Fishing: Goliath grouper getting reeled inGulf of Mexico

When it comes to shark fishing, water depths of 30 to 50 feet are often full of adult blacktip sharks, big sandbars, and big bulls.

It's also the season for the spring mackerel run, so set your targets for Spanish and kings. This fun fishery usually settles in as the month progresses.

Fish on nearshore artificial reefs for mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, and cobia. The occasional Goliath grouper will keep things interesting.

Permit will also be arriving in numbers on these sites this month. Further offshore, in water starting at about 65 feet deep, mixed bag bottom fishing for red grouper, lane snapper, porgys and other reef fish is typically good.

Check for specifics of the opening of Amberjack season. These hard-pulling fish are usually swirling around wrecks and reefs starting in about 75 feet of water.


Charlotte Harbor

Capt. Ralph Allen w/SnookMay historically marks the beginning of the southwest Florida tarpon season, to the excitement of many an angler. Boca Grande Pass rightfully gets a ton of attention since it is the center of the tarpon fishing universe, but southwest Florida anglers are lucky to be able to find tarpon in many parts of the estuary. It’s also cool that tarpon can be caught in a variety of ways as they are found in the Gulf passes, in the deep holes mid-harbor, under bridges, and in the river mouths.

Catch-and-release snook fishing heats up in the spring as well, and May often offers some of the best snook action of the year as these fish go into a pre-spawn feeding mode.

Life blossoms on the flats all around the estuary, so fishing with shrimp over beds of sea grass is usually good way to stay busy with a mix of trout, ladyfish, jacks, Spanish mackerel, cobia, bonnethead sharks, and possibly a stray bluefish or pompano.