We are blessed with an abundance of species to choose from when on an island fishing charter.
With the Gulf of Mexico fronting our beaches and Pine Island Sound, Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve, Blind Pass, Redfish Pass, and Captiva Pass, and the Boca Grande Pass all within reach of a days fishing, there is always something biting.
The headline cast fishing characters are Snook, Redfish, Trout, and Tarpon are components of the “Inshore Slam” found primarily in Beach and Back Bay and sound zones.
Tarpon is the most seasonal and migrate along the coast and bays primarily from early April to Mid July. There is also a local population of adult and juvenile tarpon that can be encountered at almost anytime. They are most active when water temps hit the low 70’s and a pronounced uptick at 75 degrees, and that can be said for nearly all of our species.
A subtropical species, these are highly prized and sought after game fish. Easily identified by the black lateral line running the length of their body (racing stripe) and low slung jaw. These fish make extremely powerful and fast runs that will test the limits of your tackle. Readily taking artificial and live baits endear the snook to anglers.
Pine Island Sound is one of the most productive red fisheries in the country. The shall grass flat, mangrove and oyster bars are preferred by all our species but the redfish are especially suited to the area thanks to the abundant baits including crabs. The least temperature sensitive, I’ve caught reds in 56-degree water. It’s a pretty safe bet you’re not going to be catching many Snook or Tarpon in those conditions, The Trout are also less sensitive to colder water.
Gulf Speckled Trout is perhaps the most popular targeted species. They are the easiest to catch and generally plentiful. Very good table fare, though the flesh is softer than the others. Trout will eagerly take artificials as well as a variety of live baits including shrimp, whitebaits, and pinfish or especially pigfish for the larger trout. Caught on shallow flats in 3-5 feet of water while drifting or anchored, they tend to run in loose schools, so drifting to locate then repeating is a great way to fish them on popping corks or plastic swimbaits.
To be continued.
Mangrove, Mutton, Yellowtail, Lane
Red Grouper, Gag Grouper, Black Grouper
Spanish, King, Cero
BlackTip, Bull, Hammerhead,Sharpnose,Lemon,Bonnethead,Spinner,Tiger
Jack Crevalle, Bar Jack, Atlantic Jacks
Black Fin Tuna