Preventative maintenance day and a break from the tarpon, snook, redfish and seatrout of Charlotte Harbor... New trailer bearings, new trailer tires, Galvanizing touch up, rebuild of spare wheel hub and yes, Fred Bogue, spin fishing reel teardown and lube, (all of them). Even had time to sort out what fly fishing gear stays in Florida and what comes to Maine. Long day but I'd rather do preventative maintenance that "repairs". I’m good to go until September now. Striped bass are in the Kennebec, Tarpon are returning to the beaches of Boca Grande. Great time to be alive just need to be in two places at once.
Florida Fishing Reports
Monday and Tuesday we fished light tackle and fly along the beaches off Gasparilla and Cayo Costa in overcast and showers. The tarpon were spread out in pods both there and in the passes of lower Charlotte Harbor. As tropical storm Andrea approached Wednesday the winds and seas picked up making sight fishing all but impossible. The tarpon left the Harbor moving offshore to hunker down. The backcountry fishing suffered too as snook, redfish and trout laid up to ride things out. Thursday morning the dry tongue of the storm was sitting right over Charlotte Harbor. Launching in Punta Gorda at sunrise we caught a bucket load of silver trout (whiting) on structure before the wind and rain started. We were safely off the water by mid-morning. Thursday afternoon two twisters touched down in Charlotte County and wind gusts close to 50mph blew through Punta Gorda and Boca Grande. Friday was a bust because of the 2+” of rain and 3-5 foot seas that Andrea left behind. Saturday morning there were no tarpon to be found within in 3 miles of the coast… Sadly my long-time clients and dear friends Fred and Sara Bogue flew in on Tuesday afternoon to fish three days for tarpon. We still had a great time together by adjusting our plans and catching fish other than the elusive silver king. That’s fishing… Great memories are commonly made from things other than big fish – like sharing the Gulf’s first tropical storm of 2013.
This morning on the beaches of Gasparilla and Boca Grande with Bill Stevens and his bride Jan. Estimated 70-80 pound tarpon on a spin fishing rod. Two jumps and off. Truth be told - the hook up, first run and jumps are what it's all about for me... Though a boat side picture would have been nice. Slow day with only 3 jumped and one landed amongst the boats in our area.
The tarpon are settling down from the unrelenting pressure from Memorial Day weekend Boca Grande anglers. The fish in shallow water of Gasparilla Pass were still edgy on Tuesday but the pods that were in 15+ feet were much more at ease. Some of the tarpon have moved offshore to spawn as they typically do following the full moon this time of year. On their return, the fishing should be even better than it is currently; I love this time of year here in Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound. There are schools of Spanish and False Albacore (Little Tunny) a half a mile or so off the beaches. There are some snook in the toughs making for fun sight casting. As for the back country; with water temps in the mid 80’s, redfish and snook are back in the shade or in deep holes as the day heats up so go early and be patient. Spotted Seatrout are holding on the deeper grass flats. There are still some Spanish and Ladyfish around too. I’m rounding third and heading for home in my 2013 Florida guiding season. I do have a few open days before heading to Maine on June 14th so give me a call and we’ll go catch’em!
With less than three weeks left here in Charlotte Harbor I have been landlocked all this week doing the last big project of our home renovation. It's killing me to do drywall work while the tarpon and snook play along the beaches of Boca Grande and Cayo Costa... It's a good thing that Barb has returned to Maine during this part of the project which is a complete redo of the garage. Picture the entire contents of a garage including a washer and dryer, water heater, tools and even two bicycles piled up in our living room. To say nothing about the DUST! OMG... By Memorial Day's end the project will be done and I'll be fishing Pine Island Sound. Yesssss!
High pressure and westerly winds last week made inshore fishing a bit challenging. The beach had swells and white caps making chasing tarpon impossible. Mid-day high tides put the redfish way up into the mangroves. Monday and Tuesday the back country was shell shocked from the Flatsmasters redfish tournament. With all that, we still had some great days on the water. Thanks to some small snook, flounder, Spanish mackerel and the ever happy sea trout… The coming week should provide lighter winds, warming water and great tides. Tarpon fishing should be very good both along the Gasparilla beaches and in Pine Island Sound. The huge snook that are laid up on light bottom of Bull and Turtle Bays should be more aggressive as the high pressure moves off. The redfish will settle down and move back on the oyster beds and out of the mangrove roots. This is the beginning of late spring Prime Time in Charlotte Harbor and Boca Grande! I have openings in my schedule so give me a call and we’ll go get em! Nothing recharges the batteries like a relaxing fun day on Beautiful Charlotte Harbor. All skill levels welcome.
Low pressure to the north has caused westerly winds and 3'-4' swells on the Boca Grande beaches since Friday. Looks like the weather pattern will finally change tomorrow night and things will settle down. Here's a teaser of things to come! Frustrating to know the tarpon are out there just waiting for us... Lots of snook have moved to Gasparilla also. It's spawning time for them too. That's ok, there's always fish to catch in the backcountry of Pine Island sound! Headed there in an hour or so with fellow Maine Guide Bill Stevens and his wife Janice.
I contacted Scott McEnaney at Orvis this week with a request. It took some doing but he hooked me up with a pre-release Helios2, 11wt rod! I'll have it later this coming week. Watch out Boca Grande tarpon... Thank you very much Scott. If this rod is as nice as the 10wt that I have (I fully expect it to be!) it will be a deadly tarpon stick. Check back for my review of it in the coming days... They will be available next month for purchase. The tarpon are here in the passes of Pine Island Sound and Boca Grande in good numbers and more are showing up daily. I have a few openings later in the month - Call me for available dates.
Sunday afternoon the fuel pump on the Yukon crapped out while we were picking up take-out at the Nav-a-gator. Take-out became eat-in at that point... Some the regulars suggested we have the Yukon towed to a garage 5 miles from our place so we called AAA. Then we bummed a ride home from Barb's sister and fiancé. Two days later we're back up and running. Other than an unexpected charge to the credit card it actually worked out very well. Veteran's Auto Repair treated us great just like my buddy Merle Ambrose would have in Maine. Barb got some down time to recover from a spill on her bike (she's fine, even peddled a mile home after it happened.) and took care of a bit of business she'd been putting off. We met some nice folks at Nav-a-Gators. And I got some painting done in the house. The Tarpon, Snook and Redfish will be there this coming week. Life is good!
Only been on the water of Charlotte Harbor a few times in the past two weeks... Been enjoying some vacation time with Barb. She heads back to Maine the end of the week and I'm already missing her... The fishing is excellent right now. Snook are cruising in 4-6 feet of water in Pine Island Sound and the Beaches of Gasparilla. The spotted seatrout are aggressive in Bull and Turtle Bay. Spanish are in the deeper water of Gasparilla Sound. The tarpon are showing up on the Boca Grande beaches though not to the point of steady action. Bait balls everywhere on the beaches, in the sounds and backcountry. Love this time of year in Charlotte Harbor!
The first tarpon are showing up. Just two pods on the beach at Boca Grande so far. Gulf water is 76*. Another 2-4* will improve things. Haiden Shea had a baby tarpon (3'er) spit the hook yesterday in Turtle Bay. Snook seem to be everywhere in Gasparilla Sound and Pine Island Sound this week but are not eating all that well. Redfish are moving in and out of the skinny water of Bull and Turtle Bay. Spotted searout, ladyfish and Spanish are at Bokeelia and the flats up toward Punta Gorda. The Shea boys and dad; Scott (Seaspray Kayak) had the full show yesterday... Porpoise, manatees, eagles, ospreys all were out in numbers. All totaled they caught 7 different species of fish. Haiden will be sending me some video from his Go Pro. I'm off the water for the next few days, spending some time with my bride! Trip to the beach, lunch at Sharky's And maybe a bike ride on today's itinerary...
This is what happens to a dining room table when your bride returns to Maine leaving you to my own devises. Tasty tarpon tidbits are now prepared for the coming week on the beaches of Boca Grande and the waters of Charlotte Harbor.
Now this is more like it. 72* at 6am w/ 4mph southerly winds and clear skies at the Boca Grande causeway. Look out Charlotte Harbor snook and redfish!
Settling in now. Still working out an internet connection and getting the skiff ready for guiding. Shakedown on Charlotte Harbor yesterday went pretty well but I found a cracked livewell seacock and the new trolling motor blocks my bow light socket. Fished a few hours with Gordon and Mary Gillies on the Punta Gorda shore. Spotted seatrout for supper tonight and I now know where the redfish aren't. Been cold but today I woke up to 62* and it will be in the 80s this afternoon. Water temps are in the mid 60s.
Cold front moving off 54* this morning with highs in the low 80s. today. Charlotte Harbo water temp is climbing and will be back in the 70s by the end of the weekend. Best news of all is the water levels are back to just below normal in the Pine Island Sound and the bays. Though it’s been fun watching boaters run aground almost every day this week. Tide charts are great but... Had a great spotted seatrout bite yesterday and fly and spin fishing will improve dramatically over the weekend. Good thing too, I have 6 charters this week. Everyone have a great and blessed Easter.