Last week's back to back cold fronts are behind us. The tarpon have returned to the beaches of Boca Grande and Captiva. Jerry did a great job hooking and getting his 75 pound tarpon to the boat on a live crab. Click read more for additional pictures. Video coming soon.
We saw this redfish rush the fly and eat in 12" of water. Paul caught it on a 9wt. Orvis Helios H2 rod and one of my whitebait flies.
Doug Bates from New Hampshire joined me for some snook sight casting in Bull and Turtle Bay in Charlotte Harbor. Water temps in the low 80's made the snook a bit sulky but we persevered. Caught em on Doug's 8wt TFO rod and one of his white and black deceivers.
I'm sorry but it hard to justify the cost of a Micro Power Pole. They are half the price of those full size ones you see on bay boats but still they're $700 plus installation - Really?...
Problem #1- About 75% of the spots I like to stake up here on Charlotte Harbor for sea trour, redfish and snook are hard packed limestone sand or oysters. You just can't poke a push pole into that stuff.
Problem #2 - An anchor really tears up grass flats and oysters beds.
This makes a power pole pretty appealing for sure but I'm cheap.
Here's my $90 alternative. A 7 foot Stick It stake out pin from Fishin Franks and two $3.00 nylon fairleads from the Marine Trading Post. Stick It makes a really nice mount for $150, but I like $6.00 much better and I finally have a use for the rear trolling motor mount that came with the skiff.
Yeh, I do have to take two steps across the aft casting deck to deploy the pin rather than pushing on a cool remote control. When not in use, it stows perfectly in the Redfisher's rod rack. Works just fine for me and there's $600 left in the checkbook.
Charlotte Harbor is Florida’s second largest estuary encompassing 270 square miles. Over 80% of its shoreline is preserved land. There are more than 15 boat ramps and many kayak access point on the Harbor providing easy access to great fishing.
May light tackle and fly action: May is all about tarpon. The spawning migration has started and there have a few tarpon being caught in the Sounds, Passes and along beaches the past two weeks. By mid-month the fishing will be in high gear. The back country waters are in the low to mid 80s so the best fishing will be early and late in the day. Mid-day will provide lots of lookers and refusals unless you’re pitching bait. The large snook are moving their way to the beaches and the sounds.
Conditions: We are settling into our early summer weather patterns with offshore winds early switching to sea breezes in the afternoons. Water temps will be in the low to mid 80s. April was very dry so the salinity in the lower harbor and the sounds are average or slightly above. The upper harbor fishing has slowed somewhat do the warm weather and lack of rain. Greatly reduced Lake Okeechobee discharges into the Caloosahatchee River has improved the water quality in lower Pine Island Sound.
Bait the fish are feeding on: shrimp, crabs, pinfish, ladyfish. Some whitebait in Matlacha Pass, upper Pine Island Sound, Gasparilla sound and on Bokeelia Shoals. There’s lots of threadfins and greeenbacks on the beaches.
May Fishing Tactics: The back country; with the warm and dry conditions fishing becomes an early morning game. Go early fish the moving water near the mangroves until the sun gets up. As soon as it gets bright shift you attention to deeper cuts between islands and keys and the depressions in the mangrove creek mouths. The deeper edges of grass flats will hold sea trout throughout May.
My April Fly Fishing Tip: Many of my clients want to fly fishing for tarpon in May. I carry two set ups on the boat for them. A floating line with a suspending fly for the fish coming over the shallow bars and a sink tip line with a weighted fly for when the fish are laid up or doing daisy chains in deeper water. prespawn tarpon can be finicky, the fly placement is key. Many times they will only move a few inches to eat.
My April Light Tackle Tip: Don’t get in a rut using a particular tarpon bait. Crabs are wonderful bait but if you are getting refused show them something else. Pinfish, whitebait, cut ladyfish, sail cat tails, even shrimp can turn on the finickiest tarpon.
Species to fish for this month: Tarpon, Snook Redfish, Spotted Seatrout.