If you're up for it, the tarpon bite is hot. Crews fished at first light and came up with bruiser poons to 180lbs. The bite started at with rolling mobs of 100-pounder-plus silver kings at 1–3 miles in 20 ft. of water off at the twin Towers at Ft. Myers beach and extended to Knapp's Point and beyond. Fish were reports as close in as 16 ft. water off Sanibel Light and the bite extended to the 30 ft. marks, easy running. "Old Timie" dead stick and soaked baits with chum worked, as long as you stayed away from the "Young Turks" chasing the rollers. Threads, pins, and, cut bait all worked. Plenty of bait off Ft. Myers Beach and the Mays Reef, bring your Sabikki to make quick work of baiting. Cut bait included ladyfish, mullet, and shad—crabs were useful as well. Live ladyfish were a top producer.
Plenty of sharks around, better yet cobiaand bonito. Spanish thrashed small baits and softplastics, a few King reported eating free-lined Spanish and threads. The beach bite was pretty good with surf angler getting into the fray; tarpon, snook, reds, Spanish, and pompano were all active eaters. The digger and drop fishing was very good starting at 10-plus miles out; grouper and loads of snapper and cobia all were reported.
For good action, you'd better be out early or you and your catch will be parboiled. Redfish were the top target with good bites in Matlacha around Reckems Point and Black Creek near the Caloosahatchee. Stinky shrimp and frozen "crickets" were great,of course, and were the easy offering. Cut ladyfish,mullet chunks, and Spanish sardines are all availableas well.
Hunting theway-back creeksandthe pass offered good snook and redfish bites in the early morning. My crews did well using shrimp and white softplastic jerk shadfor snook, mostly "spikes" 16–20 inches with a couple of would-be keepers, when the season resumes. The Ding Darling is hold a nice mixed-bag bite: reds, snook, sheepie, and plenty of shrimp-hungry snappers.
We ran the "sputter-bug" flatback canoe into several of the way-way-back creeks and came up with snook, baby poons, and cichlids; best action was on freshwater shiners and bluegill. "Those who dare win." We'll be back out this weekend, hunting down the creek tarpon; yakkers and canoe guys are in their glory, skipping into the mangrove tunnels—snakes, gators, coons, and lots of bugs for company!
Capt. Ron Kowalyk: 239-267-9312