Capt. Terry Fisher
Greeting ‘fishing friends’! The waters of SW Florida and other ‘Ports of Call’ are full of new boaters and clients looking to escape the restrictions that the COVID-19 Pandemic and scare has created. It appears to be the best escape on the planet and many are re-kindling the flames by enjoying their boats and fishing equipment of yesteryear, while others are just getting into the recreational aspects of fishing and boating. Labor Day Weekend was a testament to the number of people boating, fishing and enjoying the waters. Political parades of boats were out in huge numbers to support their Presidential Candidate with flags waving and music playing.
Since my last article, 1st Mate Vicki and I took another three (3) day trip to Key West (with our boat in tow) to enjoy catching dolphin and numerous other species (Vicki is pictured with some of the catch from the waters off of Key West). The only caveat to going is that we have our Chocolate Lab (Moby Dick) to consider and he requires being ‘boarded’. That makes him sad and costs me money (making me sadder). However, I promised him he gets to go on some trips to the ‘Keys’ next summer and that seems to appease him for now.
Subsequent to the summer trips to the ‘Keys’, I took a number of clients out in Pine Island Sound and other areas to catch snook, redfish, seatrout, pompano and the likes (pictured are some of those catches with the clients). They also talked me out of giving them some dolphin fillets we brought back from the last visit to Key West and the Marquesas, as they follow Fish Face Charters on FaceBook and Instagram! I encourage everyone to get ‘on board’ and follow us as well.
The fishing has been really good here in SW Florida! Offshore; the red grouper and other reef species catches are good. However, for the better results one needs to fish the deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Waters from 85-110 foot have been the most productive. Reefs closer to shore in waters of 40-50 foot have been producing some good catches for a variety of snappers such as lane, vermillion and gray. Permit and other species will cruise the reefs looking for a meal and with a little luck could produce a good day of fishing. Shrimps and squid are good choices for bait. Be sure and use circle hooks when fishing the reefs. Be cognizant of the law, including requirements for fish sizes and harvest restrictions). I suggest that to insure the best possible chances for a good offshore day is to load up on chum. The fact is: no chum, little to no fish! Lots of chum and continuous use of chum will provide the best opportunity for all reef and migratory species. Instead of $50 for beer, spend it on chum!
Inshore fishing has been really good in the mornings compared to the hot afternoons. Recently we have experienced extremely warm coastal waters and record to nearly record daily heat. Heat indexes have been brutal after high noon. Moreover, afternoon summer heat will slow the bite down regardless of the tide levels or the species. I suggest fishing early morning and be finished by 1pm or earlier. All species are plentiful and active on the early morning bite. Snook, redfish and seatrout will provide no harvest opportunity, but are lots of fun to catch. Mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, sheepshead and flounder are basically the only inshore fish allowed to be harvested at this time and in the near future. Shrimp and pilchards should be the primary baits of choice for anglers.
The waters of SWFL are the top choice for recreational activities. Labor Day Weekend festivities brought lots of charters from families and friends. Clients from the east coast of Florida, Ohio and other venues joined me for the boat parades as well as fishing. I am looking forward to continue teaching people when, where and how to catch fish on their vessels. I am available as ‘Captain for Hire’ (by the hour) on vessels to ensure that everyone regardless of age or level of experience to enjoy boating and fishing the waters of SW Florida. I encourage everyone to join in Captain Terry’s ‘WONDERFUL WORLD OF FISHING’ to get the most out of the beautiful waters of Florida.