Local Fishing Report
Gulf of Mexico
Offshore anglers have lots and lots of options this month. The spring run of Spanish mackerel and kings is on, meaning that hordes of Spanish mackerel can be found around the passes and offshore bars where they'll be mixed with a smattering of bluefish, blue runners, ladyfish and jacks. The action on kings has been off and on, but better action has been seen a bit further offshore in 40 to 60 feet of water around areas of hard bottom, wrecks or artificial reefs. Some of those same wrecks and reefs, including some in as little as 30 feet of water, are holding permit which will take a free-lined crab, and the Goliath grouper are starting to bunch up there too for their spring/summer spawn. Bottom fishing for red grouper has been reasonably good with keepers possible in as little as 60 feet of water, but more likely in deeper depths. No matter what depth you fish, expect to release quite a few short fish, and quite a few gags, for which the season is still closed. If the number and size of the gags currently being released is any indication, the June 1 season opener for these fish should be good.
Tarpon have moved into Boca Grande Pass and have jump-started the annual silver king madness in that big inlet, a frenzy of fish and fishermen that will last at approximately two months. Fortunately Boca Grande Pass is not the only place to catch a tarpon. Anglers fishing the deep holes in the harbor have caught a fair number without having to work around crowds of boats, and tarpon action has been pretty good under the highway bridges at night. Snook action on the flats has been steady as the fish continue to move out of the rivers and creeks, and there have been reports of snook appearing out on the beaches. Anglers have been enjoying fun, mixed-bag action by anchoring mid-harbor, deploying a chum block, and waiting to see who appears. Spanish mackerel, small sharks (and some not-so-small sharks), and cobia have all been sniffing around chum slicks in recent weeks, providing some really fun fishing on those days when the wind lays down enough to make for comfortable conditions in the open water where this action is found.
*Triggerfish season opens January 1, 2018 (closed all of 2017!!)
*Greater Amberjack season closed March 24 in Federal Waters, opens January 1, 2018
*Snook season closed May 1, opens Sept. 1
Let's Go Fishing!
Capt. Ralph Allen