Tarpon

Boca Grande tarpon fishing

Despite the seemingly nonstop wind this summer, the fishing was pretty productive most days. For May and June, we primarily focused on targeting the world famous Boca Grande tarpon and goliath grouper. The tarpon action was hot in May…there were several days we had double digit hook ups. But, fronts moving around the area and the insane number of big sharks pushed the tarpon around a bit and by June the tarpon were a little quirky, visiting areas that we won’t typically catch them. Landing a tarpon in June became quite an accomplishment. Within minutes of a hookup, sharks were already trailing the hooked tarpon. They’re starting to move north now and our tarpon season is winding down, but if you’re still wanting to get out and catch one, there are some pods still around along the beaches and in the passes. Our go to baits are 2-3in crabs and/or threadfin herring.

Goliath grouper

Boca Grande goliath grouper fishing

The goliath grouper population around Boca Grande has definitely improved this last year following the red tide of 2018. Our clients were able to land, photograph, and release over 100 grouper this year so far. With each goliath, we collect DNA samples for Florida Fish & Wildlife. With this data, they are able to look at the grouper family structure in our area, as well as determine if fish are migrating from other areas where DNA samples have been collected.

Nearshore

Permit

Nearshore, there have been reports of good snapper and an occasional keeper red or gag grouper. The nearshore reefs are still holding big permit. On one trip we boated 23 permit! Had we not used up all of our crabs, we probably would have caught more.  Further out, there are many reports of red snapper out past 40 miles.

Boca Grande goliath grouper

March has been a great month of fishing for the Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor area. Inshore, we’re seeing a lot of snook, redfish, and trout. For the snook and redfish, we’ve been soaking cut bait along the mangroves or in holes along the shorelines. Cut ladyfish has been producing better than cut pinfish. The white bait has been hit or miss this month with the fluctuating temperatures, but when we’ve been able to catch them, the snook are slurping them up. We’re seeing a lot of bait offshore so it’s only a matter of time before they head inshore and we’re consistently catching them. For the trout, we’ve been fishing in 3-4ft of water in what we call salt and pepper areas. These areas are comprised of a mix of sand holes (salt) and grass (pepper). A popper cork with either shrimp or white bait has been working great. Nearshore (up to 9 miles), we’re seeing a good mix of snapper and undersize grouper on rocky bottom and ledges. Around the bait schools, we’re seeing Spanish and king mackerel, as well as the occasional blackfin tuna.

In the coming weeks, we will begin targeting the ever sought after Boca Grande tarpon, aka silver king. They’ve been moving in to the area over the past month and it’s only time before they’re in Boca Grande thick. Another Boca Grande giant, the goliath grouper, has been making a comeback after the deadly red tide from 2018 that wiped out a significant number in our area. We’ve been catching a good number of goliath this year and I imagine it is only going to get better as the weather and water temperatures increase.

Captains Jesse and Kelly McDowall
Florida Inshore Xtream charters
941-698-0323

Boca Grande tarpon fishing

Boca Grande tarpon fishing charters

Boca Grande tarpon fishing will be upon us soon enough. Now is the time to look at your calendars and start planning your trip of a lifetime for the majestic silver king. Boca Grande Pass is one of the best locations to target tarpon. Nestled between the crowded cities of Sarasota and Ft Myers is our little slice of paradise. Tarpon begin arriving to our area in April. By May, there’s more tarpon here than imaginable. It’s not uncommon to see acres of rolling tarpon off the beaches of Boca Grande, Englewood, and Captiva.

May and June are the peak times to catch Boca Grande tarpon but we’ll begin targeting tarpon in April and continue through July.

We have this term known as “hill tides” that we use when talking about the “best” tarpon fishing times. These are some of the biggest tides that we’ll see throughout the year. We’ll see about a 2ft range of tide, which for our area is quite substantial. The dates below are Boca Grande’s hill tides for 2021. These tides rage out of Boca Grande Pass…carrying crabs, threadies, and other food the tarpon sit waiting to devour. It’s not uncommon to hook 10 or more fish during these trips.

Boca Grande Hill Tides

April 26-May 3

May 13-May 17

May 24-May 30

June 8-June 14

June 21-June 28

So if you’re looking to get into some Boca Grande tarpon action, give us a call today to secure your date for this tarpon season!

Florida Inshore Xtream charters
941-698-0323

Captains Jesse and Kelly McDowall

Boca Grande tarpon

Boca Grande tarpon season

Tarpon season has finally arrived and the fish are trickling in. While goliath grouper fishing near Boca Grande Pass, tarpon have been rolling all around. We finally had a chance to sneak out and catch a few last night. Within about 30min, we had hooked 5 and landed 2. Sizes ranged from 40-80lbs. Prior to tarpon fishing, we hooked into 3 Boca Grande goliath grouper. After getting our fill of tarpon, we hung around during the outgoing tide to scoop up enough shrimp for a tasty dinner.

Coronavirus Update

We’re still open for business and keeping our boat and gear as clean as possible.

Grocery stores empty? Looking for something a little different than usual to cook up? Give us a call and we can take you out for a fun day on the water and bring you back with some fresh fish to cook up for your family. The spanish mackerel bite has been very hot. It doesn’t take long to fill up a cooler of those guys. The kingfish bite a little further out has also been productive. The occasional blackfin tuna has been caught as well.

Florida Inshore Xtream charters
941-698-0323
floridainshorextream.com

Boca Grande permit

We started off the month with a lot of windy weather but the last week has been absolutely phenomenal around Boca Grande, Florida and Charlotte Harbor. The winds have died down, temperatures are heating up, and the fishing is getting better by the day. Water temperatures are in the mid 70s and the fish are staying pretty active. Inshore and around the passes, we’ve had an insane spanish mackerel bite. Keep an eye out for the birds and bait and you’re sure to find some nonstop action. (Lures of choice: spoons, jig head with soft plastic, nylon jigs) We tell our clients to fish the lure fast with a steady retrieve. Another option has been to troll two or three lures behind the boat.

INSHORE

The local bait spots have been teeming with white bait and the inshore bite of redfish, snook, and trout has been consistently good. The number of fish around has definitely increased since the localized closure was set. Get out early and pitch your favorite topwater lure around the mangroves. Once the sun is high, we like to switch over to a free lined white bait. For reds and snook, we typically use a 5/0 circle hook with 25 or 30lb flourocarbon leader. For trout, we’re fishing the 3-5ft grass flats with a popping cork.

NEARSHORE

Nearshore, the snapper and grouper bite has been pretty good. Lots of keeper red grouper are coming in from around 20-25miles. The lane and mangrove snapper are mixed in as well. Some of the nearshore wrecks are holding permit and cobia. Keep a line rigged and ready for those passerbys. The kingfish bite has also been pretty good as well.

FISHING APPAREL

With all of the apparel options out there right now for fishing enthusiasts, it can be difficult determining which to spend your hard earned money on! Having worn several different brands over the years, we can assure you that there is none better than Huk. The fit, comfort, and breathability of their shirts far surpasses any other we’ve worn. They’re constantly coming out with new styles and new gear. Their latest release that I was most excited to get my hands on were their new fishing gloves. Hands down, they’re the best I’ve had. The feature I like best compared to other gloves I’ve worn is the gripped texture added to the palm and fingers. This greatly helps when driving the boat. So if you’re looking to gear up with some fresh new apparel, give Huk a shot. You won’t be let down.

If you’re looking for a fun day on the water, be sure to give us a call or visit us on our webpage www.floridainshorextream.com.

941-698-0323 Captains Jesse and Kelly McDowall

Boca Grande tarpon fishing charters

Boca Grande tarpon fishing will be upon us soon enough. Now is the time to look at your calendars and start planning your trip of a lifetime for the majestic silver king. Boca Grande Pass is one of the best locations to target tarpon. Nestled between the crowded cities of Sarasota and Ft Myers is our little slice of paradise. Tarpon begin arriving to our area in April. By May, there’s more tarpon here than imaginable. It’s not uncommon to see acres of rolling tarpon off the beaches of Boca Grande, Englewood, and Captiva.

May and June are the peak times to catch Boca Grande tarpon but we’ll begin targeting tarpon in April and continue through July.

We have this term known as “hill tides” that we use when talking about the “best” tarpon fishing times. These are some of the biggest tides that we’ll see throughout the year. We’ll see about a 2ft range of tide, which for our area is quite substantial. The dates below are Boca Grande’s hill tides for 2018. Starting about mid day, the tide will begin to rage out of Boca Grande Pass…carrying crabs, threadies, and other food the tarpon sit waiting to devour. We usually begin these trips around 2 or 3pm and fish until sunset. It’s not uncommon to hook 10 fish during these trips.

Boca Grande Hill Tides

April 30-May 3

May 13-May 17

May 28-May 31

June 13-June 17

June 26-June 30

So if you’re looking to get into some Boca Grande tarpon action, give us a call today to secure your date for this tarpon season!

Florida Inshore Xtream charters
941-698-0323

Captains Jesse McDowall and Kelly Eberly

Inshore Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor

Redfish are the hot bite right now around Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor! Fish in the upper 30″s are being caught regularly. Keep your eyes peeled for that waked up water while cruising around the flats of Charlotte Harbor. Toss just about any bait or lure towards them and you’re sure to hook up. Boca Grande fishing is on fire.

We’ve been seeing some better sized sea trout in the past week. Fish upwards to 20″ have been common around Bull Bay. Snook are also plentiful. Live bait has produced the most fish. The easiest way to find bait now is to look along the beaches of Boca Grande and Little Gasparilla Island. One cast lands you enough bait for days.

Nearshore Boca Grande and Englewood

The snapper and grouper bite is still holding strong out of Boca Grande and Englewood. There are a lot of smaller fish nearshore so you may need to push out a few extra miles to find those bigger fish. Whitebait and pinfish are top snapper and grouper baits. Artificial lures such as a Johnson silver minnow have been producing just as many fish as live bait. Drop the lure to the bottom and jig it up and down. Bam! Fish on!

Boca Grande Goliath Grouper

The world famous Boca Grande goliath grouper…can you handle it’s power?!? It is by far the most powerful fish you will ever encounter. With our Penn International 70 set on full lock, it is you against the beast! 

Book Your Boca Grande Fishing Charter

If any of these Boca Grande fishing charters sounds like a great time to you, give us a call and we’ll put you on your dream fish!

Boca Grande goliath grouper

Florida Inshore Xtream charters
Fishing charter videos

Fishing after Irma

Well we’ve been waiting for it southwest Florida… Irma punched us straight in the teeth, punched us in the gut and while we were bent over kicked us right square in the butt. But we’re Floridians, and you know what we do after a hurricane right? We go fishing! We may have an addiction or are just absolutely nuts but we can’t live in the fishing capitol of the world and have something like wind keep us from our passion. And the bite in and around Boca Grande is hot. As everyone drags themselves back to their feet after a Mike Tyson one, two punch we can at least take a little comfort in knowing our communities are there for each other in this time of need.

Inshore Charlotte Harbor

We’re still seeing large schools of reds roaming around a good portion of Charlotte Harbor. This is the time of year when the big schools of reds are chewing their way through the bays and out on the flats and if you keep your eyes open while running you’ll be able to see them “pushing” big wakes as you pass by.  We’ve been hauling in upper slot and over slot fish from these schools. Quick baits are the way to go. A Johnson silver minnow or jig head and soft plastic are almost guarantee hook ups. Chunked ladyfish or live pinfish are also great baits as well.

Offshore Boca Grande and Englewood

Nearshore, look for that definitive current line in the water, find the bait and work along the outside edges of those lines and if you don’t get bit there… fan cast around and try to note where hook ups happen.  We’ve had a really good mix bag of upper size spanish mackerel and bonito from just outside of the passes and out to 1 ½ miles. Another good way to find fish right now is just look for the birds.

Offshore reports are still nothing less than excellent as always. Guys are tearing up the grouper and snapper on most of our known reefs and hard bottom. Gag and red grouper on the near shore reefs are still around but dirty water can hamper them. You might need to push out or look for cleaner water to hook up with keeper size fish.  You may have to make a few moves to find the fish you want so drop it down and drift over the area you’ve marked as a potential hot spot. Something else you may want to look for on your machine is not only that “live bottom” but the bait and other smaller fish as well. Another thing I’ve had to do is alter the gain on my sounder. There have been so many jellyfish and thermocline layers around I’ve been picking them up as smaller bait schools. So turn that auto setting off and manually set it to filter out those jellies…. especially if you have an older machine. But, the bite is hot out there and if you’re thinking of splashing the dive gear…. 12-14 miles is where you’ll find the color change and cleaner water.

Fun Fishing!

If you’re looking for some fast paced action… well you’re gonna enjoy the bite that’s happening right now. First, head out offshore a few miles and look for the schools of bait that are just outside and easily accessible. Don’t worry, you’ll know where they are because the birds are looking for them as well.  I’ve been throwing small spoons, stick baits and silver minnow’s and just about anything that has a hook on it around those pods and all kinds of things are crushing in those schools…. bonito, spanish mackerel, kings, sharks everything. You can’t miss them…just look for the birds and all the fish crashing bait.

If you’ve got your eye on landing a few, give us a call and we’ll “hook you up”. If you’re ready to get out and see how Kelly and I do it, give us a jingle at 941- 698- 0323. You may also find us on Facebook, Instagram or our web page www.floridainshorextream.com. So for now tight lines and y’all stay safe!!

Capt. Jesse McDowall
Florida Inshore Xtream Charter services
941-698-0323
www.floridainshorextream.com
Jesse@fixcharters.com

 

 

 

American Red Snapper fishing

So for this week’s edition I thought I’d share a fishing trip with ya. You can understand it’s not that frequent that we get to go “fun fishing” as guides and even less common to get out after American red snapper. My Pathfinder 24TRS is an amazing fishing platform and can hold her own in a heavy chop and rough swells. Those seas are not what I’d call normal operation but it’s nice to know she can take “less than optimal” conditions. Needless to say, there are lots of stars that need to align to allow one to get out to (and more importantly back from) the 100-150 foot range needed to target ARS.

Safety First

A good practice when you don’t normally make those long runs is to file a float plan with someone you trust with departure and arrival times and an approximate position you plan to visit on your trip. That’s just the minimum. It’s better to have one of the emergency positioning beacons like an Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or a Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs). These devices are small radio transmitters, connected to a global government-run emergency network, which is used worldwide to alert Search and Rescue agencies in the event of a dire emergency. A cheaper alternative is a device similar to the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger unit which works like a sat phone text messenger. I think you get the point about being a safe and prepared captain of your vessel.

Time to Fish!

Kelly and I set plans and waited for a clear shot to run out 50 miles. Finally, all stars aligned and last weekend we were able to make our first ARS run. We grabbed my son and my buddy Mike, loaded the coolers with ice and put some distance between us and the sunrise. Somewhere around 8 AM I backed off the throttle and settled down enough to look at the bottom… more importantly look for fish. Our first 10 min produced a school of small mahi mahi. If you encounter these guys, it’s important once you get one hooked to keep a hooked fish in the water at all times and swimming around the stern on a short leash. The others will hang around long enough to boat a few more before they move on. They were a lot of fun but remember… I was looking for snapper so we put a few in the box and moved on.

After a few stops, we finally find a good wad of fish and a few drops produced some really nice red grouper. “That’s getting closer, but still not red snapper,” I tell my buddy Mike. Onward my friend…Our next stop yielded a few more red grouper and a really nice scamp that measured a whopping 28 inches! “Still not red snapper Mike,” moving on! So now Kelly is at the helm for a bit and a few spots later she puts us on red gold! I drop down first and before it gets to the bottom I’m on! Oh yeah! I think to myself “This feels like a snapper!” Sure enough I soon see that red and white beauty I’d been dreaming about for so long. I quickly flip it in the boat and check the size on the ruler and 15 inches… dangit! It’s too short, back to the blue with you my friend. By now everyone is bowed up with fish and quickly have enough to fill our limit of two per angler. I got to say that was a fun trip and glad everything worked out as planned. We got a few snapper over 22 inches and a few of our red grouper topped out at 30 inches. So needless to say we pointed the bow of my pathfinder towards home before the afternoon storms hit. With red snapper season ending soon, you have limited time to get out and box a few reds for your dinner table. It will be well worth the effort and time invested!

Tactics

Our best red snapper bite was in about 140ft of water. When searching for fish, look for a mass of red on your bottom machine. At times, we were marking a solid 30ft of fish. The lighter blues and yellow indicate more of baitfish and lane or vermillion snapper. Don’t waste too much time on that spot but check around that area for the red mass as mentioned. Once we found the school, we dropped live pinfish on conventional gear with 5-6oz of lead with a traditional bottom rig. My conventional gear is spooled with 50lb mono with a 50lb flouro leader. We also did well using cut mullet on a 1oz jig head on Spinfisher 6500 spinning tackle.      

Folks, that’s gonna do it for me this week. Bookings for our fall season are already filling up and if you want to get your FIX on… give me a call @ 941- 698- 03 23 or… find us on Facebook, Instagram, You tube or our web page @ www.floridainshorextream.com.

 

scamp grouper while red snapper fishing

Tight lines and y’all stay safe!!
Capt Jesse McDowall
941-698-0323 or jesse@fixcharters.com

 

Boca Grande goliath grouper

Boca Grande, Englewood, Charlotte Harbor August fishing report

Boy it’s hot out there this time of year! For the most part of this year we’ve been dealing with week after week of battling high winds and water clouded with runoff from the daily bombardment of precipitation. Normally we have clearer waters on which to fish but as of late we’ve had to settle for stained, grass filled flats.

The offshore grouper bite has been awesome for reds, as well as gags. You may have to push out a bit further to find some cleaner water and bigger fish, but it’s well worth the extra fuel you might burn. On the other hand, mangrove snapper and lane snapper remain on the prowl and are very abundant on most of our locally published reefs and hard bottom. Snapper have very keen eyesight so if you are after these tasty adversaries you’ll need to downsize not only hook size but your line as well. Which, sadly to say…has a very small margin for error. It’s a balance between getting bit or getting broke. I run an 8 foot Penn 6500 Spinfisher V for my spinning outfit spooled with 15-40 lb braid and for my conventional set I use a Penn Fathom 40 spooled with 50 lb mono. For the snapper, I use a light wire 2/0 or 3/0 circle hook and a minimum 3 ft of 20-25 lb fluorocarbon leader. Now here’s where a lot of tactics will differ with bottom rigs and I could go on for a while with them. But I think for all around simplicity the old school bottom style rig is the best all-around rig. But they basically all have the same common denominator…to keep the bait a good distance from the weight and more importantly… the ability of the bait to move freely. Snapper are a bit cunning and will rob you blind if you’re not playing an active role. Because of their keen eyesight, the best times to catch these guys are to be anchored on your favorite reef or “secret spot” using several bags of chum to get them fired up and then free line a 1-2 inch chunk of cigar minnow or threadfin down in that chum slick. There are lots of factors involved with getting this technique dialed in but once you do… its money!

The beaches are still loaded with tons of fish…not only snook, but lots of fun fish like jacks, ladyfish, spanish and king mackerel. Also the pods of bait are just above small fry baits… so like I always say match that hatch and down size your bait choice to something close to what they’re eating. Watch for glass minnow schools because the jacks, lady fish and trout are gonna be close by. Try using lures with some weight to get more range… range translates into more time with baits in the water, which in turn… will get you more action.

If you’re ready to get out and see how Kelly and I do it, give us a jingle at 941-698-0323. You may also find us on Facebook, Instagram or our web page Florida Inshore Xtream.

Well folks, you know the deal…gotta get on out and get my FIX on! So … tight lines and y’all stay safe!!
Capt. Jesse McDowall
Florida Inshore Xtream Charter services
941-698- 0323
www.floridainshorextream.com
jesse@fixcharters.com