If you like catching, come now!
by Capt. Greg Stamper
June is such a great month to fish, especially with great weather. The inshore and back bays continue to produce snook, redfish, and trout very consistently as well as some other great bi-catch. Nearshore will be a tarpon, permit, and cobia gig, as well as some surprises. Finally, those taking the long runs offshore will have grouper, snappers, tuna, and more. June typically begins our summer rains that will occur sometimes in the early morning hours, but certainly in the late afternoons. Tides that used to be low in the early mornings, do not happen anymore. You can bank on higher water in general for many months to come.
Snook are in their spawning, moving along our beaches, definitely in the major passes, and nearshore wrecks regularly now. Redfish early in the morning using topwater lures is my go too, but do not discount jerk baits the first few hours of light as they certainly will get their attention. When my arm gets sore, I will then go with the spreads for reds approach. This tactic is plainly throwing several baits out and just leaving them be if they are close to structure. Trout can be found on all the grass flats now usually in two to five feet of water. Popping corks with a DOA shrimp under them works fine and is easy for customers to do.
The nearshore waters are still all about tarpon. There are schools of fish piled up from Naples all the way to Tampa. The best bet is going to be fishing for tarpon on the strong moving water for the next few months. Sometimes you can still get lucky with fish that can breathe air, but I’d go with the stronger tide times regardless. If tarpon is not your thing, you can always go out to the wrecks and catch permit and a possible cobia when conditions are right. Crabs will be the best bet for the permit using as much leader as castable and a 2/o circle hook. There will be other opportunities in the 20-to-50-foot range for snappers, triggerfish, flounder, and even pompano as your bi-catch.
Those taking the long runs out to the 100-foot mark or further, will have options. Red snappers now come into play and always check your regulations to make sure you’re on the up and up. Red grouper, amberjacks, multiple types of snappers, and porgies will be just some of the other bycatch. Red Snapper fishing should be open mid-month, and that is going to get many anglers out deeper into the 140-foot-plus range. Using shrimp, pinfish, squid, or grunts are just a few of the typical baits that will be used, but flutter jigs will also work as a bait-less offering. Depending on how strong the tide is out there will dictate whether you will anchor or drift during these times.
Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper
Fort Myers Beach