MAP ♦ 26.55.701N | 82.03.826W
Local Fishing Report
Gulf of Mexico
Spanish mackerel can be found around the passes and offshore bars. Kings were off-and-on through April, but should be full-on for most of May. These fish can be found anywhere from 20 to 120 feet of water so some searching may be necessary to find them. Look for smokers around the artificial reefs, where big threadfins or blue runners often attract big bites. Red grouper fishing has been consistent on flat rock from about 70 to 100 feet of water, where lane snapper, porgys and grunts have also been good. Mangrove snapper are stacked up nicely on wrecks and reefs from 50 to 70 feet of water and they're sharing those sites with some really nice gags (which must be released until gag season opens later this summer). Permit are slurping crabs on wrecks and reefs in as little as 30 feet of water, but structures in 50 or 60 feet seem to be holding more of these strong fish. Shark action is going strong with fish taken within a few hundred yards of the beaches and on out many miles offshore.
May is one of the best fishing months of the year in Charlotte Harbor because there are so many hot fisheries going at the same time. Snook (including some very large specimens) are spreading out onto the flats and can be found on just about every mangrove shoreline in the region. Redfish action continues to be steady among the islands on the east side of the harbor, on the west wall, in the Turtle Bay/Bull Bay area, and on the flats along the ICW. Good numbers of tarpon appeared in mid-April and are now being fished in the passes, in the mid-harbor deep holes, and around the bridges. More cobia have been caught in the harbor in the last month than in any month in recent memory with catches coming from the flats, from the artificial reefs and channel markers, and mid-harbor among the tarpon. Small and medium sized sharks are suddenly showing up everywhere in the harbor and are entertaining the anglers who enjoy catching these sporty fish, but are annoying the tarpon fishermen who find that the sharks often eat hard-won baits that are intended for tarpon. Spanish mackerel are in the harbor in good numbers and can be found just about anywhere there's bait, but these fast-moving fish might be found today in locations miles away from where they were caught yesterday.
*Snook season closed until September 1, 2013
*Gag grouper season is closed, opens July 1, season length to be determined
*All other grouper opened April 1
*Greater amberjack will close June 1, open August 1
*Red snapper season opens June 1, season length estamated at 26 days
*Gray triggerfish closes in state waters June 1, opens August 1
Let's Go Fishing!
Capt. Ralph Allen