This week’s best bet: Early morning tarpon fishing at Government Cut


Captain Mo Estevez of New Dawn charters out of Miami reported tarpon have been feeding on the early morning outgoing tide at Government Cut. The tarpon are eating live medium-size blue crabs. Bonefishing has been good in South Bay and there have been quite a few permits along the Oceanside flats south of Soldiers Key. The bonefish are eating large live shrimp and the permits are going for silver-dollar-size blue crabs.


Captain Jimbo Thomas from the charter boat Thomas Flyer out of Bayside Market Place Marina in Miami reported baitfish schools in his area have been unpredictable. Offshore there have been scattered schools of dolphin fish to 28 pounds. The dolphins have been feeding along slicks and broken weedlines as far out as 12 miles offshore. The fish are eating live baits and trolled feathers and ballyhoo. Captain Paul Roydhouse of FishingHeadquarters.com out of Fort Lauderdale reported his offshore fishing fleet has been catching snapper, grouper and amberjacks over the artificial reefs. Kingfish, bonitos and blackfin tuna are biting outside the outer reef, and offshore in the blue water of the Gulf Stream, dolphin fish are being caught. Daniel Cocron of the Kelley Fleet out of Haulover Marina reported his day party boats are catching legal-size groupers, an assortment of jacks, and mutton snappers on the bottom. Near the surface, kingfish bonitos, blackfin tuna and dolphins are being caught. Fishermen have had good action on swordfish charters. The nighttime bottom fishing is producing steady catches of snapper. This action has come offshore of Haulover Inlet.


Captain Scott Yetter out of Little Torch Key reported there has been good numbers of bonefish on the flats. Tarpon continue to migrate south along the Oceanside flats, and permits are returning to the flats as they finish their offshore spawning. Brett Hogan out of the Holiday Inn in Key Largo reported the offshore fleet has been catching good numbers of yellowtail and mutton snappers on the reef. In deeper water, the vermillion snappers were biting. Offshore, dolphin fish were being caught in depths from 400 feet of water out to 20 miles offshore. Daytime swordfishing has been good.


Nedra Maxwell of Sebastian Inlet District reported the inlet fishing has really picked up this past week. Schools of baitfish have moved into the inlet, attracting jack crevalles over 30 pounds. Big catch-and-release snook are biting, and there have been some summer flounder, redfish and a lot of mangrove snappers in the inlet. Along the beaches, fishermen are catching whiting, Spanish mackerel and jacks. The big jacks and snook are eating live mullet. The snappers, flounder and redfish are eating greenies, and the mackerel are going for Gotcha lures.


Captain Jim Hobales of Caught Lookin Charters reported he found big schools of mullet in Whitewater Bay that he caught in a cast net and then fished along the coast outside of Shark River. Using the mullet for bait, his clients had big shark and tarpon action. Casting Gulp soft plastics tipped to a jig head and cast along the outside shorelines from Shark River south to East Cape Canal, his clients had steady action from catch-and-release snook, sea trout and loads of jack crevalles.


Captain Gary Mounce of Fishin Finatic Charters out of Everglades City reported the early morning catch-and-release snook bite continues in his area. Working the river and creek mouths with Rapala SkitterWalks and Chug Bugs, his clients have had exciting surface action. Once the sun gets up high, the fish are moving into the troughs along the flats and deep into the river and creek mouths, so baits must be fished deeper. Redfish and sea trout are mixed in with the snook.


Mark Escobar from BJ’s Bait & Tackle in Plantation reported most of the freshwater areas of the Everglades Conservation Areas have very high water that has scattered a lot of the fish up onto the flats. Freshwater fishermen that get out early or real late in the day are catching largemouth bass to 8 pounds plus a wide assortment of panfish. The bass are eating large worms, plastic frogs, flukes and swim baits cast up into the cover. The panfish are eating crickets, red worms, minnows and small jigs. The Holy Land, Sawgrass Recreation Park and Holiday Park are good areas to try your luck.