All posts by Captain Jesse

The start to Boca Grande tarpon season has been nothing short of spectacular. Yesterday we took out Joe and Justin for a 40th birthday celebration. We wore them out!

We started early so we could catch the end of the outgoing tide bite and beat the crowds. We headed down to Boca Grande Pass and had 10 tarpon on before 7:30am. Joe and Justin were able to get 4 of the tarpon to the boat and the others came off during the fight.

Boca Grande tarpon fishing
Boca Grande tarpon fishing
Boca Grande tarpon fishing

Do you want to experience the thrill of catching the world famous Boca Grande tarpon? Give us a call and we can get you on the water chasing the silver kings.

Captains Jesse and Kelly McDowall


It was another good weekend of fishing in the Boca Grande Fl area. Saturday we solely targeted tarpon. We started off in Gasparilla Sound but there were few fish around. We headed down to Boca Grande Pass (tarpon capital on the world) and soon found thousands of fish. When fishing the pass, we prefer to use conventional reels and drop bait to the bottom. This allows us to know where exactly our baits are when presenting to the tarpon. We use either a 2 or 4oz lead, depending on current and conditions and have a 6-10ft leader with a 6/0 circle hook. Baits vary from crab, shrimp, pinfish, squirrelfish and more. We dropped baits down and within a couple drifts we hooked into our first tarpon. In the remaining 5hrs of the trip, our customers hooked into 8 more tarpon and missed a few more bites. The Boca Grande tarpon bite was hot that day.

Sunday we had a scheduled goliath grouper trip. Like always, we started out bowfishing for stingrays for bait. We put a few in the livewell and headed to Boca Grande Pass to catch the big dogs. Ben wasn’t on the fighting seat long before laying into his first goliath grouper. This was a little guy, estimated around 100lbs. We put on another bait and sent it down…bam! Goliath grouper on! Ben battled this one with all his might and we could tell it was a bigger grouper. He finally got it to the boat and we estimated the weight was 300-350lbs. After that fight with a giant goliath grouper, Ben called it quits and we headed to the dock.

We had an inshore fishing charter today. We fished around Gasparilla Sound, Bull Bay, and Turtle Bay. Once the tide started flowing this morning, it was almost nonstop action. Blake and his family caught at least 30-40 snook and probably 20 trout, almost all over slot. We are using 30lb fluorocarbon, 4/0 circle hook, small cork and a live white bait. The most productive areas were those with good moving current.

The tarpon are moving into Boca Grande Pass more and more everyday. We’re seeing them along the grass flats and bars as well. Give us a call if you’d like to go on a Boca Grande tarpon fishing charter.

Boca Grande goliath grouper charters are also a thrill. Where else can you catch a fish bigger than you then hop in the water for a photo op?!

Captains Jesse and Kelly McDowall


It was another great day on the water with customers Josh and his son Josh. Bowfishing for bait was fairly quick and easy so we headed to Boca Grande to start fishing for the goliath grouper. The tide was a little wonky but young Josh missed a few hits before finally laying in to a big one. That Goliath grouper taped out to 71”. Our estimated weight is around 300lbs. Father Josh took his turn on the hot seat but never managed to get a hook in one. We had a few more bites but the day ended with only one big goliath grouper to the boat.

Boca Grande goliath grouper

Bill and his father, Bill and son, Wyatt came out for a Boca Grande goliath grouper charter today. Wyatt has started his own fishing YouTube channel so he was very excited to see the biggest fish Florida has to offer.

We started off the trip bowfishing for stingrays. It was fairly windy so it made conditions a little tricky but we managed to put 4 baits in the boat. We headed off towards Boca Grande Pass for the real thrill of the day. Conditions and tide were less than favorable but we got our first hit in no time…but the goliath grouper didn’t get the hook. Wyatt switched out and let his dad have a take at the rod. We put on a livelier bait and sent him down below. BAM! Fish on! Bill fought with all his might, almost giving up at times, against the shear power of the world famous Boca Grande goliath grouper. We taped the fish at 73” and estimated its weight to be around 300lbs. We took a fin clip for FWC research and sent the big girl back home to fight another day.

Unfortunately the tide completely stopped and we weren’t able to get Wyatt on a fish.

Boca Grande goliath grouper

if you think you have the strength to battle against a Boca Grande goliath grouper, give us a call for a fight of your life.


Florida Inshore Xtream

It was another great week of fishing in and around Boca Grande, Fl. The inshore waters of Charlotte Harbor have been very productive. The snook bite has been the best we’ve seen in years and we’re catching some of the biggest trout we’ve seen in a while. The biggest trout of the week measured 27”. We boated several more in the 24-26” range as well. There’s an abundance of under slot snook all throughout the bays. This always makes for an exciting day on the water with customers. The kids have an absolute blast reeling in snook after snook.

We had one day of tarpon fishing squeezed in between our inshore trips. Boca Grande Pass was stacked with tarpon for a few days. We managed to hook into 10 tarpon and able to boat 3. Cary and his friends were ecstatic. Their Boca Grande vacation was complete.

Despite the blistering wind, we managed to run a goliath grouper trip as well. Boca Grande is one of the best places to come and target the massive goliath grouper. With deep water right off the beach, we’re able to get customers a great picture after landing their bucket list goliath grouper. This week our customers caught two goliath grouper.

Boca Grande tarpon charter
Boca Grande snook charter

If you’re ready to get out on the water for a fun filled day of Boca Grande fishing, give us a call or visit our webpage to book your next fishing charter.



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 So for now tight lines and y’all stay safe!!

Capt. Jesse McDowall
Florida Inshore Xtream Charter services




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!


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 @


scamp grouper while red snapper fishing

Tight lines and y’all stay safe!!
Capt Jesse McDowall
941-698-0323 or


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