Spring is well under way and the fishing has been pretty good! Redfish, snook, trout, tarpon, shark, goliath grouper, spanish mackerel…you name it and we’ve probably been catching it.

Inshore: Snook seem to be about everywhere we look lately…from the little schoolie guys to the big 40″ gals. Find those areas with good moving water and you’re sure to find snook. Check the outside bars around Bull and Turtle bays. Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and jacks…aka fun fish…are plentiful. Watch for birds and look around the passes on a moving tide to find these fish. 

Offshore: The wind has slacked enough these last couple days to get out and catch mangrove snapper, lane snapper, red grouper and gag grouper. An occasional king mackerel has been caught as well while snapper fishing. Always have a rod ready to pitch to passerby pelagics. 

Boca Grande BIG FISH: Tarpon. Tarpon. Tarpon. For the new visitors, it’s time to see why Boca Grande is called “tarpon capital of the world.” The number of tarpon is increasing daily and the bite has been good. We have limited dates left, so give us a call to book your Boca Grande tarpon fishing charter today. 
We’ve been catching some BIIIIIG goliath grouper these last couple weeks. With the fluctuating weather weeks ago, changing water temps, and dirty water, the goliath grouper have moved around some and smaller fish (100-200lbs) have moved in to our usual target locations. We looked around and found where some of the big ones have moved to…our big fish of last week weighed in at 470lbs based on length/girth measurements and IGFA calculations! If you want to catch a fish that weighs double…or even triple your weight…don’t hesitate to give us a call! We will put you on the biggest fish you have probably ever caught. A picture with a Boca Grande goliath grouper is sure to make all your friends jealous.

Boca Grande, Englewood spring fishing report

Things seem to be stabilizing again after last week’s cold front.

Inshore: Charlotte Harbor water temperatures are back around 70. Trout are still being caught in the potholes around Whiddens and Bull Bay using a Bomber saltwater grade paradise popper with a shrimp or whitebait. Redfish and snook have been caught cruising the flats and up under the mangroves later in the day with a freelined bait. White bait and pinfish have been working equally well. Ladyfish and spanish mackerel can be found outside Turtle Bay along the bars, as well as outside the other bays and towards Boca Grande Pass.

Charlotte Harbor snook
37″ snook

Nearshore: Keep an eye out for birds. Spanish mackerel have been within a couple miles of the beaches of Englewood and Boca Grande. We’ve been seeing large schools of bonito out in the 7-9 mile range. Try to determine their direction of travel and get ahead of them. Sometimes they can be finicky in what they eat, but this past week they were hitting anything we threw at them. Keep an eye out for kingfish as well around the bait pods. The snapper and grouper bite has remained consistent. A jighead tipped with shrimp or white bait has been our go to rig recently.

Boca Grande bonito
Boca Grande bonito
Mangrove snapper, red grouper
Snapper and Grouper

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Fish forecast: Tarpon are trickling in Boca Grande Pass. The weather seems to have the larger goliath grouper pushed around a bit but we are still catching ones in the 150-200lb range. Warming waters will bring them in soon enough so go ahead and give us a call to book your Boca Grande tarpon or goliath grouper charter. We only have a handful of days open through June so don’t wait too long!

Boca Grande tarpon
Boca Grande tarpon
Boca Grande goliath grouper
Boca Grande goliath grouper

Temperatures are rising and fishing is steadily getting better day by day around Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico. 
Inshore: The trout bite has been pretty consistent. There are good numbers in the potholes around Bull and Turtle Bay. If your boat can run fairly shallow, you’ll be successful with the reds and snook in the backcounty. There are also good numbers along the bars and in the creeks. 
Offshore: The snapper and grouper bite is warming up. Large mangrove and lane snapper have found their way to our customer’s dinner table. Keeper sized red grouper are out a little deeper. There is a TON of bait moving into the nearshore waters of Boca Grande and Englewood. Keep your eye out for kingfish and other pelagics chasing those bait schools. We even saw a sailfish last week! If fishing artificial reefs, keep an eye out for those permit. 

Tarpon are starting to show up so give us a call to set up your Boca Grande tarpon fishing charter. Peak season is May and June so don’t wait too long!

Other big fish news…the goliath grouper is picking up. If you’re looking to catch one of the largest grouper species or one of the most powerful fish in Florida, give us a call to set up your goliath grouper fishing charter!

Tight lines and good luck out there.

redtail

Fall can be a very productive time of year to fish. Water temperatures start to come back down and the fish become a bit more active. Boca Grande and Englewood offshore temperatures are already starting to creep below 80 degrees. Inshore Charlotte Harbor, snook and reds are starting to become more plentiful. Target these guys in the morning with your favorite topwater lure of choice. Our favorite topwater is Heddon’s spook one knocker in the bone color. Another good choice is the spook XT because the hooks are a bit sturdier and you are less likely to lose that monster snook. When using topwater lures, you want to utilize the “walk the dog” action. This involves a steady twitch and reel which takes a bit of practice, but once you get it dialed in, it’s game on. All too often we see folks overwork these lures either by twitching too hard or not twitching enough. You want to work the lure hard enough to get it to move side to side to activate the rattle but not so hard that you are pulling it out of the water. One of the most important things to remember is to NOT set the hook. A topwater lure produces violent reaction strikes, so many times the fish will miss the lure on that initial strike. Jerking or setting the hook will pull the lure away from the fish and you will most likely not be able to tease them back. However, if you keep that steady twitch, reel action consistent after the initial strike, you are more likely to receive successive strikes, increasing your hook up ratio. For topwater fishing, I prefer to use a 7’ rod with a 3000 or 4000 reel spooled up with 15lb braid and 30lb fluorocarbon. Always tie a loop knot to the lure to allow for even more action.

The trout bite has still been consistent and we’ve been catching them on topwater, live bait and other lures of choice such as Mirrolures’s mirrodine. For those that prefer live bait, I like to use a Bomber popping cork with about a 3’ flouro leader to target trout or a free lined white bait on a 5 or 6 ott hook to target snook and reds.

As fall approaches, be on the lookout for those massive schools of redfish. You’ll find them up in the flats foraging for food and eating everything in sight. These schools are very easy to spot and have a tendency to stay in the same areas for several days moving with the tides. So if you find them in a specific area today, check that area tomorrow during the similar tide. When you do find them, use your trolling motor to get ahead of the school so you have more time and better opportunity for bait placement.

Mahi mahi

The snapper and grouper bite has been great as well. Find a good patch of hard bottom, mark fish on your machine, and make a few test drops before deciding to anchor. Once you find a good number of fish, cut up that bonita you caught on the way out into large 6” triangular strips and send that to the bottom. I like to use a 3’ length of 50lb fluorocarbon leader with a 7 to 8ott circle hook with anywhere from 3 to 6oz of lead. Once the lead hits the bottom, reel up a crank or two so the lead is not getting snagged and you have a head start on getting that monster off the ocean floor. We pulled in several 27”+ red grouper using this tactic on our last trip out. While waiting for that big guy, drop a ¼ or ½ oz jighead with cutbait or livebait hooked through the mouth to target snapper. Remember to grab a couple bags of ice to toss in that Pelican cooler so you can keep your catch iced, fresh and ready for dinner.

Another reminder is to wear sun protective clothing and sunscreen where skin is exposed. Remember to reapply after swimming or diving. Our favorite brand of sun protective clothing is Huk. They are the top of the line and most stylish fishing shirt on the market. Hats, visors, and gaiters are also available with a multitude of color and style selections.

So if you’re ready to get out and catch some fish, feel free to give us a call at 941-698-0323.

Florida Inshore Xtream charters
Captains Jesse McDowall and Kelly Eberly
https://www.floridainshorextream.com

Charlotte Harbor snook

Spotted sea trout action is hot!

Capt Kelly and I have had fin-nominal days out on the water. The trout bite has been very reliable and a popping cork and a live shrimp prove a deadly combination. Hopefully with the warmer weather and the water temps creeping back up into the mid to high 70’s we’ll see better bait showing up and more of our game fish species becoming more active. Topwater action is picking up for these aggressive little buggers as well. We have had some pretty good action slinging plastic in the past week. Topwater fishing is absolutely amazing and probably my favorite type of lure to throw. But, you’ve got to get the right motion or you’ll be wasting time. “Walking the dog” action involves a constant zig-zag movement of left, right, left, right, hard enough to activate the rattles but soft enough to keep the bait in the water. It might take a bit of practice to get it just right but it’s well worth it when it’s done properly. My favorite topwater selection would be the spook jr or spook one knocker both in the bone or trout color.

Do yourself a favor and head on over to a great local sports store and talk to Malcom or Eric Cook at Cooks Sportland out on 41 in Venice. They have an amazing selection of baits, fishing supplies and whatever you need for your outdoor activities and have been doing so for the last 50 years. Grab a few of your favorite topwater baits and get to slinging. Like I said, my favorites are the spook one knocker and spook jr. Tell them Capt Jesse sent you and they’ll treat you like they treat everyone else… like family! You can find them at 4419 Tamiami Trl S, Venice FL (941) 493-0025.

Snook, trout, and reds have spread themselves all around the flats and mangrove islands so keep an eye out for them because there are some biiiiggg snook out there. One thing you’ve got to remember about snook is they are very smart and have very distinct eating habits. The way I can best describe this cunning opposition is to compare them to cats. You can put his favorite food in front of him and if he’s not hungry he’ll turn his nose up and walk away. But on the other hand, if the conditions are right they’ll crush that bait like it was his worst enemy and he stole his woman. Recently, we’ve been catching them by soaking cut bait in the potholes and along mangrove shorelines. Chumming with live bait works if you can find the numbers needed this time of year.

Here are a few more items I think are just as important as choosing what bait or place to fish.  How about eye wear or sun protection. Now if you’ve visited the dermatologist in your lifetime then you know they’d have us become nocturnal, avoiding the sun as best as possible. But, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to apply sunscreen so liberally that you look like a walking ghost.  I’ve had folks onboard that caked so much sunscreen on throughout the trip I was nauseous at days end. Not to mention all of my gear, seats, tower and bait was coated with it as well. I have one small spray bottle of good quality name brand 100 spf non-greasy sun screen I use for my nose and face…that’s it. So having said that, the next best thing in my sun defense arsenal is my eyewear and sun protective clothing. I’ve used many different protective eye wear and I’ll be honest with you, not much difference between them all except for this new company I’ve been using lately. Salt Life optics… I’ve had the same pair since last summer and for someone like me to have a pair that long is really saying something. Now granted, they do get “weathered” but it’s the lenses that have captivated me. Salt Life sport optics with Zeiss lenses are another product that taken care of will last you quite a while.  Regarding apparel, another new line that I recommend is the HUK performance fishing apparel, known as HUK gear (pronounced hook). It’s a really cool line of performance gear that I’m sure you’ve seen us wearing in some of our pictures. Check them out at www.HUKGEAR.com.

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

 

Oh Boy… winter time blues!!! Well, I know it is really winter time when Kelly has on 5 or 6 layers of clothing and her waterproof gloves out. It may be cold, but if you look for the right places to fish, winter time can be very productive. Creek mouths are a great place to start. They have the 3 keys to finding fish that I always try to stress…food, moving water and cover. Get these 3 things together and you’re sure to find fish. There are several creeks along the west wall of Charlotte Harbor and even a few in Turtle Bay worth fishing. Throughout the creeks, there are deeper holes and stretches that you’ll want to target.

Throughout the Harbor, sheepshead are still milling about and eating live shrimp cut into 3rds. Have plenty of shrimp because they are very good at getting your shrimp off the hook and leaving you fishing on credit. Another favorite bait for these buck tooth convicts would be fiddler crabs. Shrimp are in high demand right now at your local bait shops…so if you’re planning a sheepshead trip you might want to call or buy some a few days in advance.

Redfish and snook seem to be about everywhere right now. They’re hitting shrimp, scented soft plastics and chunked lady fish or pinfish. Look along the shorelines in shallower water because they’ll move into the shallows as the sun warms up the water. If you have a shallow running boat, you may be able to venture in the back country and fish the potholes. These are excellent spots to pick up trout, redfish, and snook. But, be very careful because we have had some very low tides and not many boats run skinny enough to get back there.

So whatever you plan on targeting during your fishing trip, go ahead and pick up some shrimp because it is a catch all. Trout and other fun fish such as ladyfish are still abundant along the bars and in the pot holes mentioned previously. You’re more likely to find fish in those areas with shallow shorelines/sandbars adjacent to a deep drop off. They like these spots as it provides an easy transition from deeper water for finding food into shallower water for warming up. I would recommend deeper grass flats on these cooler months for trout. I would start with live shrimp on a light wire 4/0 circle hook under a Bomber saltwater grade paradise popper with 20 lb fluorocarbon. For leader length…you will want to fish mid to lower part of the water column, too deep and you’ll just be feeding the pinfish and if it’s too far off the bottom they’ll probably not expend the energy to go looking for it.

Remember, the water temperature is hovering in the low to mid 60’s and warms in the latter part of the day. Most of our fish (like our residents) like it a bit warmer before they really get aggressive…so slow down on those retrieves.  The good news is that most of the fish are easily accessible on most of the sandbars, shorelines and oyster bars. Don’t get too close to the bars or shoreline or you may pass over the fish. For all the fish we’ve seen along the shoreline, there have been just as many milling around in the 3-4ft range. So don’t rush immediately to the shoreline; stop in that 4ft range and fish your way towards the shoreline.

For “fun fish” (jacks, ladyfish, trout, etc), look for bait schools and birds diving. This is usually an indication of fish in the area. Many times, they are all mixed in there together… sometimes you just have to weed through them to find the ones you’re looking for. A good, simple rig for winter time fishing is a live shrimp on a 1/4 or 1/8th ounce jig head. I like to remove the “fin” part of that shrimp’s tail, then feed the hook right where the fin was removed on the tail, letting the hook come out near the legs.

Nearshore fishing has still been productive if you can get out past the red tide and its affects we’ve been experiencing recently. Mangrove and lane snapper have been plentiful on hard bottom around the 8 and 9 mile mark. Nearshore reefs will be holding sheepshead and occasionally schools of permit passing through. But, if you’re seeing large numbers of dead fish in the area you’re trying to fish, you might be in an area affected too badly by red tide. It has a funny smell and some people experience a tickle feeling in the back of their throat. In this case, pack up and try elsewhere because many of the target species of fish will have cleared out. But, like I said, if you’re able to push out to around 8 miles, you’ll start to find cleaner water and more fish.

Folks, that’s a wrap for me. When you’re ready for a great day out on the water…

You can give us a call @ 941-698-0323 or find us Facebook, Instagram, or our web page @

www.FloridaInshoreXtream.com
Capt Jesse McDowall

CIMG4108

Okay, trout are definably on what we would say “the hunt”. They are hungry and looking for anything to eat! They’re mostly eating live bait like shrimp and white bait. When you find an area with plenty of trout, try changing up to soft plastics and have some fast fun. Soft plastics are a very good way to cover a large area quickly. Most of the time you’ll find the fish stacked up in the potholes at low tide and along the bars throughout the harbor. These are prime spots for tossing soft plastic. Many times when you find a good spot with plenty of trout, you’ll probably be catching just about everything… snook, reds, trout…oh and don’t forget the all elusive channel cat! One of my other favorite fish finding baits would be a shrimp and a popping cork. Bomber makes one that is very hard to beat. The Paradise Popper has a titanium wire which is very strong and will hold shape even after the most brutal of onslaughts. Another effective way to rig that cork other than the traditional 24 inches of flouro and a 6/0 circle hook is to substitute that circle hook for a ¼ oz jig head and soft scented plastics like mirro-lure’s lil’ jon or a Berkley gulp shrimp. With this method you get the best of both worlds the noisy popping action and the speed of the jig. I like to fish this if I am in a situation where my bait is limited.

This time of year the hot bite can be on shrimp one day and something else the next so it doesn’t hurt to pick up a few dozen live shrimp every time you go fishing because snook and reds love them as well. We’ve had very mild weather for the most this year… and there are still plenty of snook popping under the mangroves so try the topwater baits throughout the day. I use them as an indication of how aggressive the bite is. If they blow it out of the water then I’d say they are pretty active and keep slinging it. If they swat at it lazily and are not really crushing it then you might want to assess your approach and either slow down the retrieve or switch to another bait that you can work a little more slowly like the jig and popper cork I mentioned earlier. If we can get the wind to back off a bit I’d also recommend some of the near shore reef fishing. Soon the sheepshead will stack up on the artificial reefs and live shrimp will dominate as the go to bait choice. The beaches are still very productive as are our pass fishing like Boca Grande. Get out to the beaches or run out of a pass… all it takes is a half mile or so out off the beach… back down the throttle a bit, and look for the birds or fish flying out of the water. You’re sure to find large schools bonito and spanish mackerel. The outgoing tides are going to be the hot ticket as it dumps any remaining bait out into the Gulf. Flounder move offshore in the fall and winter months to spawn, so when you find some… there should be more in the area. Watch your bottom machine for structure and drops and work around them with those live shrimp as well. Some really nice flounder have been the guest of honor at several dinner tables lately so keep an eye out for them. Out on the beaches and out several miles be on the lookout for bonito, black fin tuna, spanish and king mackerel. Mackerel are making their fall run and are in big numbers and offer a great opportunity to bend a rod. Scoop up a few nets of big threadfin herring and see why we call them “smoker Kings”. Just look for the birds and keep your head on a swivel while running from one spot to another and I’m sure you’ll spot them with ease.

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. 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

Well it is fall again and we’ve been waiting and waiting for the water temp to get below the boiling point… Guess all that wind cooled it down like a spoon full of hot soup! Now if only the wind would let up. Just this past week Kelly and I have had quite a few reds and really nice trout bending our rods in the back country. But in order to find any of the fishing that’s going to be worthwhile, you have got to put in some time and do some scouting. Most times you can tell when there are fish in the area by how long it takes for that first fish to be caught. If your shrimp and popper cork hit the water and before you can get the bail flipped back over your line is blistering off the spool… you’re in the right spot. Keep in mind there are wafts of red tide in our area so keep an eye out for that. Make sure to keep an eye on your bait as well. It will only take a minute and all of those little silver fish catching gems will be flat on the bottom doing their best impression of a mirror.

All that hard work and time spent catching bait for nothing. The best thing for the inshore bite right now is catch more bait than what you think you’d need so you can chum a little or toss out a hand full if you want to see if there are any fish around. If  you’ve found a schools of reds, position yourself up current and place some cut bait on 7″ – 8″ circle hooks. Stick that rod in the rod holder and crack a cool beverage and chat with your fishing buddy until that rod bends over and the drag screams like a banshee. The most common mistake when fishing circle hooks is “setting the hook.” I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve told people that they are over fishing a circle hook. I promise you you’ll pull that hook almost every time.  For the reds, look for them along bars and up on the grass flats. If you’re quiet and have a little patience, they will show you where they are while they’re feeding. There’s a distinct difference between a mullet tail and a red’s tail. Mullet are constantly moving and for the most part will not have their whole tail out of the water… only a tip or a bit more. Reds barely move their tail and will range from just the tip to the entire tail out as they root around in the grass for food. This is the fun part… because you can stake the boat and sneak up on them… pitch that bait… and boom! Fish on!

Keep your eyes open for some really good snook fishing.  Linesiders are making their move inside after that last cold front and will start fattening up preparing for the winter slow down.  Find moving water and you will find snook.  Look in areas like creek mouths, troughs, docks, and other structure. More than likely you’ll find live bait works best, but still keep a few topwater baits handy.

Other than live bait, fish soft plastic on a lead jig head around the edge of the grass flats and pot holes. I like to throw Mirrolure’s scented 3-3/4″ Lil John soft plastic twitch bait rigged with 1/8th oz jig head and with the wind howling you’ll still be able to make very respectable casts.  Water clarity is going to dictate which color you want to use and these are a few of my recommendations for our area…new penny, root beer and lastly  gold and glitter.

Out on the beaches and out several miles be on the lookout for bonita, black fin tuna, spanish and king mackerel. Mackerel are making their fall run and are in big numbers and offer a great opportunity to bend a rod. Scoop up a few nets of big threadfin herring and see why we call them “smoker kings”. Just look for the birds and keep your head on a swivel while running from one spot to another and I’m sure you’ll spot them with ease.

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. 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
jesse@fixcharters.com

When you run your boat as much as I do you’ll find it just as important not only to know how to fish but to be able to get to the fish. What’s the use of having a state of the art fishing machine with all the bells and whistles if the bells are mute and the whistle is dry? Probably just about as good as having a $500 rod and reel with no line on it. One thing I’ve learned over the years is boats don’t like to sit…so if you are one of those people who park your machine and come back 6 months later thinking “I think I’ll run 50 miles offshore tomorrow”… better make sure your seatow policy is up to date. One of the keys to boat maintenance is also one of the simplest- wash your boat regularly. Not only does routine cleaning facilitate a more pleasant and organized environment, but it also goes a long way towards counteracting the long-term effects of environmental wear and tear. Routine washing and waxing protect your boat from the elements. I use a product called woody’s wax. It’s a bit slippery so be careful when you first apply it on your decks. There are a myriad of finer points to keep in mind when it comes to boat maintenance. The best way to ensure that you have all the bases covered is to follow a checklist. Now it doesn’t have to be some huge 4 page list of items. Just a memory jog or something to remember to do if you’re gonna be away for a few months. One of the most common ways a boat can start to show scratches and damage is not only from when it’s in use- but from when it’s being docked. Make sure lines are securely fastened in place, neatly coiled, and do not show signs of breakage or wear. Depending on the type of battery your boat uses, check to ensure that it is properly charged also that it has the correct fluid levels. (distilled water) also be sure to keep your battery clean, as dampness corrosion and dirt can also drain your battery or prevent contact of your onboard charging system.

Proper boat maintenance means being actively involved in, and attuned to, all aspects of your vessel. This means keeping an eye out for everything from loose fittings to fraying lines to any other areas of your boat that may need special attention or replacement. Many times, damages incurred to a boat could easily have been prevented by fixing that small item before it grew into something larger. Today’s ethanol based fuel will wreck your fuel lines and plastic (nylon) engine parts. Fuel additives are great but if possible try to use non ethanol fuel especially if it may sit for any extended period of time. Things like phase separation of the fuel sitting in your carb are bad news. If you’ve never seen what it looks like after sitting for a season… well just hope you don’t have to. Just the same, there’s nothing worse than having a bunch of dirt in your engine. Dirt dobbers love to build their houses in protected areas. Boat cowling make great homes for them and guess what they make their nest out of… dirt! A well placed nest in your air intake and boom, dirt in your engine! Rats and mice are no different when it comes to living aboard your boat. It’s like a cruise ship to them. There is tons of room for activities and who wouldn’t enjoy plenty of bunk beds for the kids. We had an old center console Boston whaler and a family of mice got in the console and set up basecamp. Why they like to chew on the wires is beyond me … but they chewed the covers off of the GPS antenna wire and some of the other power wires as well. That’s dangerous because now you have exposed wires which could lead to shorting out and could cause a fire. Another crucial and probably the most important aspect of boat maintenance are ensuring that your bilge pumps are functioning properly. There’s nothing more that can cause the death of your floating dream that having it sink. In the event that you need to use your pump you’d feel better knowing you just installed that set of 1100 GPH pumps. Making an investment in a boat cover can help keep your boat clean and free of a variety of contaminants that aren’t just related to dirt or water. Pine needles, falling leaves and bird droppings can also cause a lot of rot or damage if left unchecked. A boat cover can also prevent UV rays from breaking down rubber hoses or fading carpets and upholstery. Just make sure it has some ventilation to let the moisture out or you’ll have mold growing when you go to use it. But again these are just some food for thought items and not gospel by any means.

Folks that’s gonna do it for me this week. So put out the gone fishin’ sign, stock up on tackle, load up that livewell and head on out to your favorite fishing hole…or better yet get out and find some new ones and catch’em up. Just remember to leave a few to make replacements for tomorrow.

But if you’re feeling the need … give me a call 941- 698- 03 23 and remember you can always find me on Facebook, Instagram or my web page @ www.FloridaInshoreXtream.com

Tight lines and y’all stay safe!!

Captain Jesse McDowall
Florida Inshore Xtream charters
941-698-0323
jesse@fixcharters.com

Englewood Redfish
Englewood Redfish

For most of our anglers fishing fix we’ve been using whitebait and shrimp for plenty of trout and other inshore species. With these darker waters we’ve had over the past few months it can be difficult for the fish to visually locate food at distances more than a foot or so. That’s where the noise of the popping cork comes into play. Not only do fish feed by sight but also by smell, vibrations and more importantly… sounds of other feeding fish. With a popping cork, you provide almost all of the sense stimuli they normally use to feed. One of the most common mistakes I see on a regular basis with these noisy fish magnets is folks not leaving the bait in the same general area. How this is supposed to work is simple…Make a cast and with minimal movement to the bait, pop the cork with enough force to actually make a “pop” but not pull the bait off the hook. It should sound like a fish strike if you’ve done it correctly. Also this needs to be done without moving the whole rig more than a few inches from where you first made the original entry. Remember, you’re trying to call the fish to your bait and if you’re moving it 5 ft every time you pop that cork… well, you have defeated the purpose of the noise attractant. As far as rigging, I like to make my leaders (fluorocarbon) length close to but not on the bottom or in the grass. You want your bait to be easily seen when the noise draws them in for a closer investigation, not tangled up or able to hide in the weeds. Trying to fish mid column would be a more accurate description. Finish those popper corks with a split shot weight in the middle of the leader, a 4/0 to 6/0 circle hook and a live bait. Look for current rips at creek mouths, pot holes, grass flats and channels along mangroves.

For those early morning risers… you’re gonna do great throwing top water baits like the Heddon spooks, the One knocker spook and the spook jr in the bone color. You may also want to grab some live shrimp at your local bait shops like Gasparilla Marina or the Dearborn corner market. Stop by and see my good friend Taylor and his lovely wife Cindy and tell them Capt Jesse sent ya. They’ve got “bait till late.”

For the rest of our inshore news… still getting reports of quality redfish caught in places like the west wall and on up into Lemon and Sarasota Bay. Fish around structure like docks and up around the mangroves. Redfish will frequent our flats, bays and creek mouths in their quest for food. Look for them to be tailing in pods exceeding 30 fish. If you are finding them finicky… as they sometimes can be, a large live shrimp or chunked ladyfish still remain favorite “go to” baits. You might try Mirro-lure’s scented 3-3/4″ lil’ john soft plastic twitch bait, as it’s been the go to bait as we’ve fished these dark waters… rigged with 1/8th oz jig heads and the wind howling, still we were able to make very respectable casts. You can really sling that sucker without fear of it sliding off the jig head. Pending on the water clarity you’re fishing, colors like new penny, root beer and pink silver seem to be the ticket.

Don’t forget to take a peek out on the beaches. Bonita, Spanish mackerel, and king mackerel are migrating in big numbers and offer a great opportunity to bend a rod. Nearshore is the easiest way to find fish right now…just look for the birds. We’re still seeing tons of birds working mixed bags of big ol’ spanish and king mackerel, jacks and bonito from just outside of the passes… on out to about 3 miles. Remember to keep a stout outfit rigged and “at the ready” …you never know when that bruiser cobia will stop by to see what all the commotion is about. I’ll keep one of my Penn Spinfisher V 6500 on stand-by with a 7/0 circle hook with 50 lb leader just for this reason. More times than not they will absolutely knock the snot out of a piece of cut bait or a jig tipped with a hunk of squid.

If you’re ready to get out and see how we do it you can call us at 941-698-0323. You can also find Capt Kelly and I on Facebook, Instagram or our web page www.FloridaInshoreXtream.com. 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
jesse@fixcharters.com