Boca Grande – Charlotte Harbor Fishing After Hurricane Irma

Boca Grande Pass Goliath Grouper

FISHING AFTER IRMA

Well we’ve been waiting for it southwest Florida… Irma punched us straight in the teeth, punched us in the gut and while we were bent over kicked us right square in the butt. But we’re Floridians, and you know what we do after a hurricane right? We go fishing! We may have an addiction or are just absolutely nuts but we can’t live in the fishing capitol of the world and have something like wind keep us from our passion. And the bite in and around Boca Grande is hot. As everyone drags themselves back to their feet after a Mike Tyson one, two punch we can at least take a little comfort in knowing our communities are there for each other in this time of need.

INSHORE CHARLOTTE HARBOR

We’re still seeing large schools of reds roaming around a good portion of Charlotte Harbor. This is the time of year when the big schools of reds are chewing their way through the bays and out on the flats and if you keep your eyes open while running you’ll be able to see them “pushing” big wakes as you pass by.  We’ve been hauling in upper slot and over slot fish from these schools. Quick baits are the way to go. A Johnson silver minnow or jig head and soft plastic are almost guarantee hook ups. Chunked ladyfish or live pinfish are also great baits as well.

OFFSHORE BOCA GRANDE AND ENGLEWOOD

Nearshore, look for that definitive current line in the water, find the bait and work along the outside edges of those lines and if you don’t get bit there… fan cast around and try to note where hook ups happen.  We’ve had a really good mix bag of upper size spanish mackerel and bonito from just outside of the passes and out to 1 ½ miles. Another good way to find fish right now is just look for the birds.

Offshore reports are still nothing less than excellent as always. Guys are tearing up the grouper and snapper on most of our known reefs and hard bottom. Gag and red grouper on the near shore reefs are still around but dirty water can hamper them. You might need to push out or look for cleaner water to hook up with keeper size fish.  You may have to make a few moves to find the fish you want so drop it down and drift over the area you’ve marked as a potential hot spot. Something else you may want to look for on your machine is not only that “live bottom” but the bait and other smaller fish as well. Another thing I’ve had to do is alter the gain on my sounder. There have been so many jellyfish and thermocline layers around I’ve been picking them up as smaller bait schools. So turn that auto setting off and manually set it to filter out those jellies…. especially if you have an older machine. But, the bite is hot out there and if you’re thinking of splashing the dive gear…. 12-14 miles is where you’ll find the color change and cleaner water.

FUN FISHING!

If you’re looking for some fast paced action… well you’re gonna enjoy the bite that’s happening right now. First, head out offshore a few miles and look for the schools of bait that are just outside and easily accessible. Don’t worry, you’ll know where they are because the birds are looking for them as well.  I’ve been throwing small spoons, stick baits and silver minnow’s and just about anything that has a hook on it around those pods and all kinds of things are crushing in those schools…. bonito, spanish mackerel, kings, sharks everything. You can’t miss them…just look for the birds and all the fish crashing bait.

If you’ve got your eye on landing a few, give us a call and we’ll “hook you up”. If you’re ready to get out and see how Kelly and I do it, give us a jingle at 941- 698- 0323. You may also find us on Facebook, Instagram or our web page www.floridainshorextream.com. So for now tight lines and y’all stay safe!!

Capt. Jesse McDowall
Florida Inshore Xtream Charter services
941-698-0323
www.floridainshorextream.com
[email protected]