 60% percent chance of rain and highs in the low 90’s. Of course, the feels like temperature will hover from ninety in the morning to the low hundreds in the afternoon. With this said the early bird gets the worm this month, as well as those fishing the dock lights and bridges at night.

    Expect a lot of good fishing in our back bays and estuaries all month. The key is being out usually before sunrise hitting those fishing holes till about 10am. We have got a full moon in the beginning of the month so as it wans out the mid month tides should produce fantastic morning and nighttime tides. Those anglers that choose to fish during the day, drink lots of fluids and pick strong tides to fish, otherwise it will be tough.

    Snook fishing along the beaches will be good through August as lots of schools of white bait will be moving up and down them all month. Anglers that plan the trips based on Easterly winds will have the most fun, as they will be sight fishing often. Tarpon will also be found along the beaches, sometimes able to be caught by land anglers. Trout, mackerel, ladyfish, redfish, and jacks should round out your bycatch. 

    Those going out deep this month will probably be in a bit closer than last as red snapper fishing season is now over. Those that do get out past 120 feet will target groupers, an assortment of snappers, as well as the occasional tunas and mahis. There has been a few sightings of sailfish as well as wahoo as of late so be ready for either as when the chance comes, you’ll have to be ready.

    Nearshore anglers continue to chase tarpon around from 12-45 feet of water. These schools have spawned already so they should be hungry when you find them. Threadfin herring, catfish tails, crabs, and even pinfish will work well. Typically, I will use 50# leader and 5/o circle hooks either free lined or corked. Permit reports have been good for those that are getting out past 40 feet. The wrecks that have been inside of that mark do have them, just not as prevalent. Barracudas, mackerel, bonito, and goliath groupers will typically be found in the same areas. 

    Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper Fort Myers beach, Fl

  • 07/28/2020 4:30 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Sunscreen and hydration are most important for August fishing
    by Captain Charlie Conner

    With things still in chaos from the COVID-19, who knows what will happen the rest of the year. The dog days of August have arrived on Treasure Coast and rest assured it will be HOT! Make sure you take the usual precautions of sunscreen and hydration when outside this time of year. Lobster season will be the most anticipated event this month and it will certainly not be the usual start this year. Look for afternoon thunderstorms and plan your fishing for early mornings or late evenings for best results. Enjoy fishing in August!

    Redfish, trout, and snapper will be the best opportunities this month. Get your favorite top water lures ready for some good trout action on the flats. Follow up with a DOA CAL jerk bait as the sun rises on a light jig head. Water quality has been good so far this year and you can find plenty of grass flats to fish. Harbor Branch, Queen’s Cove and Bear Point have all been productive so far this year. Look for snapper and redfish around docks and mangroves. Live bait or a DOA shrimp can help you find a nice slot redfish in August. It has been a good summer for redfish already.

    Watch for tarpon moving into the river along with many other species. Look around the turning basin for the tarpon action with live bait or a DOA Terror Eyz. Snook will be active around the jetties and bridges. Channel edges will be active with snapper and sheepshead. The glass minnow schools will be moving into the area this month and it will bring a host of hungry predators chasing them. Lots exciting action awaits Treasure Coast anglers this month!

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

    Good Fishing,
    Captain Charlie Conner

  • 07/28/2020 4:25 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Fish early 
    by Captain Michael Manis

    As we enter the peak of summer heat and humidity it might seem like our options are limited. However, there are some decent opportunities as long as you’re prepared to get up early and be on the water before sunrise. Typically, the flat calm conditions make the boat ride worthwhile. Most days, plan on being back for lunch.

    The temptation to look for tarpon at first light in the upper harbor is tough to resist. From the 20 foot hole off the west wall up to the U.S. 41 and Myakka Bridges is the place to look. Even better, this is a short boat ride from any of four ramps: Laishley or Ponce Park in Punta Gorda and El Jobean or the Beach Complex in Port Charlotte. For the most part, it’s so slick calm you can see them rolling from a distance. For sure, this is a great time to fish an artificial bait like a deep running D.O.A. Bait Buster.

    Also, while looking for tarpon keep an eye out around the bridges and outside seawalls in Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte for schools of big black drum. This is the time of year to see them finning just under the surface.

    Closer to the backcountry, I’ll concentrate on outside bar systems and adjacent shorelines. Because of their proximity to deeper water with more oxygen and cooler water a better habitat exists for snook and redfish. Some of my favorite areas on the harbor’s perimeter include the bar that runs from Cape Haze at the lower end of the west wall past Bull Bay and over to Cayou Pelau at the base of Gasparilla Sound.  Also, don’t overlook the southern end of the west wall from Cape Haze Point up past mud cove as this area can fish well on an outgoing tide.

    Across the harbor, the bar system that runs from Mondongo over to Patricio Island at the top of Pine Island Sound is worth a look. Here, the proximity to the intracoastal provides good clean water. Finally, on the east side of the harbor, the bar that runs from Burnt Store south to Matlacha can hold fish.

    If we get some consistent rain, look for tidal creeks along the west wall to fish decent at the top of the outgoing tide. Too, the many small creeks on the east side between Mangrove Point and Alligator Creek are fun to explore during rain periods.

    Until next month, good tides.

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters

  • 06/29/2020 3:23 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    The Heat turns up!
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    And so, it begins. The dog days of Summer are here so stay hydrated.  Usually fishing early in the morning or later in the evening is best this month and next. July temperatures start off in the 80’s and will often hit the upper 90’s. It’ll be a hot few months with high humidity, rainstorms, and lots of sun. Starting early in the morning before the sun comes up is usually a good thing for both the fish and the fisherman.

    Fishing’s good this time of the year especially for snook, tarpon, permit, and redfish. During these hot water months proper catch and release techniques will be important. Keeping your catch in the water before a quick picture is taken, makes a difference.  Reviving your catch well before releasing, will be crucial to the fish’s survival. Remember the waters is hot, has less oxygen, and big fish can get warn out, especially on light tackle.  

    Tides and moving water will be an important piece of the puzzle for July. In general, good water movement between high and low tides is best. Strong morning or evening tides of which we will have about 12 good ones this month, will be the best days. With the real heat starting around lunch time here in Southwest Florida, slow tides or slack tides from noon till the afternoon rains begin, will make for tough fishing. Likewise, after we have the afternoon or evening storms the water cools down a bit, gets more oxygen and fishing in general will be better.

    Snook will be cruising the beaches and passes this month as well as patrolling our wrecks out to about 45 feet. This month and the next three, we will see schools of tarpon, jacks, snook, pompano, and hopefully trout along the beaches from Naples to Boca Grande. There is a good chance even for those fishing on foot to run across all these species. Look for these fish in cuts with good moving water, or in the beach troughs. Those that like the artificial game, just match the hatch and you’ll be fine on spin or fly.

    Those that get offshore during July will have a lot of fun as gag grouper, red snappers, as well as black tuna, Aj’s, and even some African pompano will be out in 120 plus feet of water. The boats that fish closer in from say 75-100 feet will find no problem catching mangrove snappers, yellowtail snappers, lane snappers, and even some porgies to fill their coolers.

    Tight lines Capt. Greg Stamper
    Fort Myers beach 

  • 06/29/2020 3:19 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Look for shade in July.
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    July will certainly be different this year.  Luckily, fishing has been an essential activity and even with the COVID-19 restrictions you can Still enjoy fishing.  It will be a different Fourth of July this year!  Water temperatures are warm so look for docks and mangroves that provide shade to help the fish cope with the hot weather. 

    Docks are usually very productive all year for us.  I like to fish docks and mangroves in July.  Redfish like the shade and a DOA shrimp can help you hook up on a nice red.  Top water lures are good to use early on the flats.  There have been some nice trout this year and it’s a great way to fish for them on the grass flats. Snook season being closed, I generally try not to target them in summer. 

    Bridges will be producing snapper, drum and sheepshead during July. Live or dead shrimp will be hard for them to resist.  There will be larger snapper in the river around structure and along channel edges.  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.  Watch for the glass minnow schools to flood into the river and you will find lots of action surrounding these small baiffish!  Jacks, Spanish mackerel and bonito are a few of the fish that love to feast on the glass minnows.

    I like channel edges for a variety of species as the water temps get into the upper eighties.  Incoming tides will bring in cooler water and that’s a good time to fish!  Try Harbor Branch, Queen’s Cove and Bear Point this month for some good action.  Enjoy fishing in July!

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

    Good Fishing,
    Captain Charlie Conner

  • 06/29/2020 3:15 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Time to set the alarm
    by Captain Michael Manis

    As we approach the height of summer, the combination of midday heat and afternoon thunderstorms put an emphasis on getting out early. Hopefully, realizing that this period provides some of the lightest winds we’ll see all year helps ease some of the pain associated with setting the alarm clock. With the exception of looking for snook in the surf, I’ll typically begin moving off the beaches and into the harbor. Due to water temperatures, I won’t venture too far into the backcountry and will instead spend most of my time around the intracoastal and bar systems on the harbor’s perimeter. Snook and redfish will be moving up and down adjacent shorelines.

    Adjacent to the intracoastal, flats and shorelines on both sides from Stump Pass in Lemon Bay down to the beginning of the idle zone at Placida can be good. On the other side of the Boca Grande Causeway, anywhere from Catfish Creek in Gasparilla Sound down to Useppa Island in northern Pine Island Sounds is worth a look. Inside the harbor, I like bar systems directly affected by tides flushing in from Boca Grande Pass. To the north, the entire bar from Cape Haze Point at the lower end of the west wall to Cayo Pelau at the bottom of Gasparilla Sound can hold some good fish. To the south, the system from Jug Creek to Smokehouse Bay on the northern end of Pine Island can fish well.

    In the heat, spotted sea trout will be lethargic but can provide an early bite. The best bet should be some of the deeper holes in Lemon Bay and Pine Island Sound. Proximity to Gulf passes is key and two to four feet is best.

    Tarpon are still a viable option and look for groups to school up in the deeper holes of the upper harbor as well as the bridges. In particular, the mouth of the Myakka outside the bridge is a good spot and will only get better as we move into August. In addition, smaller juvenile fish should begin showing between the bar and outside shorelines on both the east and west walls.

    Lemon, blacktip, and bull sharks will be scattered throughout the area. The artificial reefs at Cape Haze and Alligator Creek are good spots as is the mouth of Rocky Channel in Pine Island Sound.

    Lastly, the mangrove snapper bite on the hill just inside Boca Grande Pass at about 30 feet can be fun and is a great spot to take the family.

    Until next month, good tides.

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters

  • 06/29/2020 3:08 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Beware afternoon thunderstorms
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    Summer has officially arrived on the Indian River Lagoon coast, as the mid summer doldrums are currently upon us.  It is also the time of year when tropical weather systems and offshore water temperatures are as predictable as Wall Street.   Just when you think you have got things figured out, a summer squall will blow in and kick up the seas, or the cold-water Labrador Current will move in and shut down the seaward bite.  Setting all these possibilities aside, many opportunities for angling adventures exist for us both inshore and offshore of the lagoon coast in July.

    Inshore in the Lagoon during the summer can present outstanding top-water action, with early morning and late evening bite being the most productive times to fish. If you can tolerate the mosquitos, night fishing on the flats and around dock lights can reward you with some very calm and starry nights, bioelimination light shows in the water and outstanding fishing.  Always keep in mind that our Central Florida summer heat can sneak up on you, and keep a close eye on the radar for those sneaky afternoon thunderstorms.

    Near-shore, kingfish will be the staple on the reefs and wrecks in 70 to 90 feet of water, with a mixed bag of three, wahoo, dolphin, and an occasional sailfish, thrown in.  My preferred method for targeting these species is slow trolling live bait (pogies) on steel stinger rigs dresses with King Duster skirts.

    On the Port Canaveral buoy line and along the beaches, an assorted beach bag is available with smoker kings (large king mackerel), silver kings (tarpon), cobia, sharks, and colossal jacks (school busses) all available at any given time.  To target these species, focus your attention in areas of bait concentrations.  This past week some pods of large tarpon and sharks were located between Patrick AFB and Satellite Beach.  As the month progresses, these fish should begin moving north along the beach to their favorite summertime haunt off the bight of the Cape. 

    In closing, lets remember to be patient and respectful to our fellow anglers while enjoying time on the water during our Nation’s birthday, and let us not forget to give thanks to our essential workers and those overseas fighting for our freedom.

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

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn

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