Fishing Report for Charlotte Harbor / Boca Grande
It just keeps getting colder and colder and colder. Winter is definitely here boys! The weather has kept me confined to the inshore waters of the harbor these past two weeks. Just before New Years Day, fishing was hot one day and cold the next.
I was fortunate enough to be out on the water for eight consecutive days. Most of my trips were focused on the Gasparilla Preserve. During the breaks between fronts, I was able to find Redfish patrolling the edges of the bars at low tide. In particular the bars around Cayou Peleu and Bull Bay. Small gold spoons, tube jigs and sardines (When available) were the hot ticket. During the few days we actually had 70 degree temperatures and a bit of sun, I found Redfish pushing their way onto the flats for a bit of warm water. Tailers were easily targeted by throwing Select Shrimp, Spanish Sardines and Gold Spoons. Some of these fish were difficult to approach and required very long cast, however, once a bait was properly presented, it was eagerly taken. Many of the Reds pushing onto the flats were in the low to mid 20-inch range, while the Reds working the edges of the bars on low tide were all in the high 20 to 30+ inch range. In addition, Trout were also inhabiting the same deep grass on the edges of the bars. Shrimp accounted for numbers, while live sardines accounted for size.
During the coldest of days, fishing became difficult. Sheephead and Rat Reds were the most consistent chewers. Armies of Sheepeies and Rat Reds can be found working the deepest and largest pot holes within and around the preserve as well as deeper areas consisting of sand and/or shell bottom. Sheephead were also caught around the oyster bars @ Catfish Creek.
Snook have vacated all of my fall and early winter holding areas, and for the most part are all up in the rivers and the deep canals systems, which line the harbor. Getting them to bite under these conditions is difficult at best. In between this nasty weather; if we can get a few days of warm sunny weather in concert with a slight increase in water temps; the Snook may go on a temporary feeding binge. Be at the right place at the right time during these conditions, and a 20 or even 30 Snook day in mid January is an extreme possibility. For now however, they are just trying to stay warm.
This past weekend I took a trip south in order to avoid the cold and windy weather. The bite was moderate at best in the Everglades, with only a few Reds, small Trout and Black Drum. Sunday we traveled further south in search of even warmer weather. The water never really warmed up on the flats, consequently the Bonefish Bite in Islamorada was non-existent. We saw very few fish on the skinny and could not coax any into taking live shrimp and crabs. Fortunately the legions of Barracuda saved the day.
Some notable catches this week included the Hobbs Party from Georgia; The Baker Family from Pennsylvania and the Dannemiller Family from Ohio. All of whom landed and released at least one if not several Overslot Redfish, which under these conditions, is notable in any book.
I canâ€™t wait until springtime! Tight Lines & Happy New Year,
Capt. Allan B. Beraquit
Capt. Allan Beraquit
Coast II Coast Fishing Charters, Inc.