by Capt. Dave Stephens
As we progress further into summer it is very apparent that this one is much different than last year. The fishing has remained good during the past couple months on Charlotte Harbor. One thing I have noticed is the abundance of bait in the harbor. There are large schools of threadfin herring all over the harbor in the deeper waters. Along with these schools have been a large number of game fish. I have seen mackerel jumping on many occasions, also schools of jacks.
Tarpon fishing has been very good also. I have had good success locating feeding fish early in the morning, calm winds help also. Once located, a stealthy approach will help get a bite, also proper bait presentation helps. Since these guys often surface or roll, it makes locating them easier. Present your bait in front of the school, try not to throw in the middle. Often times you will not be the only boat fishing these fish. So be respectful, and treat other anglers as you want to be treated.
Snook have been picking up on the flats and mangrove shorelines. On the higher tides look for fish along mangrove shores and points that have good tidal flow. As the tides drop, try locating fish in pot holes adjacent to mangrove shorelines. Live bait works great this time of year to locate fish in the often-stained waters. Tossing out a few chummers will help locate feeding fish. Also look for fish to begin to move into deeper structure. Areas such as residential canals will be holding good numbers of fish.
One of the biggest questions of fall will be the red fishing. It’s looking like we are going to have a good fall for reds. Clean water in the passes has brought some schools to the flats. One of my favorite ways is to locate schools of mullet. As mullet move along the flats they stir up the bottom and the food sources for reds. On the higher tides, mangrove shorelines with nice cover will hold good numbers of fish. As the tides fall, look for fish on bars and in pot holes. Reds this time of year aren’t known to be picky eaters. So, it’s up to you on bait. If you don’t want to waste your time locating live bait, shrimp will work just fine. Around the bushes I like fishing a jig head. Fishing the open flats or around bars, I’ll fish under a popping cork, to keep bait out of grass. Try to adjust your bait just above the bottom.