Even though it may still feel like summer, the harbor and surrounding bays are beginning to transition. For the most part, rain accumulation and somewhat cooler overnight temperatures will combine to drop water temperatures just enough to get the fish moving. However, it’s still warm enough that most of our snook and redfish will remain on the outside shorelines and adjacent bar systems along the harbor’s perimeter. In particular, areas adjacent to creek mouths and deeper cuts should be most productive. In addition, it’s not unusual to find baby tarpon, five to ten pounds, in the same areas.

Furthermore, redfish are grouping up as their spawn, which runs from August to Mid-November, begins to peak this month. Too, snook are at the end of their spawn and should be looking to put on weight. Keep in mind, water temperatures are still warm enough that careful handling is important when releasing all these gamefish. Keep them as wet as possible before taking them out of the water for a quick picture. Remember, every second they’re out of the water is the same as your head being under water.

Out of Punta Gorda, the shoreline and bar system that runs from Ponce Park all the way to Alligator Creek can fish well. A bit further south, the first or second sets of islands inside and including the bar down towards Pirate Harbor can be good. Down below Burnt Store, from Big Dead Creek to Buzzard Bay is one of my favorite areas. Here, the proximity to Matlacha Pass ensures good current flow.

Across the harbor, there are some good creek systems along the west wall that are worth exploring. Because of the deeper cut and current flow, the southern end where the wall meets Cape Haze Point is a good spot. A bit further west, the Catfish Creek area includes quite a number of drainages that flow into Gasparilla Sound. Here, the bar system that also borders the intracoastal waterway with it’s clean oxygenated water provides for a real healthy  habitat.

Just like last month, there are tarpon scattered throughout the upper harbor. The bigger fish are in the deeper holes and around the U.S. 41 and Myakka bridges. Smaller fish can be found outside the perimeter canals of Punta Gorda Isles. Particularly with the smaller fish, early is better as they tend to disappear when the sun gets too high about 9:00 a.m. Also, keep an eye out for black drum schools around these perimeter canals.

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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