Fly fishing rod

Southwest Florida anglers are happy to leave the wind behind them

Windy conditions eventually subsided to expected placid levels during May. While better late than never and a welcome improvement, the recent spring winds have truly provided a difficult casting, catching and hauling time for anglers prospecting the shallow waters. and deep.

A break in small craft advisories allows offshore enthusiasts to make longer, safer and more comfortable journeys to remote Gulf lands. Once on the scene, solid bottom and wreck fishing kept anglers hooked and bent to the rail.

The fishing week marks a kind of half-time for the harvest of the greater amberjack. The spring mini-season for hard-load offshore jacking began May 1 and ends May 31. Encountered on and around the periphery of man-made wrecks and reefs in the Gulf with significant vertical relief, the big amberjack fishery should reopen on August 1st. 1.

Zack with a nice snook fishing with a red mullet near Wiggins Pass.

While the greater amberjack will soon have to be released, many other species await anglers beyond the horizon. Red grouper will always remain the most popular reef fish target. However, a roster filled with colorful snappers, mackerel, sharks, license and barracuda will make everyone wish they could fish every day.

Closer to shore and in shallow water, the calmer conditions helped tarpon enthusiasts. Often a difficult task even in the most ideal of conditions, the lighter winds allowed for greater ease in spotting rolling or staged targets as well as cruising schools of the famous inshore game fish.

Last week:Southwest Florida fishing report: May showers slow anglers

Two weeks ago:Southwest Florida Fishing Report: Summer feeling for anglers with heat and storms

Three weeks back:Southwest Florida Fishing Report: Less Winds Should Mean More Action

Locations to search for tarpon vary along the beaches, outside the passes of the area, and in many of the middle and back bay systems scattered throughout the region. Despite the wide range of location options, it often gets crowded in the tarpon field as everyone really wants to experience the thrill of snagging and landing a mighty silver king.

Allowing sufficient distance between other vessels and minimizing engine/deck noise when prospecting is always appreciated and true sportsmanship.

The water quality in the coastal area is not superb with clear conditions reigning supreme. Baitfish can be caught above the coastal structure and along certain stretches of the beach shoreline.

Responding to a well-placed live sardine or herring was snook, redfish and great jack crevalle. Clear water warrants the use of appropriately sized circle hooks and generous traces of 20 to 30 pound class fluorocarbon head material.

Offshore: Aboard his Alabama-based Port O Call Marina, Captain Kraig Dafcik enjoyed a solid string of successful half-day and full-day outings.

Pointing her bow west and northwest of Gordon Pass, Dafcik and her crew focused their half-day effort on natural hard-bottomed areas and artificial reefs between 40 and 55 feet deep, while day trips allowed the Alabama crew to venture beyond. 35 miles.

Dafcik’s half-day catches are tricked out with chunks of filiform herring and pinfish with snappers, porgies and white grunts taking the bait. Full-day catches of red grouper arrive on the rail for Alabama during the deployment of live fish, squirrels and frozen herring.

Dafcik reports that the best bottom sting occurs beyond 80 feet of water depth when almost all artificial reefs are home to barracuda, sharks and goliath groupers. A slow drag tube lure worked well for barracuda, and chunky baits are best for hooking sharks and goliath groupers, Dafcik reports.

Naples/Estero Bay: Aboard my Port O Call Marina-based guide boat, the Grand Slam, my anglers were able to enjoy mixed catches in the waters surrounding Naples and Marco Island. The tides were very strong due to the full moon and the extremely clear water, especially during the rising tide phase.

Early in the day and along the beach, small schools of Spanish mackerel and large crevalle jacks kept the rods bent and drags going while casting jigs, live sardines and 2-3 inch Clark spoons mounted on an 8-pound class. spinning gear. In the same areas, tarpons and sharks were picking up pieces of mullet, live crabs and live pinfish for my anglers.

During the rising tide phase, area passes provided catches of pompano, mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel. Casting brightly colored tube templates with a small piece of fresh shrimp has proven effective.

The jagged shores of the Middle Bay south of Naples have been excellent prospecting areas for snook and redfish. Near these shores, a well-presented live shrimp or sardine rigged under a cork or free line produced consistent action for my fishing parties.

Ten Thousand Islands: “Finally the winds have become light here in the Upper Ten Thousand Islands and the waters around Marco Island,” said Goodland-based Captain Paul Nocifora. “The calm and clear conditions bring us back to normal spring sight fishing tactics.”

Early in the fishing day, Nocifora and her casters can be found working on the shallow mid bay shores for snook or on the gulf front shores/beaches for tarpon. According to Nocifora, casting a white colored bulb pattern worked well for snook and presenting a wide profile purple/black colored baitfish fly attracts the attention of feeding tarpons.

Nocifora recommends being on the water well before dawn and focusing on areas of moving water with baitfish and bird activity for best fly fishing results.

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