Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Red fish bite has been on fire!

The red fish bite has been on fire. Schools of fish can be found from Estero Bay all the way up through Charlotte Harbor. Low tide is the best time to search for these fish. You'll find them moving across the flats in schools, feeding and pushing a wake as they are cruising. You can also find them mixed in with schools of mullet along the flats and along the edges of the mangroves and oyster bars. Throwing top water lures in the early morning has been producing nice fish. As the sun gets higher, switch over to a gold spoon and soft plastics. These fish will not pass up a live bait, as long you get it in front of them. On the higher stages of the tide, fish potholes and mangroves using live chum to get the bite going. Pilchards on corks or cut pinfish will also  do the trick. Snook fishing has also been consistent. Throwing a handful of dazed pilchards at the edge of the mangroves will show if the snook are there and hungry. You will hear that signature popping sound as the snook chase you baits. Free lined pilchards or floated under a popping cork will get their attention.  Fall time is my favorite time of year to fish, as cooler temperatures in the air and water really turns the bite on. Bait has been plentiful around the bridges and off the beach so get out there and bend some rods!!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sharks, Snook & Snapper

Over the last several weeks there have been a good amount of bull sharks in the back bay. Use the current that flows from the flats to the edges of drop offs and channels to carry a blood scented chum line right to the noses of big bull sharks. You'll have to give them some time and they'll come in. In addition to chum, macrole and bonita also make great bait.
Snook have been hitting hard as they start into post spawn and will be on the move. Right now there are still plenty to catch. Live pinfish and white bait seem to work best; and can be found along the beaches, passes, and inlets.
There have also been good numbers of mangrove spapper in our area; which always make for a tasty meal. We have had some good size snapper up to 17 inches located in only 4 ft. of water. Live chumming will turn them on. Be ready to downsize your hook and leader as they can be a picky opponent.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Up & coming junior anglers

The focus for Florida Native Fishing Charters this week has been on educating junior anglers @ Reel Florida Fishing Camp. Anglers meet at the Pink Shell Marina  each morning and head out on the water to practice their skills. They have caught a wide variety of species including jack crevalle, spotted sea trout, mangrove snapper, lane snapper & snook. Anglers are learning everything they need to know about these fish and review their knowledge during the "Lip Rippin Review" in the afternoon. They are able to identify saltwater regulations including bag limit and slot size, what bait works best, habitats where these species live, best fishing conditions including tides and weather, & what knots and rigs to use. For more pictures and info about camp check out the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/reelfloridafishingcamp .

Capt. Randy Hutto

Monday, May 11, 2015

Tarpon are still here

Big fish have been lurking about! Tarpon have been the main focus over the last few weeks and will continue to be in the upcoming few as well. Large numbers of fish are moving up and around the beaches and around the passes. We've even caught a few up the sound. In my opinion, tarpon are one of the most addictive fish to catch. Although no food value for us, there is nothing like seeing a fish that size coming out of the water repeatedly and peeling off the line from your reel!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Warming Up

Weather is warming up and so is the bite. With the opening of snook season, they have been the main focus of this week's charters. Nice fish, a few even over slot, are being caught as they're moving into the bays and out of their winter homes. Live chumming has been the key to getting them on a good bite. Using 30-40 flouro carbon liter on 2/0 and 3/0 circle hooks has worked fine. Baits of choice have been live white bait (pilchards and thread fins). The thread fins are moving in and around the passes and the white bait has moved onto the flats which will take a bit of chumming to get them in. When targeting the snook, you should expect to hook up with some pretty big jack crevalle. Although not great to eat, they are great action on light tackle.
Near shore action has been picking up as well. If you find the birds working the bait, there are usually spanish mackerel to follow. Near shore wrecks and reefs will also be holding these fish along with some snappers and the occasional king fish. Sharks are also following these fish and if you hang a chum bag over it'll bring the spanish mackerel right in. Free lining shrimp or pilchards will catch all three of these species. A short piece of wire, may be needed to keep the toothier critters on.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Winter in Florida isn't so bad...

Typical weather patterns the past few weeks have been windy days, cold mornings, and slightly warmer afternoons as a result of cold fronts passing through. The constant change in weather can stir the fish up and change the bite from day to day. This time of year people like to visit our great state, looking for a chance to warm up, catch some fish, and serve it for dinner. So let's talk table fare.

Our sheepshead are different from those caught up north. They are a mild tasting fish with a white filet that are great fried, broiled or grilled. They can be found along mangrove edges, oyster bars, and on near shore reefs and rock piles. Their preferred bait is shrimp on a knocker rig, tipped on a jig head or just on a 1/0 hook with a split shot.They really like fiddler crabs as well and are very crafty at stealing your bait.

Redfish are great broiled or blackened, especially on the grill. Lately they have been eating white bait, cut pin fish, or mullet and live shrimp. Floating a cork along the mangrove edges around points and creek mouths with current has worked well. I have caught a few on the edges of oyster bars that meeting grass flats as well.

If you like good action, and need to keep the kids entertained, then trout are what you want to hunt. Drop offs on the edge of grass flats in 2-6 ft. of water will hold these fish. Popping corks with live shrimp have been the trick to get the bite started. The bigger fish have also been eating live white bait. Because sea trout are a fatty fish, make sure to cut the fillets in finger sized pieces when choosing to fry them.

Good luck hunting down your next meal and warming up in the afternoon sun.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mixed Bag

This week's trip saw a lot of species coming into the boat. Before water temperatures dropped into the 60's, snook were still biting well. Live chumming mangrove points and moving water along creeks were the best ways to locate them. Still using the free lining method with 30 lb test and a 3/0 circle hook produced fish with live pilchards. Good numbers of trout were in 4-6 feet of water over grass flats with spotty bottom. Look for these fish to be laying in sandy holes near the edges of the grass and drop offs. Live shrimp gets them going and bigger fish were caught on live pilchards. Trout love the sound of a popping cork; use that to your advantage when fishing an area to help bring them in. Spots that you were catching snapper in are now seeing lots of sheep head. They like rocky and oyster bottoms that are lying next to mangroves. They prefer shrimp or fiddler crab on a number 1 hook and light leaders with a split shot. Most red fish caught this week were either just under or just over slot. They are eating both shrimp and pilchards. I have been seeking these fish at higher stages of the tide in creek mouths deep in the mangroves. Fish were caught on the bottom with a split shot and using a popping cork. As water temperature continue to cool down and cold fronts continue to move through make sure you slow down your fishing and give the fish a chance to come out and eat.