by Capt. Dave Stephens
Summer has arrived to South West Florida. That means several different things. First, and the most important, the fishing is at its best. During the summer months there are so many fish to target it is impossible to do it in a single day. So, you can plan multiple days on the water or pick your target species. Number two, it gets very hot. Make sure to bring plenty of liquids with you on the water, (water and not just beer). Number three, watch the weather. Afternoon thunder storms form very quickly and will have lightning. Keep an eye on the sky. With today’s technology you can keep up-to-date with your phone.
With the warmer water moving into Charlotte Harbor the King also makes his entrance. Tarpon are all over the harbor, from the beaches to the north end of the harbor. The biggest problem with tarpon fishing is the area you choose to fish them. If you are out on the beaches in the clear water, small blue crabs and herring are great bait. I highly recommend using a fluorocarbon leader. Moving in to the north end of the harbor, herring and ladyfish work very well; cut bait will also get a tarpon’s attention. If the area you are fishing has other boats fishing the same fish, and probably will, treat them as you would want to be treated, give them plenty of room.
Snook fishing has been very good this year. As summer gets in to full swing, snook will be getting ready to spawn. Barrier mangrove shorelines with good tide flow are great places to locate fish. The beaches will also have very good numbers of feeding fish. Live sardines and pin fish are great choices for bait. Mangrove snapper have been showing up on the deeper shorelines. These little guys in my opinion are some of the best eating fish in the harbor. They can be tough to catch in clear water. I recommend downsizing your leader and a smaller hook. When the summer rains darken the water, it makes for much easier snapper fishing. Also keep in mind fellow anglers, our snook, red and trout fishery is CATCH and RELEASE. Our lovelies are trying to recover from last year’s red tide. Check out FWC for any future information and updates. On your next fishing outing on Charlotte Harbor, don’t forget to bring plenty of water. Keep your eye on the sky for thunder storms and have a great time fishing.