This has always been one of my favorite months as opportunities really open up.  Moreover, the wind lies down somewhat allowing the range necessary to take advantage of an expanded fishery. It’s time to make my way out of the backcountry towards the harbor, beach and adjacent shorelines. As the water temperature hits 79 degrees migrating tarpon coming north will stage in and around our passes.

Off the beach, I like setting up between Captiva and Boca Grande Pass on Murdock point. Here, the fish make their way around a sandy shoal in clear shallow water allowing for some great shots on fly.  Inside Pine Island Sound, Foster Bay just north of Redfish Pass also tends to hold groups of fish.

Closer to home, they’ll also begin showing up in the upper harbor between the West Wall and Punta Gorda. These are resident fish that come out of the rivers and generally eat pretty well.  A free lined live bait is always a good bet and if you get out early and see them rolling, they’ll take a fly. The harbor should be full of threadfin herring and I like throwing patterns that resemble these baits somewhat. A big Puglisi Peanut Butter pattern in black and purple or black and red are two of my favorites.

As hard as it is to resist tarpon, it’s tough to beat early summer snook fishing. When the wind is cranking out of the west making the beach sloppy, it’s makes for a great back up plan. In addition, Because of tarpon fever, the backcountry see’s less pressure and this provides a great opportunity to get in some redfish and snook fishing. Particularly, first thing in the morning, you could find yourself with a flat or shoreline all to yourself.  They’re on many outside shorelines and I particularly like the lower end of the west wall and around Cape Haze Point down through the long bar that runs along Turtle and Bull Bay.

Typically, redfish can be found in close proximity to snook. However, as the water warms I like looking for the cleanest most oxygenated water.  Here, it’s tough to beat the combination of the intracoastal and adjacent passes. Keeping that in mind, Pine Island Sound is a good bet.   Too, spotted sea trout prefer the additional salinity and cooler water that these areas provide making redfish country good trout habitat as they’re both part of the croaker family.

Lastly, whether in the harbor, on the beach, or on a flat, don’t be surprised if you see a big school of jacks, a cobia, or one of the many sharks that are scattered throughout the area. Keep an eye out for birds and have a rod ready.

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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