Captain Charles Wright of Chokoloskee Charters in Everglades City reported that spring-like conditions already abound and lots of finicky tarpon are holding in the back lakes. Permits are starting to show up on the near shore wrecks and loads of hungry redfish are high up on the shallowest of flats. Fishermen using fiddler crabs and shrimp are catching lots of sheepshead around rocky structures.
MIAMI DADE/ BROWARD
Captain Ralph Mayans of Sea Cross Fishing charters out of Haulover Marina reported that in depths from 500 to 650 feet of water, his clients are catching tilefish and some very large mako sharks. … Captain Mo Estevez of New Dawn Charters out of Miami reported that bone fishing has been good on the incoming tides along the Oceanside flats. Sea trout are biting on many of the shallow grass flats where the water has been clear. An assortment of groupers is being caught for catch and release in the Finger Channels. … During the Wahoo Smackdown IV Tournament that was held in Bimini, team Ditch Digger of Pompano Beach captained by Manny Legakis took first place honors with a total of 121.1 pounds of wahoo. … Kim Mills from the Kelley Fishing Fleet out of Haulover Marina reported that daytime anglers were catching quite a few blackfin tuna and kingfish on the surface and some nice mutton snapper’s on the bottom.
Captain Brian Cone of Contagious Fishing Charters out of Robbies Marina in Islamorada reported that high-speed trolling for large wahoos has been good offshore of Islamorada. On days when the water has been calm and clear he has been finding schools of cobias. Along the reef and blue water edge, sailfish, kingfish and dolphin’s are biting. When the current has been less than one knot, he said deep dropping in depths from 330 to over 500 feet of water has produced catches of porgies, an assortment of groupers, tilefish and queen snappers. … Fishing with captain Doug Kilpatrick on the flats in Key West, Mitch Widom of Miami caught three permits in one day using a Merkin crab fly. The permits weighed 14, 18 and 24 pounds.
Captain Cliff Bud of Seacretspot Guide Service out of Jupiter reported that jumbo-size smoker kingfish have moved into his area with most fish in the 20-pound range and some reaching 60 pounds. … Captain Tom Van Horn of Mosquito Coast Charters reported plenty of slot-size redfish are on the shallow flats of the Indian River Lagoon and large sea trout can be found in the sandy pot holes.
Captain Bob LeMay reported that redfishing has been good on the first of the incoming tides along the shorelines, creek and river mouths north of Little Sable creek. Large sea trout are biting in the backcountry around hard bottom bars and island points. Large tarpon are in the area both offshore and inshore but have not been very cooperative. … Captain Jason Sullivan of Rising Tide Charters reported that snook and redfish have been plentiful on top of the shallow Florida Bay flats.
Captain Jon Fetter of Catching the Cure Backcountry Fishing Charters out of Fort Myers reported that the near shore reefs are holding lots of sheepshead, Spanish mackerel and snappers. The passes are producing silver trout, jacks, bonnethead sharks and Spanish mackerel. In the back waters there has been a pretty good redfish bite around the mangrove islands and oyster bars.
During the Walmart Bass Fishing League Gator Division Event held on Lake Okeechobee, Jared McMillan of Belle Glade took first-place honors and a check for $8,191 after he weighed in five largemouth bass with a total weight of 29.9 pounds. … Don Thompson of Indiana and Bill de Deugd of Fort Myers fished the L-35A and L-60 canals with floating Rapalas and Jungle jigs and caught 82 largemouth bass and nine peacock bass to nine pounds. Their guide was Alan Zaremba.