Local Fishing Report

Reports Updated May 2018

Gulf of Mexico

Offshore anglers have lots of options this month. The spring run of Spanish mackerel and kings is on, meaning that schools of Spanish mackerel can be found around the passes and offshore bars where they’ll be mixed with bluefish, blue runners, ladyfish and jacks. The action on kings has been off and on, with the best action around areas of hard bottom, wrecks or artificial reefs. And we’ve seen several blackfin tuna in recent weeks while fishing for kings. 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 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 undersized red grouper and quite a few gags, for which the season is still closed until June 1.

Charlotte Harbor

Tarpon have moved into Boca Grande Pass and have triggered the annual silver king madness in that big inlet, a frenzy of fish and fishermen that will last at approximately two months. Boca Grande Pass receives a ton of publicity during tarpon season, but it is not the only place to catch a tarpon. Anglers fishing the deep holes in the harbor can catch tarpon without having to work around crowds of boats, and this fishery is getting underway now. Tarpon action will also be pretty good under the highway bridges at night in both the Peace and Myakka Rivers. Snook action on the flats has been steady as the fish continue to move out of the rivers and creeks, and there have been  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.

 

Fishing Season Updates

Triggerfish
Season opened on March 1, closes on June 1
New regulations: size limit is now 15″ fork length, bag limit is now one per person
Greater Amberjack
Season opened May 1, closes June 1, opens Aug. 1, closes Nov. 1
Snook
Season closed May 1, opens Sept. 1
Red Snapper
Season opens June 1, closes July  22 (for charter boats)
Season opens June 11, closes July 21 (for private boats)
Gag grouper
Season closed January 1
New Season opens June 1
Cobia
New regulation in Florida waters: Bag limit now includes a 2 fish per boat maximum
Sheepshead
New  bag limit effective July 1: 8 fish per person, 50 maximum per boat
Tripletail
New size limit effective July 1: 18 inches (up from 15 inches)