May 29-31

With Summer comes juvenile tarpon, and plenty of them, if you know where to look.

It has finally begun; the summer fishing pattern that is. We got rain this week that was much needed and that is going to be the normal for many months moving forward. The rains will make back bays, creeks, and rivers less salty and the fish will respond to that. Nearshore and offshore it is time to watch the skies and monitor the weather often, as strong thunderstorms will become common. Rains a good thing though as it cools things off and pushes fish in and out of areas usually hungry.

The back bays, rivers, and creeks are going to be good places to be. Snook, redfish, and trout are the typical targets and pilchards, or shrimp will be the go-to baits. The snook will be found in lots of places from the tiny creeks all the way out to some offshore wrecks. Redfish will be found anywhere you find mullet or what we call rain bait. Rain bait is basically tiny minnows that create a ripple effect on the water’s surface like that you see when it rains lightly. So, find those two things and start fishing.
The nearshore bite has been good for both tarpon and permit this week. Crabs continue to be the best bait for the big tarpon, but catfish tails, threadfins, and mullet have also work well for some. The tarpon have been in tight from Sanibel all the way up to Boca grand being the best. The permit have mostly been on wrecks from 35 to 50 feet. When permit fishing you’ll undoubtedly be harassed by goliath groupers, so be ready for that.

The offshore bite continues to be good. Mutton snappers took top billing this week with most of them in the 10 to20 pound class. Mangrove, lane, and yellowtail fishing is this weeks bi-catch so if you can get out past 80 feet I’d recommend giving it a go. Those fishing out past 100 feet ran into black fin tuna this week. The blackfins I saw at the cleaning station were about 10 pounds. A few boats this week reported catching them in as shallow as 60 feet, so keep your eyes open and you may see them skipping across the water somewhere.

Capt. Greg Stamper

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