fishing Forecast

  • 05/29/2020 5:49 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Summer Doldrums
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    Hot summer days in Central Florida are brutal, so wise anglers and the fish will take advantage of the cool nights, early morning and late evening hours to feed and stock their prey.  So, adjust your routine in June, July, and August, by fishing at night, during the predawn hours, and in the late afternoon after work and reap the rewards of the summertime fishing bonanza.

    Look for the tarpon and shark numbers to increase along the beach, and let us not forget about the schools of large jack carvalle and the tripletail as both fisheries are cranking up.  Remember, snook season closes this week, so let’s give them a chance to relax a bit.

    When the summer doldrums set in, the waters clear, and the seas flatten out, the window of opportunity opens for smaller boats, so near-shore opportunities are typically the best you’ll see all year along the beach.  June is the time of year when the kingfish move in close shadowing schools of Atlantic menhaden (pogies) along the beach and in the Port Canaveral buoy line, and slow trolling live pogies can result in some outstanding catches.

    Offshore, look for the dolphin bite to slow as the schools begin to spread out.  The kingfish concentration will remain good along the inshore reefs and wrecks of 8A Reef and Pelican Flats, so again slow trolling with live pogies will produce the best action.  Additionally, bottom fishing will remain good for snapper and grouper until the first summer squall (hurricane) blows in and muddies up the water.

    On the flats, focus your efforts between 5am and 9am, and in the late afternoon after the thunderstorms dissipate.  Night fishing will also produce descent catches of sea trout. When fishing the flats at night, I prefer fishing real slow with glow in the dark shrimp imitation baits like the DOA Glow Shrimp.  If you can only fish during the heat of the day, target the docks with deepwater access.  In the early morning look for trout and redfish up in the skinny water around concentration of bait, and toss them your favorite top water plug. 

    Remember as the days heat up, long battles will kill fish, so if you plan on targeting large fish please step up your tackle to shorten the battle.  Also, dissolved oxygen levels are low, so leave them in the water as much as possible, and revive them completely before releasing them.

    As always, if you need more information or have questions, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters
    407-416-1187 on the water

  • 05/29/2020 5:44 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Gotta Love It!
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    Fishing will continue to be outstanding for about anything anglers will want in June. The inshore and back bays will be full speed for snook, redfish, and trout. The nearshore fishermen will have plenty of tarpon, permit, and cobia to play with. Finally, those taking the long runs offshore will have grouper, snappers, porgies, and more. June typically begins our summer rains that will occur sometimes in the early morning hours, but certainly in the late afternoons. Humidity starts to get high and having a good lightning app now becomes important.

    Snook went through their spawn last month in my area, so they will now be found moving along our beaches, back bays, and nearshore wrecks regularly for the next four months. Redfish will be more abundant early mornings and just before sundown on the grassy flats. The top water bite is my go too now and I will walk the dog until my arms are tired during these time frames. Trout can be found in all the grass to sand transition areas usually in two too four feet of water. Popping corks with a DOA shrimp works fine and is easy for customers to do.

    The nearshore waters are still teaming with tarpon and should continue that way until things cool down come November. If tarpons not you thing you can always go out to the wrecks and catch permit and a possible cobia when conditions are right. Crabs will be the best bet for the permit and can be caught in most of our passes during the strong outgoing tides, especially those in the evening. There will be other opportunities in the 20 to 50 foot range as snappers, trigger fish, flounder, and even pompano can be your bi-catch.

    Those taking the long runs out to 100 feet of water “about 40 miles” will be greeted with lots of action. Gag grouper, red grouper, aj’s, multiple types of snappers, and porgies will be just some of the quarry. Using shrimp, pinfish, squid, or grunts are just a few of the typical baits that will be used. Depending on how strong the tide is out there will dictate whether you will anchor or drift during these times. Some days there is a need for 6-8 oz of weight and other times an once or two will be plenty. Do not discard trying flutter jigs in these areas as well, as they can sometimes out fish live bait.

    Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper Fort Myers beach


  • 05/29/2020 5:41 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Top targets for June- Redfish, Trout, Snook, and Tarpon
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    COVID-19 has changed our lives so far this year. As things continue to open around the Treasure Coast, follow the guidelines and have fun this month. June brings about hot summer days. It is a time to get out early or late in the day and avoid the afternoon heat. Winds will be the calmer of the year so far and water temperatures will be in the nineties some days. June is always one of my favorite months to enjoy the fishing in the area.

    Redfish, trout, snook and tarpon will be the big targets this month. Redfish will be hanging around mangroves, grass flats and docks. DOA shrimp or CAL shad tails are the perfect lures to target reds. Most of the redfish will be slot sized fish. Trout will be feeding on the grass flats both early and late in the day. The DOA Deadly Combo is a great way to search out the sea trout on the flats. Top water lures are the best choices for trout with switching to DOA paddle tails once the sun rises high.

    Snook will be active around deeper water like bridges, inlets and sea walls. Live bait or DOA Terror Eyz are great ways to fish for snook. Don’t forget that the season is closed, so handle the fish carefully and get them released quickly. Night fishing will also be one of the best times to snook fish. Look for tarpon along the beaches, inlets and channels. Live and cut bait or DOA Terror Eyz are some of the popular choices for tarpon.

    Remember, as always, fishing is not just another hobby……it’s an ADVENTURE!

    Good Fishing,

    Captain Charlie Conner

  • 05/29/2020 5:34 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Stepping out
    by Captain Michael Manis

    The last couple of months have been tough and by the amount of boats on the water lots of us were ready to get out when May finally arrived. We still had some wind to deal with but hopefully it was a step in the right direction.

    Now, with anticipation of diminishing winds, it’s time to come out of the backcountry for a couple months and head to the beaches. Of course, it’s prime tarpon season and groups of fish can be found anywhere off the beaches from Redfish Pass at Captiva Island to Stump Pass outside Lemon Bay. Sometimes, they get up tight to the beach; but generally they’re out a bit deeper. Because the fish can be seen from quite a distance, it’s classic sight fishing. The goal is to set up so that you intersect their path.

    For most anglers, small live blue crabs or threadfin herring are the bait of choice. In my case, I like to set up in one of two places, Murdock Point off Cayo Costa and the flat just north and adjacent to Gasparilla Pass, where the sandy bottom provides better vision allowing me to position myself for a shot with a fly rod. Here, I like a 3/0 Puglisi white and yellow baitfish pattern and a weight forward floating line.  

    In addition, because of the summer spawn, the beaches are full of snook providing some of the best catch and release sight-fishing opportunities all year. At this time, the fish are usually in or just outside the trough tight to the beach and it’s a real opportunity for anglers that fish from shore. For access, the beaches of Sanibel Island can’t be beat. Many times, fishing from shore is an advantage as it’s easy to spook these wary game fish while in the water.  The beaches of Cayo Costa are one of my favorite areas to target on fly throwing small white baitfish patterns.

    If the wind won’t cooperate, the outside bars that line the harbor offer some pretty good snook fishing too. In particular, the bar that runs from Turtle Bay past Bull Bay to Cayo Pelau at the southern end of Gasparilla Sound can fish well. There are enough deep cuts adjacent to the bar system that these fish have no need to hit the beaches.

    With the water temperatures rising, I’d look for redfish on shorelines adjacent to the intracoastal anywhere from Lemon Bay to Pine Island Sound. With every incoming tide, the adjacent passes and intracoastal pump clean oxygenated water to these shorelines.

    In the harbor, sharks can be found around all the artificial reef structures like the one off Cape Haze Point. Bulls, lemons, blacktips, and hammerheads are all possible. 

    Until next month, good tides.

    Captain Michael Manis
    Punta Gorda Fly Charters

  • 04/29/2020 6:17 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    We will get through this!
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    This is a great time of the year here in Southwest Florida. Weather is just perfect, and so is the fishing. There’s lots of options ranging from the offshore waters all the way into the skinny back bays and creeks. Tarpon fishing is now outstanding, as it started up early this year. We’ll be able to catch permit, cobia, and sharks regularly throughout the near shore waters. The back-water trips will be full of snook, redfish, and trout as who doesn’t want a backcountry slam. Offshore guys will continue to catch an array of good eating fish often.

    The tarpon spawn is full speed and lots of anglers will be chasing them up and down the coast. Crabs that are about three inches wide on 5/o circle hooks with 50lb leaders will do the trick. Threadfin, pilchards, and catfish tails also work well. Permit are another great fish to target after a few tarpon have been caught, and will be found on most of the local wrecks for many months to come. Those same wrecks that hold the permit will also have cobia on them. So have a rod ready to pitch a jig or live bait at a cobia when he shows up, if you’re not ready you may not get him.

    The bays, creeks, and beaches are an excellent place to spend time these days. Snook can be seen cruising the beaches, often within feet of the shore. The pilchard schools are thick now and using them or something that mimics it works best. Pompano will also be moving along these beaches and will usually be out a bit deeper. Jigs tipped with shrimp are my go too, and having a rod ready to go for snook or pompano will keep clients busy. Redfishing in our bays and creeks is another option especially if the winds coming from a westerly direction. Pilchards or live shrimp are two of my favorites and I’ll start around the oyster bars and docks on the low tides, then work my way into the mangrove shorelines as the tide rises. Trout will be found on almost all the open flats especially those with nice grassy bottoms in 2-5 feet.

    Offshore it’s grouper full speed now, usually out past 100 feet, but you’ve got a chance inside too 80. Mangrove snapper will be good, especially during the night along with yellowtail. Mangrove snappers up to 10 pounds will be caught often along with porgies, lane snappers, and a few triggerfish. Those anglers that get out past 120 feet will find African pompano, gag and black grouper, blackfin tuna, and amber jacks if you know where to go.

    Tight lines, Capt. Greg Stamper Fort Myers, Fla


  • 04/29/2020 6:13 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Hopeful Optimism
    by Captain Michael Manis                                                              

    After what we’ve been through the last two months, hopefully we can all feel comfortable getting back out because without a doubt, this is one of the best months to be on the water. Bait, scaled sardines and threadfin herring, will be scattered throughout the area, water temperatures will be right, and all kinds of game fish species will be active. Tarpon, redfish, snook, sharks, cobia, jack crevalle, spotted sea trout, and Spanish mackerel are all possible.

    Look for tarpon on the beaches and around all Gulf Island passes. Shark fishing should be good in the harbor near artificial reefs like the one off Cape Haze Point. Cobia should be on outside bar systems like the east and west walls


    Due to warming water temperatures, look for the best spotted sea trout bite to be in a bit deeper water, three to four feet, just off the intracoastal waterway. Spanish mackerel should be in the vicinity off all harbor markers as well as artificial reef systems.

    Redfish could be roaming just about any flat or shoreline. Mullet schools are a good indicator when hunting redfish. They like sticking close as the mullet kick up all kinds of free scraps from the bottom.

    Most likely, I’ll spend my time working backcountry shorelines for snook or setting up off the beach waiting on strings of tarpon. This is a great time to sight fish big snook as they’re on the move in full spring transition. By on the move, I’m referring to actively cruising shorelines looking for food. After the slim pickings of winter, they need to fatten up as the summer spawn approaches.

    After looking inside for tarpon last month, I’ll slip outside to the beach now. For throwing fly, I like coming out Captiva Pass and working my way north to Murdock Point outside Cayo Costa. I like to set up in five to ten feet adjacent to sand for better visibility. I’ll anchor with a quick release system that allows me to free my anchor if needed upon hookup. The anchor’s attached to a float for retrieval.

    Here, it’s important to work with other anchored skiffs and courtesy is key. Take a few minutes to survey where every one is posted up and find a spot where you won’t cut someone off. The fish are typically heading north toward Boca Grande Pass. Even in the back of the line, you’ll get your shots. Here, the skiffs ahead of you will even let you know when a group is headed your way and on a calm clear day you can see them coming from a long way off.

    Until next month, good tides.

    Captain Michael Manis

    Punta Gorda Fly Charters

  • 04/29/2020 6:08 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Tarpon will make their move into the river
    by Capt. Charlie Conner

    It has been a strange year so far and most of us are wondering how this COVID-19 will affect us in May.  I hope everyone has fared will so far and hope the coming months sees things get settled down.

    I like to target redfish in May.  Some good choices for lures will be gold spoons and the DOA 2 ¾” shrimp.  Redfish will be active on the grass flats, mangroves and docks around the river.
    Snook fishing will be good this month with night or early morning the best times to fish.  The season will close May 31st.  Inlets, bridges, seawalls and docks are all great places to target snook.

    Look for trout to hit top water lures at first light.   As the sun rises move to deeper water in the two to four-foot range   I have had great success with CAL jerk baits and Deadly Combos this year in place of live shrimp.  Look for clean water and good grass to have your best results.

    Fish bridges and docks for sheepshead, snapper and drum.  Jacks and ladyfish will be just about everywhere creating havoc all over the river.   Beaches will produce whiting with catches of Spanish mackerel and bluefish along with some pompano.  Tarpon will begin their trek into the river.  May is a great month to fish the Treasure Coast!

    As always, remember, fishing is not just another's an ADVENTURE!!

    Good Fishing and Be Safe,
    Captain Charlie Conner

  • 04/29/2020 6:04 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Catfish are main target on St. Johns River
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    As spring wanes and water temperatures grow hotter, so do the fishing opportunities along the Lagoon Coast of Florida. May is one of the best fishing months on east Florida's coastal waters, so make sure your lunch is packed, and I will see you on the water. 

    Near-shore along the beaches, concentrate your efforts in the areas of active bait pods (pogies). Typically, when you see concentrated areas of bait with birds feeding on the surface, big fish are just as active underneath. Species feeding on these pods include tarpon, jack crevalle, redfish, cobia, and sharks. Near the end of the month, you can add kingfish into the mix. Also, tripletail and flounder numbers should be improving around the Port Canaveral buoys. At the inlets and beaches, Spanish mackerel, snook, redfish, jack crevalle, bluefish, flounder, sheepshead, and black drum are just some of the species available this month.  With the lack of a cold winter, the snook bite has and will remain hot croakers serving as the optimal bait.

    On the lagoon flats, redfish and spotted sea trout will provide the majority of the action for light tackle and fly anglers. For sea trout, fish your favorite top-water plugs at first light in about two feet of water concentrating in areas were baitfish are active. After the morning top-water bite slows, switch to your favorite soft plastic jig fished in three to five feet of water along the edges of flats or spoil islands. The water has warmed to the point where the jack crevalle, ladyfish, snook, and tarpon will begin to show up in good numbers. In addition, there is a huge showing of finger mullet this season, so it's time to break out your DOA Bait Busters. Redfish and other predators find the Bait Busters difficult to resist when retrieved quickly just under the surface of the water in areas of concentrated mullet schools. Remember when using the technique; keep your lure moving until you feel the fish on the line. 

    On the St Johns River, channel catfish are my primary target in May.  As our rainfall increases and the river level rise, large catfish move off the connecting lakes to spawn in the current.   In this situation, I like to position my boat in a deep bend and fish with freshly peeled shrimp on the bottom.  These fish pull hard and are quite tasty. 

    As always, if you need information or have any questions, please contact me. 

    Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters will reopen May 4, 2020 with the following COVID-19 Mitigation Plan – Capt. Tom Van Horn

    Our world as we have known it has changed drastically due to the pandemic, and as we adjust to the new norm it is up to us to help mitigate the spread of this virus.  With this said, we plan to open for business May 1st utilizing the following protocols for the safety of both clients and crew for the time being. These measures will only be temporary and will be adjusted as time allows: 

    • 1.     Clients will be required to bring their own food and drink for the day and crew and client food will be stored in separate locations.
    • 2.     All clients and crew will wear facial covers (buffs)when social distance cannot be maintained.
    • 3.     If clients are not from a family unit, social distancing must be maintained as much as possible.  In this situation, a maximum of two anglers per charter will be enforced.
    • 4.     If clients are a family unit, social distancing is not required, and face coverings can be remover.
    • 5.     Hand sanitizer will be available on deck for all to use.
    • 6.     Both the vessel and tackle will be sanitized after each charter.
    • 7.     Clients who are not within a family unit will not share tackle (rods and reels).
    • 8.     No clients or crewmembers displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will be permitted to board the vessel.

    Good luck and good fishing, 

    Captain Tom Van Horn
    Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters

  • 03/24/2020 4:34 PM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Spring Fishing Highlights
    by Capt. Tom Van Horn

    Some highlights for fishing on Florida's east central coast during the spring are the weather is still cool and enjoyable, the waters warming up and the fish begin to shift into their pre-spawning feeding mood. Some examples of this behavior are the cobia moving north up the Atlantic coast, and the spotted sea trout transitioning into their traditional spawning areas on the inshore flats. Like many saltwater species, the cobia and sea trout spawn in aggregations or groups, not on beds. In the case of the cobia their traditional spawning areas are off the central east coast of the US, and in the northern Gulf of Mexico. As the fish migrate north, they burn energy and feed heavily along the way, hence the cobia run we experience each spring.

    On the flats, the smaller male sea trout move up into the shallows first, and then call the females in to spawn by drumming loudly just after dusk when the conditions are right, usually on the first new moon or full moon in April, and then again on the new and full moons throughout the summer.

    As we move in near-shore, tripletail should become more dependable, and look for late season cobia as well. The cobia run thus far has been slow; with bait pods (Atlantic menhaden or pogies) arriving late this year. As the bait pod move in, look for Spanish mackerel, bluefish, redfish, giant jack crevalle, sharks, and smoker kings. Concentrate your efforts in areas of bait pods. When you see areas of bait balled up and pushed to the surface, there is a high probability that feeding gamefish are pressuring the bait from below.

    In the inlets, look for good numbers of flounder, sheepshead and black drum around structure such as jetties and docks, and Spanish mackerel, blues, and large jacks in open water. Also look for the nighttime snook and tarpon action to heat up in the Sebastian Inlet.

    On the lagoon flats, fish the early morning and late evening with your favorite top water plugs for extreme topwater sea trout action, and soft plastics and jigs in deeper water, 2 to 3 feet after the midday sun settles in. Remember, April is one of the months when larger sea trout are egg laden for the spawn, so it's very important to handle and release the larger females with great care. If you are looking for snook and tarpon action inside, the Sebastian River will be the place to go.

    Finally, freshwater largemouth and striped bass action has been and will heat up on the St Johns River. Look for schooling bass at first light feeding on threadfin shad from the Osteen Bridge to Lake Harney. My favorite locations are in the river bends near the power lines at Lemmon Bluff and at confluences of Lake Harney and the River. A good way to locate these schooling fish is to look for wading birds congregating along the shore. When in the feeding mode, these fish will take small plastic jerk baits like the 4-inch DOA Shad Tail, most small swim plugs, and small live shiners. Also, as the river rises and the velocity increases, the larger spawning channel catfish (freshwater cobia) move out of the big lakes into the river to spawn.

    As always, if you need information or have any questions, please contact me.

    Good luck and good fishing,

    Captain Tom Van Horn

  • 03/21/2020 9:28 AM | Ron Presley (Administrator)

    Crazy as it is
    by Capt. Greg Stamper

    Well, March turned into April this year as social distancing became exactly what guides do. The fishing was unbelievable as the waters continued to warm with no cold fronts. We got to 76 degrees by late March making things excellent. The strong winds we had earlier in the month finally let down, giving all fisherman a glimpse of what’s coming forward. The early Spring brought everything back ahead of time this year. Those fishing offshore, finally had their first die down of winds, giving them a chance to go out deep. Near shore guides were loving the warmup as fish began their migrations early. The back-bay guides continue to reap the benefits of the closers and have been blessed with some unaccepted visitors.

    The back bays and shallow water fisheries have been nothing short of outstanding, and will continue to be that way. Redfish are being caught daily from 20” all the way up to 32” plus. Redfish can be found almost anywhere right now, and shrimp or cut baits will work best as spreads for reds will work all month. Snook are already out of their Winter haunts and ready to eat before they get ready for their spawn. This could possibly happen earlier than July this year, so be ready. Trout are finally becoming a staple again, which is nice as guides can now get the backcountry slam done easily again. Lastly, we still have a chance in April to catch big black drum as they enter our bays in search of all the crabs pouring out. Look for them near passes and flats near deep water and you can impress a few clients.

    Nearshore, permit will be pouring in all month. Permit are crab eaters so if you don’t have them, don’t bother. This is the start of the big boys, and fish up to 40lb’s can be expected so bring the right gear. Wearing out a big permit is never a good thing, and you’ll probably get it eating by a goliath if you go light on the tackle. Cobia will be your by-catch when permit fishing, so have a rod ready for them as they will just show up. It’s tarpon time, and a bunch were caught last month so expect a bunch in April.

    Offshore started up at the end of March, as the winds finally allowed fisherman to get out far. Far is 30 plus miles here, and those at the end of the month that got to 110 plus crushed it. This pattern will only get better as we move through April. Grouper, big mangrove snappers, lane snappers, African pompano, AJ’S, and porgies will be your quarry.

    Tight lines,
    Capt. Greg Stamper, Fort Myers Beach

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