The much-anticipated opening of Gulf red snapper season arrives June 1, and with it a special Florida Sportsman Magazine report on the booming inshore snapper fishery along Florida’s Panhandle coastline. Find out where and how to catch tasty red snapper within sight of shore. Also in this issue, we check out summertime snook fishing in Southwest Florida, offshore trolling on the Southeast Coast, and freshwater action in some surprising locales. Plus, our Seminars, Departments and Action Spotter columns are loaded with timely, must-have advice you won’t find anywhere else.
What happens when big summer tides drain the grassflats? Millions of crabs are pulled out toward the open Gulf and Atlantic. Awaiting this seafood buffet are all kinds of gamefish, including giant tarpon and redfish. Veteran reported David Brown reveals insights into this seasonal fishery, “Pincer Movement,” with special focus on tarpon tactics honed in lower Tampa Bay. If casting lures is your game, you’ll also want to read about how Capt. Paul Hobby, in Fort Myers, targets snook year-round with artificials. If you’re a livebait man, learn how to chum sardines and other prime baits into castnet range, by reading the Inshore Seminar by Frank Sargeant.
June is a prime month for offshore fishing all around Florida. The weather is typically calm and stable, making it comfortable to run out to blue water in many kinds of fishing boats. For family anglers heading out in cuddies, bowriders and large cruisers, we have a special technique article on how to target dolphin, tuna and bottom fish with minimal gear and effort. Go “Cruisin’ for Fish” with Florida Sportsman staffers Chris Collins and Sam Hudson. Grouper and snapper seasons are open around the state, and that means it’s time for a refresher course in how to handle fish that don’t meet the minimum size. It’s in all of our best interests to ensure those “throwbacks” actually swim back to feed, grow and reproduce. Frank Sargeant offers some hints in the Offshore Seminar.
What Florida angler hasn’t looked into a suburban pond and wondered about the big, fat grass carp tailing along the shoreline, or the platter-shaped nesting bed of a tilapia? New saltwater fishermen are often perplexed by mullet cruising in a calm backwater, apparently sipping something off the surface. These fish are eating something, but it’s probably not what you think, and ordinary lures in your tackle box simply won’t cut it. Writer Tom Levine, with his inventive son, Ely, explore some effective hook-and-line tactics for catching “vegetarian” fish, in “Going Green.” For bass fishing traditionalists, Freshwater Seminar writer Brett Fitzgerald offers some tips for dodging the hot summer sun: Go fish the docks!
Departments and Action Spotter
The ever-present menace of fishing closures is a subject we’re always on top of, and this month, On the Conservation Front reporter Doug Kelly spotlights the conflicts of interest behind a proposal to close a big patch of reef in the Upper Keys. Dive charter operators and nameless Internet signators are pushing no-fishing status for the Snapper Ledge, and there’s reason to believe the federal government may bend to their whims. This month’s Action Spotter offers exclusive, in-depth profiles of local fishing hotspots around the state, including the Jupiter ledges, Gordon Pass in Naples, Dog Island Reef off St. George Island, and a secret tarpon creek not far from Melbourne. If you’re looking for far-flung adventures, check out our Tropical Roundup, with reports on tarpon action in Veracruz, Mexico, and bonefish action in Belize.