by: Capt. Terry Fisher
June is a great month for fishing the Gulf Coast both inshore and offshore species here in SW Florida’s Gulf of Mexico. 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 a 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’.
Tarpon are still here in big numbers but it will be the last month this year for the opportunities to catch a big migratory fish. They will be headed north on their annual journey before diverting back down to their winter destinations in areas such as Mexico. They will not return this way until around next April.
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 off 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. 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!
June is also a great month for fishing the Atlantic and fortunately, the east coast is close enough for SW Floridian Anglers to enjoy as well. While both the Gulf and Atlantic offer the same species, the east coast is different with deep reefs and lots of Pelagic species within a reasonable distance from a ‘Port of Call’. I love every opportunity to change things up by fishing for mahi, tuna, wahoo, sailfish, which are not as readily available in the gulf waters. Of all of the Atlantic locations, I still prefer the ‘Keys’ for the beauty of the water replicating island life, of the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
It has been three (3) years now since 1st Mate Vicki and I fished the waters of the Florida Straits. As many of my friends and clients know, I am available as ‘Captain for Hire’ on other vessels to provide instructions. This year we are accompanying our good client and friend, Ron and Lucinda Defreitas, aboard their new 36’ Yellowfin to fish for mahi, mahi, wahoo, tuna, yellowtail snapper, grouper and a variety of other pelagic and reef species. June is a big migration month for mahi.
Our plan is to depart Ft. Myers Beach early in the morning on July 1 and arrive a few hours later at Key West. We have arranged for luxury accommodations at the Ocean Reef Resort which is equipped with a full-service marina. Wind and conditions permitting, our goal is to fish hard for three (3) days and then head out to the Marquesas to celebrate The 4th of July, relaxing and basking in the beautiful blue waters of the Florida Straits. We will stake out tents on one of the many sand bars, enjoying barbeque, snacks and drinks. We hope to return on the July 5th so to be back in Cape Coral to run charter requests. I am looking forward to helping Captain Ron ‘break-in’ that new boat of his!
Every year I look forward to the summer months when I can enjoy fishing the Atlantic. My favorite trips are when I am accompanied by my Chocolate Lab, ‘Moby Dick’. Unfortunately, he will not be making the above Key West run during the 4th of July Holiday.