Local Fishing Report

Reports Updated July 2018

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 you’ll find some gags on ledges and reefs in as little as 40 feet of water, but more keeper-sized fish will be landed in 60 to 70 feet of water, and the largest specimens will probably come from 90 feet or deeper.  Sometimes red grouper and gag are caught together, but gags are more likely to be found on ledges or wrecks than are red grouper.  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 hot and cold, it’ll be great 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 closed on June 1, opens August 1
  • New regulations: size limit is now 15″ fork length, bag limit is now one per person

Greater Amberjack

  • Season closedJune 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 opened June 1, closes January 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)

Mutton Snapper

  • 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