Gulf of Mexico
Red grouper fishing stays good right on through the summer. Look for these fat fish on flat limestone bottom in 60 to 100 feet of water, and expect to catch lane snapper, porgys and vermilion snapper there, too. The “other” popular grouper in this region is gag. Sometimes red grouper and gag are caught together, but gags are more likely than red grouper to be found on ledges or wrecks. During the summer, gags are more likely to be found in deeper water than red grouper. If you’re fishing in more than about 130 feet of water, you may also find red snapper, and the recreational season on them is open until July 29, unless it's closed early by Federal fishery managers (stay tuned!). Bottom fish aren't the only game in town this month. Barracuda, sharks and a few smoker kings are holding over wrecks and artificial reefs. And don’t be surprised if you see dolphin (mahi-mahi) under your boat since this is the most likely time of year for these fish to pay a visit to Southwest Florida. Sometimes we see them in as little as 60 feet of water or even shallower, but they’re more common in water depths over 100 feet.
Trout fishing in Charlotte Harbor opened June 1, after a closure of nearly three years. As you’d guess the trout population in the harbor improved while they were protected and we are now seeing more larger-sized trout. It’s also tarpon time in the dark inshore waters of Charlotte Harbor. Sultry, windless summer days are perfect for spotting tarpon as they roll on the surface. This inshore tarpon fishing in Charlotte Harbor will continue all summer and into early fall. The mid-harbor 20 foot holes, the mouth of the Myakka River, and the north end of Matlacha Pass are all worth a look. Shark fishing has been decent this summer. Blacktips, blacknoses, Atlantic sharpnoses, hammerheads and bonnetheads have been holding in the deep holes, but will move “downstream” as summer rains push fresh water into the harbor. This means the saltier water between Cape Haze Point and Boca Grande will be better for sharks for the rest of the summer. Snook have been on out the Gulf beaches and under docks along the ICW, with some fish scattered all through the bay. Summer fishing for mangrove snapper is cranking up and good numbers of table-sized fish can be found in canals and creeks, at the artificial reefs, and under some of the bridges.