From SWFL to the Florida Keys

by Captain Terry Fisher 

June is a great month for both inshore and offshore species here in SW Florida. I like the ‘inshore’ for redfish, snook and seatrout and ‘offshore’, for groupers and snappers. June tides bring lots of bait, strong currents, and daily opportunities to catch all inshore species. Offshore does the same but will require longer runs for larger fish as the water temperatures rise.

June is also the month to consider targeting your ‘fish of a lifetime’ or a species on your bucket list that have avoided your hook, or you have not taken the time to put forth the effort to target and catch. Trust ‘yours truly’; age is not the obstacle! I witness both young and old become good at fishing and catching. The way to be successful is to get out there and work at it. Charter Captain’s (like myself) call this effort, ‘time on the water’.

Big Snook are in the passes and just off the beaches. The points with current and deeper current cuts in the passes will most likely prove to be more productive, especially if they have additional structure such as trees, stumps, and rocks. Don’t overlook docks and railroad truss bridges. Other good snook areas are along the mangroves.

Redfish will be found on incoming tides under the docks along the passes and points of islands. They will hold up in potholes of the grass and sand flats on low tides and move to the mangrove islands with the incoming tide to follow mullet that expose oyster clusters in the sand and around the mangroves. These oyster clusters are home to small crabs and shrimps that redfish like to eat.

Seatrout will be throughout in about 3-5ft. of water over the grass flats (Turtle Grasses). They will be plentiful as will the lady fish and catfish. FWC recently opened seatrout harvest to 3 per person or no more than a total of 6 per vessel. All must be a minimum of 15”-19” with only one fish over 19” in the aggregate total.

Reef and pelagic species are abundant in our waters. Winds permitting, longer offshore runs of 30-40 miles out in deeper water of 100 to 130 feet may prove to be a worthwhile endeavor providing harvest of yellowtail, mangrove, lane, vermillion snappers together with a variety of other species such as black, gag, red grouper, african pompano, cobia and red snapper. Be knowledgeable of the harvesting restrictions on each and every species. Reefs in shallower water will provide action as well but may not be as productive for larger fish. However, it is a much easier and safer venue. When fishing offshore, be sure to take more chum than beer! Remember this motto: ‘When you out of chum, you out of business especially with yellowtail snapper.


Fortunately, the ‘Keys’ are located close enough for SW Floridian Anglers to enjoy as well. Both the Gulf and Atlantic sides offer most of the same specie year-round, but east coast fishing is different, and I love an occasional chance to mix things up to enjoy different locations, fishing opportunities and utilizing different techniques trolling.

I have been fishing the east coast for a number of years now. While other areas along the south Atlantic seaboard offer numerous opportunities, but all in all, I prefer the Keys for the beauty of the water that offers lots of marine activities replicating island life of the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

This June, I am heading back to Marathon to fish for dolphin fish (dorado/mahi mahi), tuna, yellowtail snapper and a variety of other pelagic and reef species. June is a big migration month for mahi. There are several fishing tournaments scheduled during June because of the heavy migration of dolphin headed north. I trailer my boat and hopefully the winds will cooperate for a month of fishing and enjoying a change of pace. I have several clients wanting to join me, but the winds will be the variable and those anglers will need to have the flexibility within their schedules to book on a short notice, based on a reliable weather report. The larger dolphin fish will accompany the migration and that will offer a mahi of a lifetime, for some great action and eating.

I work closely with proven fishing guides such as Jay Rodriquez of Salty Native Charters – Jay grew up in Key West and spends much of the summer in Marathon. Captain Jay knows the area like the back of his hand and he and I will enjoy a few fishing trips together, as we both will be in Marathon at the same time. Jay and I work closely together year-round to insure we are able to handle all charter request for both SW Florida and in the ‘Keys’ during the summer months. However, while in the Keys, we do prefer to go offshore for dolphin fish, tuna, wahoo, groupers and snappers.

This is Captain Terry Fisher of Fish Face Charters LLC (www. wishing everyone ‘tight’ lines. Email me at or call me direct at 239-357-6829. I am available by the hour (on your vessel) as Captain for Hire, providing safety, navigational instructions along with fishing locations and fishing techniques both inshore and offshore.