Snook Fishing

Boca Grande / Charlotte Harbor,  Florida

Snook Fishing

Thousands of snook call Charlotte Harbor home. They are aggressive feeders that hang on structure and in current waiting for feed to come their way. Typically snook are not boat shy; it's common to have vicious strikes right at boat side and on occasion even in the prop wash of a passing boat. We blind cast and sight fish areas where sand bars converge with grass flats. In the spring, we'll fish along the Gulf beaches where snook gather prior to and shortly after they spawn.

SW Florida - Pine Island, Boca Grande, Charlotte Harbor Fishing Report February 8, 2016

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Conditions: We will have extremely low morning tides this week. Water temps will be cool in the mornings but warm up in the afternoon. Pine Island Sound, Ding Darling, and areas around Sanibel and Captiva will have poor water quality due to the record level of discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee River. Even Matlacha Pass will see some water issues this week. The upper Harbor, East and West walls will provide better fishing opportunities.
Bait the fish are feeding on: Some whitebait in the upper harbor, pinfish, ladyfish, shrimp, crabs
Species to fish for this week: Snook, Redfish, Seatrout, Jacks, Ladyfish
Fishing Tactics: Typical winter tactics include taking advantage of extremely low water levels by fishing edges and structure. Cool water requires fishing slow and deep. As the water warms on the mud and grass you can speed your retrieves back up.
My fly fishing tip of the week: Slow presentations along the edges of oyster bards and banks with crab or shrimp patterns should produce this week. Use weighted flies or sinking intermediate lines to get down to the fish.     
My spin fishing tip of the week: Jig heads with soft plastic tail fished slow along edges and bars should work. Take advantage of this week’s super low tides by fishing structure and contours. 
7 day outlook: This week will be mostly dry with morning lows in the 50 warming into the 60s mid day. West – northwest winds will drop on Wednesday. There will be very large tide swings this week. Water temps will cool due to the nighttime lows. 

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Pine Island, Boca Grande, Charlotte Harbor Fishing Report January 25th, 2016

Barb and I will be heading to Port Charlotte in a week or two. Thought I'd start my fishing reports now seeing that I'm checking the conditions daily. 

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Conditions: Water temps will rebound this week. Winds will drop too. There will be mid day low tides with good moving water

Bait the fish are feeding on: some whitebait in the upper harbor, pinfish, ladyfish, shrimp, crabs

Species to fish for this week: Seatrout, Redfish, Jacks, Spanish, some Snook

Fishing Tactics: Cold water tactics – fish deep water and banks until the mid day warmth heats up the flats.

My fly fishing tip of the week: Cold water requires fishing slow and deep. Might need to swap to an intermediate or sinking line. Maybe even weighted flies for the holes and edges.             

My spin fishing tip of the week: Still fishing with bait and popping corks or slow retrieved jigs in deep water early then move to the grass flats as the water warms.

 

7 day outlook: A cold front move out Monday and the winds will drop and shift into the southeast. The weather change will bring a few showers. Temps will rebound to seasonal levels allowing the water to warm up.

This week's forecast:

Monday
Sunny, with a high near 70. Wind chill values as low as 35 early. East northeast wind around 5 mph becoming south southeast in the afternoon.
Monday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 52. Calm wind becoming east 5 to 7 mph in the evening.
Tuesday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. East wind 5 to 8 mph.
Tuesday Night
A 30 percent chance of showers after 8pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 63. East wind around 5 mph. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Wednesday
A chance of showers, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after 8am. Cloudy, with a high near 72. Southeast wind 5 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.
Wednesday Night
Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Cloudy, with a low around 62. East wind 3 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.
Thursday
Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Cloudy, with a high near 69. Northeast wind 6 to 10 mph becoming west northwest in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 70%.
Thursday Night
Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm before 8pm, then a slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 50. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Friday
A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 63.
Friday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 46.
Saturday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 68
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Punta Gorda - Trip Adviser's Most Affordable Southern Destination

This is something Barb and I already knew - Punta Gorda on the southeastern side of Charlotte Harbor is a great place to excape the cold. Trip Advisor agrees, it listed PG as its most afordable southern destination.

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We live just across the bridge in Port Charlotte but spend most of our time in Punta Gorda. Great restaurants and shops, We love the farmers market, I launch from two of PG's boat ramps almost daily and pick up my Florida fishing charter clients at the area hotels. PG hosts several festivals and fishing tournament throughout the year. Oh, almost forgot Barb's favorite ice cream shop Scoops is at Lashley Park right on the River Walk.

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And the fishing... PG has great snook, redfish, trout, cobia, jack and mackerel fishing minutes from their boat ramps. Spin fishing or fly fishing, you'll have a great time in Punta Gorda.

 

 

 

 

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Charlotte Harbor / Pine Island Sound Fishing Report January 4th, 2016

Charlotte Harbor / Pine Island Sound Fishing Report January 4th, 2016 - Happy New Year Everyone! Welcome to the first of 2016 weekly Fishing Reports from Charlotte Harbor Florida. My guiding season kicks later this month and I'm looking forward to enjoying the sun and warmth of Southwest Florida through early June.

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Conditions: Typical January fishing conditions this week. Low water levels and dropping water temps.

Bait: Mullet, Ladyfish, pinfish, shrimp, crabs

Fishing Tactics: Cool temps and northeast winds will move the water and fish from the mangroves into the potholes and troughs. Concentrate on deeper water with slower presentations.

Species to target: Redfish, Snook Seatrout, Jacks, Spanish Mackerel and Ladyfish.

My Fly Fishing Tip of the Week: Cool water tactics, swap to a sinking or sinking intermediate line and weighted flies. Fish edges and holes.

My Spin Fishing Tip of the Week: Fish slow and low during cool water conditions.

 

7 day outlook: Average temps and northeast winds subsiding mid-week. 40% chance of showers on Wednesday. 

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Summertime Tarpon and Snook Action Around Pine Island and Boca Grande

Charlotte Harbor / Pine Island Sound Fishing Report June1st, 2015

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Conditions: Water temps have dropped a couple degrees with the showers and afternoon sea breezes. The back country fishing remains a bit slow, especially mid day. The beaches will be very active with tarpon and some big snook. Lots of skipjacks, greenback and threadfin herring on the beach. Some crabs in the passes.

Bait: Threadfin herring, greenback herring, ladyfish, skipjacks, crab

Species to target this week: Tarpon, Snook, Redfish

Fishing Tactics: Tarpon are cruising the beach in good numbers. Watch for rolling fish early and then sub surface pods from late morning on. The bite has only been for 20-30 minutes each tide so be persistent.

My Fly Fishing Tip of the Week: Change flies after refusals and ignores. Crab and small streamers patterns are getting the most looks.

My Spin Fishing Tip of the Week: Crabs seem to be the most effective bait or lure right now. Use slow steady retrieves.

 

7 day outlook: Light easterly morning winds with an afternoon sea breeze will provide great morning fishing. Watch out for those afternoon thunderstorms. Beach tarpon and snook action will be good. Small snook and redfish will be feeding early and late in the day in the back country.

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Snook on Fly Rod in Matlacha

Casey from Orvis Dallas and Steve from Orvis Austin take a break from tarpon fishing to fly fish for snook in Matlacha National Wildlife Refuge.

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Charlotte Harbor / Pine Island Sound Fishing Report May 25th, 2015

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Conditions: Hot- Backcountry water temps from Matlacha to Gasparilla are now in the high 80s. The beaches from Boca Grande to Sanibel are in the mid 80s. Thunderstorms are common as the sea breeze builds in the afternoons. Higher water levels are putting the snook and redfish up under the mangroves for most of the day. The Tarpon are rolling early but are running deep as soon as the sun gets bright.

 Bait: threadfin herring, Green back Herring, pinfish, shrimp, crab

Species to target this week: Tarpon, Snook, Redfish

Fishing Tactics: Mid day fishing now is very slow due to the heat. So, it’s time to trade sight fishing for early and late day blind casting. Watch for nervous bait, muds and pushes along the mangroves. Tarpon will be moving through the passes early and late. Watch for cruising beach tarpon before and after slack tide.

My Fly Fishing Tip of the Week: If the tarpon fishing is slow, spend some time fishing the troughs along the surf line for BIG snook. Small to medium sized whitebait patterns seem to be getting the attracting the most action.

My Spin Fishing Tip of the Week: Sluggos and Hogys rigged weedless are the hot setup for the mangroves right now for snook and redfish. Live crabs are working best on the beach for tarpon.

 7 day outlook: Moderate easterly and northeasterly winds giving way to the sea breeze will build afternoon thunderstorms. There will be good water flow on the beaches and in the mangroves all week. The redfish and smaller snook will be active early and late in the day. Tarpon are in good numbers both on the beaches and in Pine Island Sound but will be running deep mid day.  

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Charlotte Harbor / Pine Island Sound Fishing Report May 18th, 2015

A couple pics from this week’s tarpon action

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Conditions: The tarpon are cruising the beaches with steady action other than slack tide. No big wind or heavy rain is forecasted so the fishing should remain good. There are a few big snook in the troughs and on the bars just off the breakers.

Bait: threadfin herring, Green back Herring, pinfish, shrimp, crab

Species to target this week: Tarpon, Snook

Fishing Tactics: Watch for pods of tarpon moving up and down the beach. If the action is slow move your attention to the Sounds.

My Fly Fishing Tip of the Week: We have had good luck sight fishing for tarpon along the beaches off Gasparilla and Captiva islands in 6-10 feet of water. If you get refused change your fly.

My Spin Fishing Tip of the Week: Live crabs have been hot this past week. Stay back from the pods as far as you can and make long casts.

7 day outlook: Chance of showers mid-week. Onshore winds could make for tuff beach fishing. But there are tarpon moving throughout Pine Island and Gasparilla sounds. Water temps are in the mid eighties, watch for rolling fish, they’ll be gulping air in this heat.

 

 

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Fly Fishing For Snook and Tarpon With Folks from Orvis

This past week I had the pleasure of fishing with Jen Lofgren the store manager of Orvis, Cherry Creek in Denver, CO and Jason Cooper, fishing manager of Orvis Bellevue near Seattle WA. It was great getting to know these hard working and knowledgeable folks while fly fishing along the Gulf beaches of Pine Island and Gasparilla Sounds’ barrier islands. We had light winds, temps in the 90s and steady tarpon and snook action.

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Pine Island Snook fly fishing – The Backup Plan

Sometimes Mother Nature throws you a big fat hanging curve. Sometimes she jambs you on the knuckles with a smoking fastball… John and Bill from CT got jammed on Monday. 20-25mph east winds with gusts over 35 at times. Our hopes of beach tarpon off Captiva and Sanibel Islands dashed, we headed for Pine Island and fished the back country of the Matlacha pass national wildlife refuge with John’s first saltwater fly fishing catch as a goal. Mission accomplished, John landed some snook on a whitebait pattern using an Orvis Helios2 9wt rod.  60' casts in 20+mph winds? - piece of cake. 5 hours of poling an 18' skiff in 20+ mph winds? not a piece of cake - thank you hot shower and Advil.

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Charlotte Harbor / Pine Island Sound Fishing Report April 20th, 2015

Tarpon Time

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Conditions: Water temps are between 81* and 85*. Moderate winds should allow for good sight fishing this week. There is a good chance of showers so keep an eye to the sky.

Bait: threadfin herring, Green back Herring, pinfish, shrimp, crab

Species to target this week: Tarpon, Snook, Redfish, Seatrout, Jack Crevalle, Ladyfish.

Fishing Tactics: Time to hunt for tarpon. They are starting to show in Pine Island Sound and on the beaches. Look for rolling fish early and then for sub surface pods as soon as the light gets good.

My Fly Fishing Tip of the Week: Tarpon time – rig your 11 or 12wt with a sink tip or use weighted flies if the tarpon are moving fast or deep.

My Spin Fishing Tip of the Week: With backwater temps in the mid eighties, your casts need to be at the drip line or up under the mangroves as the tide rises.

 

7 day outlook: Moderate winds and 20-50% chance of showers this week. Good morning tides will produce moving water for first part of the week. Neap tides late week morning tides will provide little or no moving water. 

I have a full compliment of Orvis H2 rods on my boat. If you haven't experienced the Helios 2, you are truly missing something. Book you trip today, cath a fish of a lifetime on the worlds best casting fly rod!

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Charlotte Harbor / Pine Island Sound Fishing Report April 14th, 2015

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Conditions: Neap tides of the past week are now behind us. Good flow and water temps in the low 80s will produce great conditions. Watch out for those afternoon storms though.

Bait: threadfin herring, Green back Herring, pinfish, shrimp

Species to target this week: Snook, Redfish, Seatrout, Jack Crevalle, Ladyfish, Bluefish.

Fishing Tactics: Go early and blind cast the first hour or two of the incoming tide. Sight fishing will be good as soon as the sun gets overhead.

My Fly Fishing Tip of the Week: White bait patterns are working on snook. Be prepared for follows and refusals if the strip is not correct. You have to tease the big’uns into biting.

My Spin Fishing Tip of the Week: White and pink soft plastic twitch baits are producing snook. Root beer is the redfish color of the week.

 

7 day outlook: A lack of weather fronts in the 7 day forecast will provide a steady barometer and light winds. There are a few snook on the beach and some tarpon in Pine Island Sound. Lots of white bait around too.  Snook, trout and jacks are on the backcountry flats. 

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Brad Osborn Fishing Pine Island

Brad Osborn from Falmouth, Maine joined me this past weekend for some productive snook, trout, and jack crevalle action. We fished Pine Island Sound with both fly and spinning gear. Brad brought along one of his favorite New England "Albie" lures and the local fish ate it up! 

From Brad 04-14-15: Thanks Dave! As always, I had a great time. Snook, jacks, ladyfish, trout, thousands of cow nose rays, a manatee at the boat, sight casting to giant snook on the beach. It does not get better than that for a Mainer looking for a break from mud season.

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Matlacha Wildlife Refuge Fly and Light Tackle Fishing 04-04-15

LL Bean Hunt and Fish Dept. Senior Product Developer Jeff Miller and his 14 year old son Jason joined me for a fun filled Saturday morning fly fishing and light tackle spin fishing near Pine Island. We caught mangrove snapper, bar jack, bluefish, jack crevalle, seatrout and snook. Check out the porpoise attack in 18” of water when we released an eight pound jack!

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Big Snook Refusal

It takes a big snook to show up 40 feet away on my boat cam! this snook was 40+ inches long. Watch as it looks Chris' fly over then swims off. Oh well, we'll get her the next tim you're in town Chris.

 

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Charlotte Harbor / Pine Island Sound Fishing Report March 31st, 2015

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Conditions: Water temps have fallen into the high 70s due a weekend cold front but will rebound quickly. Good tidal flow will get the fish feeding again.

Bait: threadfin herring, pinfish, shrimp

Species to target this week: Redfish, Seatrout, Jacks, Ladyfish, Bluefish.

Fishing Tactics: Fish structure early and mangroves later in the day.

My Fly Fishing Tip of the Week: Fish will be staged on the edges in deeper water until mid day when the flat warm.

My Spin Fishing Tip of the Week: Fish deep along edges with jigs until mid day then swap to suspending baits and move to the shallows as the water warms.

 

7 day outlook: The cold front from the past weekend is long gone and the water temps will rebound by mid week. Early afternoon high tides will provide good moving water. Its going to be a great week!

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Charlotte Harbor / Pine Island Sound Fishing Report March 24th, 2015

Both Matlacha and Ding Darling Preseves have great fishing this week. Here's Greg Killough and a nice Jack caught on an Orvis Helios 2 8wt fly rod. Greg also caught seatrout and snook. 

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Conditions: Water temps are in the high 70s to low 80s. A mild cold front will be arriving late in the week slight chance of afternoon showers and light winds through the weekend.

Bait: threadfin and greenback herring, pinfish, shrimp, crabs

Species to target this week: Snook, Redfish, Seatrout, Jacks, Ladyfish, Spanish Mackerel.

Fishing Tactics: With water temps rising the mid day fishing will be slow. Fish the morning tides for the best action.

My Fly Fishing Tip of the Week: Snook will be cruising the mangrove edges at the tide rises. Redfish will be near the oyster beds as the tide ebbs.

My Spin Fishing Tip of the Week: Suspending twitch baits and soft plastic on light jig heads fished slow along the mangrove shadows can be productive.

7 day outlook: Higher water levels in mornings will allow for easier access to the backwaters.

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Charlotte Harbor / Pine Island Sound Fishing Report March 15th, 2015

04-02-14-redfishConditions: Water temps in the high 70s to low 80s and mid day high tides. This is the week for an inshore slam.

Bait in the Area: scaled sardines, pinfish, shrimp, crabs, some threadfin herring.

Species to target this week: Snook, Redfish, Seatrout, Jacks, Ladyfish.

Fly Fishing Tactics: Start the day around the oyster beds and the cuts. As the tide rises and the sun comes up move to the mangroves and creek mouths. Shrimp, crab and small baitfish imitations will all work.

My Fishing Tip of the Week: Redfish will be around oyster beds at low tide and move to the mangroves and creek mouths as the tide rises.

My Spin Fishing Tip of the Week: The old standby gold spoon or Mirro Lure jerk bait are the hot set up right now. If the bite falls off swap to a live shrimp on a jig head.    

7 day Outlook: Wow what a week! Dry all week temps in the 80s and light winds. Great morning incoming tides should provide consistent action. 

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Charlotte Harbor / Pine Island Sound Fishing Report March 9th, 2015

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Conditions: We will see temps in the 80s and there will be a chance of off and on showers with light winds throughout the week. Water temps will be in the low to mid 70s. No red tide is predicted. There will be Mid-day ebb tides of average height early in the week and neap tides at the end of the week.

Bait: threadfin herring, pinfish, shrimp, crabs

Species to target this week: Redfish, Seatrout, Snook, Jacks, Ladyfish, Bluefish. Maybe a cobia or baby tarpon.

Fishing Tactics: Make your redfish presentations to the edges of potholes in grass flats. Baitfish and shrimp imitations will work best. Seatrout will be on banks near grass. Chartreus or hot pink Clousers will be productive.

My Fly Fishing Tip of the Week: The Redfish on the grass flat will be spooky. Stake out or drift and watch for schools of reds moving over the flats. Long casts and stealth will be key in hooking up.

7 day outlook: Trout and redfish are moving onto the grass flats Pine Island Sound. In the upper harbor the Redfish are in the holes around the mangroves. The Snook are getting more active as the water warms. 

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Charlotte Harbor / Pine Island Sound Fishing Report February, 24th, 2015

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Conditions: Warmer weather has allowed the water temps to rebound into the high 60s – low 70s. Low water levels exist especially during northerly winds. No red tide has been detected.

Bait: threadfin herring, pinfish, shrimp

Species to target this week: Redfish, Snook, Seatrout, Jacks, Ladyfish, Bluefish.

Fly Fishing Tactics: As the water temps get into the 70s the redfish and snook will move back into the shallows along the mangroves. Seatrout will be on the grass flats.

My Light Tackle Fishing Tip of the Week: Moving water is the key to finding snook and redfish. Deep holes at creek mouths will hold redfish. Mangrove points will hold snook.

7 Day Outlook: Morning fog early in the week. Some rain is predicted for Thursday and Friday. Light to moderate winds and temps in the mid 60s to mid 70s

 

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