Local Fishing Report

Reports Updated July 2019

Gulf of Mexico

Red grouper fishing peaks during the heat of the summer, which is right now!  Look for these chunky fish on flat limestone bottom in 60 to 100 feet of water, and expect to catch lane snapper, porgys and vermilion snapper too.  The “other” popular grouper in this region is gag, and sometimes red grouper and gag are caught together, but gags are more likely to be found on ledges or wrecks than are red grouper and during the summer they are more likely in deeper water.  If you’re fishing in more than about 120 feet of water you may find red snapper, and the recreational season on them is open until July 12.   Bottom fish aren’t the only game in town this month. Don’t be surprised if you see dolphin (mahi-mahi) under your boat since this is the most likely time of year for these fish to pay a visit to Southwest Florida, barracuda and a few smoker kings are holding over some of the wrecks and artificial reefs.

Charlotte Harbor

Windless summer days are perfect for finding tarpon rolling on the surface in Charlotte Harbor.  The inshore tarpon fishing in Charlotte Harbor will turn on now that spawning season is done and thousands of adult fish will disperse from the passes and move into the estuary.  The mid-harbor 20 foot holes, the mouth of the Myakka River and the north end of Matlacha Pass off Two Pines are all worth a look.  Shark fishing has been decent this summer.  Blacktips, blacknoses, Atlantic sharpnoses, hammerheads and bonnetheads have been holding in the deeper water in the harbor.  Snook have been found in locations all around the bay, providing some of  the best fishing of the year for them.  Trout fishing has been mediocre, it’ll be decent for a few days, then turn off.   Summer fishing for mangrove snapper is cranking up and good numbers of table-sized 12 to 14 inch fish can be found in the canals and creeks, at the artificial reefs and under some of the bridges.

Fishing Season Updates

Triggerfish

  • Season is closed, opens March 1, 2020
  • New regulations: size limit is now 15″ fork length, bag limit is now one per person

Greater Amberjack

  • Season opens August 1, 2019, closes Nov. 1, 2019

Snook

  • Emergency action by FWC:  Gulf coast from Hernando Beach to Naples, catch-and-release only now through May 31, 2020.  Season will next open on September 1, 2020.

Redfish

  • Emergency action by FWC:  Gulf coast from Hernando Beach to Naples, catch-and-release only now through May 31, 2020.  Season will open June 1, 2020.

Spotted Trout

  • Emergency action by FWC:  Gulf coast from Hernando Beach to Naples, no harvest of trout over 20 inches in length now through May 10, 2019.   All harvest is closed from  May 11, 2019 through May 31, 2020.  Season will open June 1, 2020.

Gag grouper

  • Season opened June 1, closes January 1

Cobia

  • New regulation in Florida waters: Bag limit now includes a 2 fish per boat maximum

Sharks

  • New  rules effective July 1:  must use non-offset, non-stainless circle hooks when targeting sharks in state waters, must have a permit for shark fishing from land, must carry a device capable of cutting hooks or leaders, cannot remove prohibited species from the water

Sheepshead

  • New  bag limit: 8 fish per person, 50 maximum per boat
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