Gulf of Mexico

Fishing: woman holding Crevalle JackThe spring mackerel run is “on” and schools of Spanish mackerel can be found around the passes and offshore bars where they'll be mixed with bluefish, blue runners, ladyfish and jacks.  The action on kings has been off and on, with some of the best action found around areas of hard bottom, wrecks or artificial reefs in 30 to 70 feet of water. There have also been some jumbo bonita (little tunny) mixed in with the kings. Some of the same wrecks and reefs where kings are being caught, including some in as little as 30 feet of water, are also holding fat mangrove snapper and mid-sized permit (10 to 25 pounds)which will take a free-lined crab, and Goliath grouper are starting to bunch up there too for their spring/summer spawn. Bottom fishing for red grouper has been reasonably good with keepers possible in as little as 60 feet of water, but more likely in deeper depths.  No matter what depth you fish, expect to release quite a few undersized red grouper. And if you catch gags, for which the season is still closed until June 1, you’ll need to release them.

 

Charlotte Harbor

Fishing: Close up of the head of a hooked tarpon fish in the waterTarpon have moved into Boca Grande Pass and tarpon fishermen have moved right in with them.  Boca Grande Pass is the most famous tarpon fishing hole on planet Earth during a two-month tarpon season, but it is not the only place in SW Florida to catch tarpon.  Anglers fishing the deep holes in the Charlotte Harbor can catch tarpon without having to work around as many boats, and this fishery is getting underway now. Tarpon action will also be pretty good under the highway bridges at night in both the Peace and Myakka Rivers.  Snook action on the flats has been steady as the fish continue to move out of the rivers and creeks, and there have been snook appearing out on the Gulf beaches. Anglers have also been enjoying fun, mixed-bag action by anchoring mid-harbor, deploying a chum block, and waiting to see who appears.  Spanish mackerel, small sharks (and some not-so-small sharks), and cobia have all been sniffing around chum slicks in recent weeks, providing some really fun fishing on those days when the wind lays down enough to make for comfortable conditions in the open water where this action is found.