Today we fly fished the waters of upper Pine Island Sound and Captiva Island for snook, redfish and seatrout. A passing cold front and neap tides made for a less than perfect bite. but we prevailed and bent the rods on trout and jacks. Not very often you'll see me wearing two shirts and long paints in late April! We'll be back to typical weather and fishing conditions for the rest of the week.
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Charlotte Harbor is 100 miles south of Tampa and 30 miles north of Fort Myers and includes the areas of Boca Grande, Pine Island, Gasparilla Island, Placida, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda. “A tranquil getaway on Florida’s Southwest Gulf Coast and a premier charter fishing destination”.
Charlotte Harbor redfish, snook and sea trout fishing is among the very best in Southwest Florida.
Spring tarpon fishing along the beachfronts is known as the best in the world.
Other sport fish species available; sheepshead, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, cobia, bonito, snapper, grouper and flounder. mangroves, grass flats, canals, beachfronts, passes, and artificial reefs. The fishing and exploring possibilities are endless.
This twenty five mile long, five mile wide Harbor lends itself perfectly to guided light tackle and fly fishing. Sight fishing is exciting along the flats and mangroves of the East Side, Bull Bay, Placida and Gulf Beaches. Blind casting the grass flats of the West Wall, Cape Haze and Turtle Bay is very productive. On windy days the Peace River, Myakka River and endless canals provide shelter and consistent action. There are over ten area boat ramps that make for short runs to productive fishing
Spin fishing Matlacha Pass Wildlife Refuge in Charlotte Harbor is a wondrous experience. Miles of grass flats, acres of oyster beds and light sand flats make for endless fly and light tackle fishing opportunities. Snook, redfish, seatrout, tarpon, jacks snapper to mane just a few speicies call Matlacha home. The waters are a bit challenging to navigate due to the meandering channels and oyster beds. But after a few trips you’ll be able to get to prime fishing spots in no time.
What’s biting: Snook, Redfish, Seatrout and Jacks.
Gear Used: light tackle spin fishing and fly fishing.
Conditions: The weather fronts are becoming weaker as we move further into Spring. Bait is becoming more plentiful and water levels in the upper Charlotte Harbor are improving.
Technics that are working: If clouds or water conditions keep you from sight fishing you can blind cast to edges and potholes around the grass flats for redfish and sea trout. On the warmer days, try fly fishing the back country. Make your presentations tight to the mangroves. The snook and redfish will be there escaping the heat. When fly fishing after a passing cold front switch to a sinking intermediate or sink tip line and fish the deeper channels and holes using weighted flies.
Tip: I have never met an oyster bed I didn't like. It's worth a few snagged flies to explore them. There are many of these beds in Pine Island Sound to explore.
Outlook: The exiting cold front will give way to light east and southeast winds. The water will continue to warm ushering the first of the 2014 tarpon run. Watch for them at the passes and of Boca Grande and Captiva.
Obsession Charters Fishing Report Friday, April 11, 2014
Big winds early in the week and rain on Tuesday stirred things up in Pine Island Sound and Gasparilla Sound. Monday we fished light tackle the mangroves along East Wall of Charlotte Harbor from Punta Gorda to Burt Store Marina escaping the 20-25MPH SW winds. Cloudy water and a drop in temperature after the front passed put the Sea Trout and Redfish into deep water. Patience and constantly changing up flies and lures did produce some fish. Surprisingly, the snook stayed on the flats and we were able to sight fish to them every day we were out. The wind shifted to ESE on Friday allowing more moving water on the incoming tides in the cuts of Turtle and Bull Bay. Some of the live bait fishers were seeing some action after a couple days of lockjaw.
The tarpon migration has been slow to start due to the endless fronts pushing through Charlotte Harbor and Boca Grande. There have been a few rolling and laid up tarpon spotted in Pine Island Sound and near the Passes at Captiva and Gasparilla so things are starting to happen. I’ll be fishing in Matlacha, lower Pine Island Sound and the Ding Darling Reserve several days the next two weeks. These are very fishy places for both fly and spinning gear.
A great day of spin fishing in the mangroves of Charlotte Harbor's East Wall for sea trout, snook and redfish. With an impending cold front coming and 20-25mph SSE winds the mangroves were the place to be. The Harbor had a 3' chop and the beaches were getting pounded by 3'-4' swells. The 5 mile run back to Ponce De Leon Park in Punta Gorda at the end of the dsy was easy. We stayed in 18" - 24" of water tight to the shoreline. The sandbar knocked down the chop just like a barrier reef. I love fishing here!
This is a long video but Bill left his phone at the Philly Airport and didn't get a chance to take and pics while we were fishing. I wanted him to have something to remember the trip by. Bill, those pulp log sized snook will bite the next time your down. We didn't get skunked the trout and jacks cooperated. Safe travel home to you and Fran!
Pesky cold fronts have made the fishing in Pine Island Sound and around Cayo Costa a bit challenging. Water temps are dropping 8-12* when the fronts come through. Cooler water means making adjustments. Spin fishing the deep holes with slower retrieves works As the temps rebound the fish become more aggressive and move out of the holes and onto the flats where fly fishing has an advantage. There’s been some big redfish in up in Charlotte Harbor. The sea trout have been very cooperative in Gasparilla sound. The Gulf beaches have been quiet with just a few ladyfish and Spanish around. Tarpon sightings are becoming more common in the Sounds as they have started dropping out of the backcountry. It won’t be long and we’ll be bending those Orvis H2 rods along the beaches.
Want to win a free 4 hour fishing Charter? Answer this trivia question: Where is “Meatball” used in this website and what does it mean? Everyone who emails me the correct answer will be entered into a drawing for a free four hour fishing or sightseeing charter in either Florida or Maine during 2014. Value $350, can be used as partial consideration towards an alternate Obsession charter of your choice. Drawing will be held on Wednesday, April 16th. Happy searching and good luck!
Light tackle and fly fishing is great this time of year throughout Charlotte Harbor. Snook, Redfish and Trout are active and in their usual haunts. Snook can be found on sand near mangroves try light colored soft plastic lures and white flies with a bit of flash. Redfish are up in the shallows and around oyster beds. The old stand by copper spoon and dark colored sinking flies are producing well. Trout are on the grass flats usually near an edge or deep hole. Use top water lures and flies for some real fun. Spanish Mackerel are spread out in the lower Harbor along the transitions from flats to deeper water. They love flashy lures and flies but you have to move them fast. Cobia and tarpon are spotty right now but that will change as the bait continues to move into Pine Island and Gasparilla Sounds.
Fished Pine Island Sound with Capt. Gordon Gillies today. This snook was staged up where an oyster bed transitioned to mangroves next to a deep channel, in other words, right where a snook should be... We had a good morning on both snook and trout before heading in aound 11:00 when the showers turned to a steady rain.
Charlotte Harbor spotted sea trout on the BBQ tonight. Capt. Dave Pecci, Obsession Sportfishng Charters.
Larry Stelzer from Maine puts a hurting on an 80 pound tarpon. 80 pound tarpon puts a hurting right back on Larry. What doesn't show in the video is the 16' hammerhead shark that tried to eat Larry's tarpon. All is good though, the tarpon got away thanks to Larry's quick boating abilities.
Matt Stelzer from Maine lands his first tarpon while fishing with Capt. Dave Pecci on Obsession Sportfishing Charters. May and early June is the time to find this kind of action on Charlotte Harbor in SW Florida.
Late winter low water levels make for productive fishing around the oyster beds. March is a great time to fish Charlotte Harbor's backwater. Caught this 23" redfish on a 1/4 oz jig head dressed with a root beer split tail. Finished the day up with a few spotted sea trout.
There are many whitebait flies available in synthetics and natural fiber. Always have a bunch of different ones with you. This particular one has an epoxy head that gets it down in the water. Whitebait patterns work on about any fish you'll find in Charlotte Harbor or the Gulf beaches.
Synthetic fiber baitfish fly - These are available at most fly shops. Make sure they are tied on 2X or 3X hooks. You don't need HD hooks for reds and snook but if you come across a back country tarpon you'll be able to keep connected to her beyond the first jump.