As we enter the peak of summer heat and humidity it might seem like our options are limited. However, there are some decent opportunities as long as you’re prepared to get up early and be on the water before sunrise. Typically, the flat calm conditions make the boat ride worthwhile.  Most days, plan on being back for lunch.

The temptation to look for tarpon at first light in the upper harbor is tough to resist. From the 20 foot hole off the west wall up to the U.S. 41 and Myakka Bridges is the place to look. Even better, this is a short boat ride from any of four ramps: Laishley or Ponce Park in Punta Gorda and El Jobean or the Beach Complex in Port Charlotte. For the most part, it’s so slick calm you can see them rolling from a distance. For sure, this is a great time to fish an artificial bait like a deep running D.O.A. Bait Buster.

Also, while looking for tarpon keep an eye out around the bridges and outside seawalls in Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte for schools of big black drum. This is the time of year to see them finning just under the surface.

Closer to the backcountry, I’ll concentrate on outside bar systems and adjacent shorelines. Because of their proximity to deeper water with more oxygen and cooler water a better habitat exists for snook and redfish. Some of my favorite areas on the harbor’s perimeter include the bar that runs from Cape Haze at the lower end of the west wall past Bull Bay and over to Cayou Pelau at the base of Gasparilla Sound.  Also, don’t overlook the southern end of the west wall from Cape Haze Point up past mud cove as this area can fish well on an outgoing tide.

Across the harbor, the bar system that runs from Mondongo over to Patricio Island at the top of Pine Island Sound is worth a look. Here, the proximity to the intracoastal provides good clean water. Finally, on the east side of the harbor, the bar that runs from Burnt Store south to Matlacha can hold fish.

If we get some consistent rain, look for tidal creeks along the west wall to fish decent at the top of the outgoing tide. Too, the many small creeks on the east side between Mangrove Point and Alligator Creek are fun to explore during rain periods.

Spring is coming to the Golden Isles

With the advent of Spring, our waters begin warming.  68 to 70 degrees is the magic temperature.  The big winter schools of reds begin to break up and we are able to find them in more places.  Trout come up from the depths and gather around oyster beds and grass.  In May we expect the first "tailing" tides of the year where the reds get into the grass and tail aggressively grubbing for fiddler crabs.  Tailing redfish in the grass is classic, southern fly fishing for redfish.

In St. Simons we have an interesting fishery chasing free floating triple tail just 1-3 miles off of the beaches.  This is an unusual behavior because they are not floating close to structure.  They are simply free floating.  We look for these fish by idling around just off the beaches.  When I see one, I motor close to it and try put you in a good position for a cast.  The flies are generally lightly weighted or unweighted flies that mimic small shrimp or bait fish.  If you make a good presentation a little beyond and in front of the fish, you may come tight with a triple tail up to 20 pounds.  Triple tail are a hard fighting fish that jumps and runs.  I have said many times, if you can imagine how hard a 10 pound blue gill would pull, that is how hard a Triple Tail pulls.  This pattern runs from late March until June or July.  

At this time of year, I like to combine a red fish and Triple tail trip.  As in all sight fishing, a clear day with light wind makes for the fishing.  So, click the link below to inquire on booking a trip for a species I would bet you have never caught on fly.

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