Reports Updated September 2018
Gulf of Mexico
Most of the offshore action this month will be bottom fish, but there are other options too. Cudas are on the wrecks, a few kings will show up, and there are good sized sharks around some of the hard bottom areas. The bottom fishing is mostly for red grouper, lane snapper, vermilion snapper, porgys and grunts that are gathered on almost every slab of flat rock or hard bottom from about 60 feet of water and on further out, and it’s been steady action over the past several weeks. Other catches this month will include some gags, though gag fishing has been disappointing overall this summer, a few scamp, and some yellowtail snapper on the taller wrecks and artificial reefs. By month’s end we should start seeing the first Spanish mackerel schools, the vanguard of the annual fall run.
September is the last month of the year when you can count on finding tarpon before most of the adult silver kings depart for the winter. Yes, some years they stick around into October (and sometimes even later) but any large tarpon caught after the first of October are really a bonus. Look for schools of bait in the upper harbor, especially near the mouths of the Peace and Myakka Rivers and watch for tarpon rolling or feeding around the edges. Unfortunately we’ve been experiencing a protracted bout of red tide along the coast, but as of this writing (Sept. 1) it has not appeared in Charlotte Harbor more than a handful of miles in from the Gulf. So the eastern side of the harbor including Burnt Store, Pirate Harbor and on north to Punta Gorda has been mostly clear, as has most of the west side of the harbor above Cape Haze Point. And the fishing for trout, reds and snook has been good in those areas. Some anglers are speculating that fish from the lower harbor moved inland to escape red tide flare-ups down nearer to the Gulf.
Fishing Season Updates
- Season closed August 17, opens March 1, 2019
- New regulations: size limit is now 15″ fork length, bag limit is now one per person
- Season opened Aug. 1, closes November 1
- Emergency action by FWC: Bradenton to Naples, catch-and-release only now through October 12. Season will open October 13, then close December 1
- Emergency action by FWC: Bradenton to Naples, catch-and-release only now through October 12. Season will open October 13
- Season opened June 1, closes January 1
- New regulation in Florida waters: Bag limit now includes a 2 fish per boat maximum
- New bag limit effective July 1: 8 fish per person, 50 maximum per boat
- New size limit effective July 1: 18 inches (up from 15 inches)
- New regulations effective July 23 in Federal waters: 5 fish per person within the 10 fish aggregate snapper bag limit, new minimum size limit of 18 inches