Day one - 40* at the boat ramp 60* water and 20mph north winds. Day two - warmer and less wind. Not a stellar day but we got it done.
The Wilson family from Knoxville joined for a morning of fly fishing on Matlacha Pass. An approaching clod front pushed the snook and trout off the flats and into deep water. Solution - sinking lines and weighted flies.
7 day outlook: The coming week will more like April than the start of March02-27-17 Fishing Report Capt. Dave Pecci
Conditions: We continue to have very good water clarity and quality due to the dry conditions throughout Charlotte Harbor. Water temps are in the low 70s. Average tides this week will provide for good flats fishing. The bite in Matlacha as well as Bull Bay and Turtle Bay has been good. Pine Island Sound's grass flats have been producing seatrout and redfish, concentrate on the deeper portions of the flats. The Keys along the East Wall of the Harbor are holding redfish of varying sizes and a few snook. If you're looking for trout in that area they'll be on the outside of the bar in deeper water.
The mid-day ebb tides will move the fish off the flats. Work the holes and edges until the water level increases.02-13-17 Obsession Charters Fishing Report
I'll be doing a seminar at the Florida Sportsman Expo in Ft. Myers on sight fishing tips and tactics this Sunday. The Seminar covers ways to catch more snook and redfish on both spin and fly fishing gear. I'll share some of the things I've learned while fishing on Charlotte Harbor the past 8 years like reading the fish's movements, finding productive water dealing with weather changes and more.
My Seminar is at 1pm on Sunday. It's full of cool pictures and videos of fishing action from Matlacha, Pine Island sound, Charlotte Harbor's East and West Walls, Bull Bay, Turtle Bay and more. More info on the Expo including other seminars.
Last Week - Excellent fishing! We had tons of fly and light tackle fishing action last week. And, this coming week will be just as good! I posted some killer video from last week's action, you can check them out on my blog's Florida Fishing Video section. There's over 30 videos posted.
This week's Forecast
Conditions: Excellent all this coming week - Mid day high tides will provide moving water. Morning low tides will congregate the fish along the oyster beds and grass banks.
Species to fish for this coming week: Snook, Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, Jack Crevalle, Tarpon, Ladyfish, Spanish Mackerel, Cobia.
Bait the fish are feeding on: shrimp, crabs, pinfish, ladyfish, Scaled Sardines, Threadfin Herring
Fishing Tactics: Start early and fish the edges of oysters and grass for trout, snook and reds. As the tide comes in move onto the flats fishing the sand holes for trout and reds.
My fly fishing tip of the week: Lots of white bait (sardines and herring) around so olive and white deceivers are the choice.
My spin fishing tip of the week: MirroLure suspending twitch baits are the lure of choice. 2nd choice would be a bubble gum or new penny soft bait on a ¼ once jig head.
7 day outlook: Fantastic weather with light winds from the E and NE will provide excellent fishing. The snook, redfish and jack crevalle action will be very good this week.
Stefan Piccone had a great couple days of back country fly fishing with me in Matlacha Pass this week.
Stefan is a true magician when it comes to wiggling the fly out mangroves branches and is very good at reading the waters of Charlotte Harbor. Even with a southwest of wind and cloudy water we had two very productive and fun days together. by the way, catching 6-8 pound jack cravalle in 2' of water on a Helios 2 8wt. fly rod is FUN!
Safe travels home Stefan, I hope to see you again the next time you are in SW Florida.
Great light tackle and fly fishing for jack crevalle today with John Kern. We had schools of them busting bait in 2 feet of water along back country mangroves of Matlacha Pass. Sure did put John's new 8wt. fly rod to the test. John, we'll get you one of those big snook next time.
David Soule from Maine enjoying a morning of back country fishing in Charlotte Harbor's Matlacha Pass Wildlife Refuge. The first segment is catching ladyfish and the second is David's first redfish on a fly rod. He caught it blind casting an Orvis Helios 2 8wt into the mangroves with a hollow fly whitebait pattern I've been working on.
Keven Stevens and Jason Webber with a nice Matlacha Redfish. Check out the video
Spring is here and the fishing is excellent. Water temps in the high 70s with good water clarity. Snook Reds and trout all eating flies and lures.
Species to fish for this week: Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, Bluefish, Jacks, Ladyfish, Snook, Tarpon
Bait the fish are feeding on: shrimp, crabs, pinfish, ladyfish. Some whitebait in Matlacha Pass and on Bokeelia Shoals.
With the clearer and warmer water tactics change to fishing moving water along the grass flats and sight fishing for reds and snook on the sandbars and oyster beds. The fish will be more aggressive but also a bit spookier. Stay back and make long casts, if you can see the fish – they can see you too.
My fly fishing tip of the week: I get asked about bite tippet a lot – Use a minimum of 20# for smaller fish. 25#-30# for baby tarpon and snook. Always use fluorocarbon. Check the tippet after EVERY catch. Not just by sight, do a pull test.
My spin fishing tip of the week: Same holds true for spinning gear: 20# for the little guys and 25#-30# for biguns. Check the tippet after EVERY catch.
We'll see a cold front pass through the first of the week. Winds should settle down and the fishing will be good through the weekend.
There's been some 10-12 pound jack crevalle cruising the flats - keep a 10 wt rigged with a white bait fly!
Keven Stevens and Jason Webber had a great day of back country fishing with me in Matlacha Pass Wildlife Refuge on the southern reaches of Charlotte Harbor. We were fishing with fly rods and light tackle spinning gear. Check out the nice redfish hooked in 14" of water on a MirroLure Twitchbait then watch a school of 10-12 pound jack cravale smashing bait in 2 feet of water on a grass flat. We also caught sea trout, ladyfish and snook. NICE!
Keven and Jason, it was great getting to know you, safe travels home and hope to fish with you again! Capt. Dave
Bruce and Geraldine Yaw from New York State joined me for a morning of backcountry fly fishing in Matlacha Wildlife Refuge in Charlotte Harbor. We were joined by porpoise, manatee, eagle osprey, egrets, heron and ibis. A neap tide and cool water temps made fishing a challenge but we persevered and caught sea trout, lady fish and snook all on flies. Some folks poo poo ladyfish - but on a 6 or 8wt rod they are a hoot.
This shrimpy – crabby back country fly pattern is something I developed over the past 8 years. It’s tied whistler style with splayed grizzly hackles, bucktail and some flash. Works great on dark bottom and grass flats. I use bead chain eyes but small dumbbells work well too. Usually tied on #1- 1/0 hooks and always with a weed guard. Redfish and seatrout eat them up. Also have caught mangrove snapper, jacks, and several other species on it. Works best with a short strip and pause. One of my favorite flies in Matlacha Pass and Ding Darling Refuge.
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.
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.
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.