Byron Stout's Fish Finder: July 20

Posted: Jul 18, 2018 12:36 PM Updated:
Ten-year-old Dillon Carbral's 31-inch snook was a consolation prize. The big one of the day got away Saturday in Matlacha Pass,  according to Lehr's Economy Tackle. Ten-year-old Dillon Carbral's 31-inch snook was a consolation prize. The big one of the day got away Saturday in Matlacha Pass, according to Lehr's Economy Tackle.
Mike Westra's big red was part of a limit of grouper to 33 inches caught with Winter Haven tackle rep Charlie Reynolds. Mike Westra's big red was part of a limit of grouper to 33 inches caught with Winter Haven tackle rep Charlie Reynolds.
Leo Marino of Lehr's Economy Tackle caught this big red grouper in 108 feet of water out of Boca Grande with Charlie Reynolds of Winter Haven. Leo Marino of Lehr's Economy Tackle caught this big red grouper in 108 feet of water out of Boca Grande with Charlie Reynolds of Winter Haven.
Reel Talk Radio host Capt. Rob Modys used a shrimp on a circle hook to catch and release this 28-inch cobia at the MAY Reef off Big Carlos Pass, while fishing Friday with his brother, Pete. Reel Talk Radio host Capt. Rob Modys used a shrimp on a circle hook to catch and release this 28-inch cobia at the MAY Reef off Big Carlos Pass, while fishing Friday with his brother, Pete.
Karin Junc's thumbs-up was akin to that of the Roman emperors -- the signal to let the vanquished gladiator live. She caught and released her undersize red grouper 12 miles west of New Pass Monday on her offshore Fishbuster Charter. Karin Junc's thumbs-up was akin to that of the Roman emperors -- the signal to let the vanquished gladiator live. She caught and released her undersize red grouper 12 miles west of New Pass Monday on her offshore Fishbuster Charter.
Sven Junc's mantis shrimp was the oddball on a catch-and-release Fishbuster Charter that also produced 23 short red grouper, 12 lane snapper and two dozen grunts. Sven Junc's mantis shrimp was the oddball on a catch-and-release Fishbuster Charter that also produced 23 short red grouper, 12 lane snapper and two dozen grunts.
Mantis shrimp are carnivores with a dangerous tail snap. They're not often caught locally, but Atlantic Coast wade fishermen fear stepping on their burrows, and shrimpers know them as thumb splitters. Mantis shrimp are carnivores with a dangerous tail snap. They're not often caught locally, but Atlantic Coast wade fishermen fear stepping on their burrows, and shrimpers know them as thumb splitters.
Delaware angler Bob Palmer used a purple Puglisi fly to catch and release this 15-pound tarpon, one of an absolutely amazing number of juveniles now hanging off Charlotte Harbor's east side, according to Wildfly Charters Capt. Gregg McKee. Delaware angler Bob Palmer used a purple Puglisi fly to catch and release this 15-pound tarpon, one of an absolutely amazing number of juveniles now hanging off Charlotte Harbor's east side, according to Wildfly Charters Capt. Gregg McKee.
Like Wet Willie, Bob Diersing was smilin' through the rain at Galt Island, before releasing this oversize redfish caught on Saturday's rising tide with Capt. Chris Foust. Like Wet Willie, Bob Diersing was smilin' through the rain at Galt Island, before releasing this oversize redfish caught on Saturday's rising tide with Capt. Chris Foust.
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Fishing's been OK, but nowhere near as hot as the weather. Strong new moon tides didn't produce the action some folks expected which, as the sages are wont, is why they call it fishing (not catching).

Recreational fishing for red snapper in Gulf waters includes Friday, July 20, for anglers in private boats, and Saturday, July 21 for recreational anglers in federally permitted charter boats. Catches in waters outside 100 feet remained good throughout the month-long seasons.

Inshore anglers have a pretty good chance at a grand slam on juvenile tarpon, snook, redfish and trout. And fish fry fixin's in the form of cornmeal dusted bluegills are pretty much a given in fresh water.

OFFSHORE: Mike Westra and Leo Marino of Lehr's Economy Tackle joined Charlie Reynolds of Winter Haven for a Monday adventure that included limits of red snapper to 12 pounds, red grouper to 33 inches, plus a snapper slam of yellowtails, lanes and mangroves, and releases of two big gray triggerfish and a half-dozen banded rudderfish. Baits included peewee shrimp, live pinfish, frozen sardines and best of all, squid, dropped in depths from 108 to 132 feet out of Boca Grande.

King Fisher offshore trips out of Fishermen's Village in Punta Gorda have been good for three or four barracuda caught casting red tube lures over two or three artificial reefs in depths of 60 to 70 feet off Boca Grande Pass, where bottom fishing has produced an average of one keeper red grouper and a mix of 30 or so lane snapper, porgies and other panfish.

Daniel Blaiser and Karin and Sven Junc landed 23 short red grouper, a dozen lane snapper and two dozen grunts on an all-release offshore Fishbuster Charter Monday morning, 12 miles west of New Pass with Bonita Beach Capt. Dave Hanson.

Sven Junc's mantis shrimp was the oddball on a catch-and-release Fishbuster Charter that also produced 23 short red grouper, 12 lane snapper and two dozen grunts.

TARPON: Wildfly Charters Capt. Gregg McKee sent in a picture of Delaware angler Bob Palmer with his first tarpon, a 15-pounder that took a purple Puglisi fly at the north end of Matlacha Pass on Tuesday. The Matlacha guide reports "absolutely amazing" numbers of sometimes finicky juvenile tarpon off Charlotte Harbor's eastern shoreline -- "more fish this month than any time in the nine years I've been guiding off Pine Island."

Norm Zeigler's Fly, Bait & Tackle Shop on Sanibel reports under-slot snook and baby tarpon biting in the back country of the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, mostly in the evenings. Wildlife Drive (closed Fridays) is open from 7 a.m. until until 8 p.m. through July, and from 7a 'til 7:30 p in August.

SLAM SPECIES: Get Hooked Charters with Capt. Matt DeAngelis have been freelining scaled sardines to catch snook in Estero Bay's passes -- Big Carlos, New Pass and Big Hickory.

Zeigler's reports inconsistent results for snook anglers along Sanibel's beaches, where some days they see hundreds, some days few. Some days hundreds of casts produce "fewer than a handful" of hookups, with fly casters working dock lights along Captiva's Roosevelt Channel also reporting very limited success. Live baits have produced releases of a few over-slot snook in Blind Pass.

Fort Myers angler Ben Frazier used cut ladyfish to catch three redfish in the low-20-inch range, three snook in the mid-20s, and an almost keeper size 23-inch gag grouper Sunday in Ding Darling.

Lehr's also reports Nardo Perez of Miami and Felix Hernandez of Cape Coral caught and released a 12-pound crevalle jack and a 38-inch snook while casting 3/4-ounce gold Johns Sprite spoons east of Sword Point, at the south end of Matlacha Pass.

Up at the north end of Matlacha Pass, 10-year-old Dillon Carbral used cut ladyfish to release a 31-inch snook -- just bigger than dad Jay's -- but lost the big fish of the day on a trip that also produced a couple of redfish, according to Lehr's.

Ten-year-old Dillon Carbral's 31-inch snook was a consolation prize. The big one of the day got away Saturday in Matlacha Pass,  according to Lehr's Economy Tackle.

 Bob Diersing sent in his picture with an over-slot redfish he released near Pine Island Sound's Galt Island. He and Capt. Chris Foust were fishing live "white baits" (scaled sardines) on Saturday's incoming tide.

King Fisher bay boats report good action on mostly undersize trout along Charlotte Harbor's upper east side, where the occasional 22-incher sometimes comes out of the black water.

MIXED BAGS: Reel Talk Radio host Capt. Rob Modys and his brother, Pete, caught small mangrove snapper, ladyfish, jacks and a 28-inch cobia last Friday at the MAY Reef. That was after catching ladyfish, jacks and small trout in Big Carlos Pass, and before finishing the day hear upper San Carlos Bay's Sister Keys, where they caught a 20-inch redfish and a bunch of undersize mangs, mostly all on shrimp.

Reel Talk Radio host Capt. Rob Modys used a shrimp on a circle hook to catch and release this 28-inch cobia at the MAY Reef off Big Carlos Pass, while fishing Friday with his brother, Pete.

 

Capt. DeAngelis reports Texan Jim Jordan and his family pulled their limits totaling 15 mangrove snapper of 10 inches or better out of New Pass, with keeper mangs also abundant in Big Carlos Pass and on rocks off Bonita Beach.

Zeigler's reports a few Spanish mackerel and jacks are being caught on live baits in the dark water at the Sanibel Pier.

King Fisher bay boats continue to report unusual numbers of snapper taking shrimp under corks on Charlotte Harbor's upper east side flats, where they also are catching a few bonnethead sharks.

FRESH WATER

LAKE TRAFFORD: The bluegill bite picked up this week for boaters and bank fishers at the pier and shorelines of Ann Olesky Park. The bluegills have been biting crickets and worms, and Lake Trafford Marina also reports some nice "butter cats" (yellow bullheads) being caught on worms.

LAKE OKEECHOBEE: Roland Martin's Marine Center in Clewiston reports good bluegill fishing around hatches of emerging chizzywinks, non-biting insects of the genus Chironomidae, around spoil islands off Uncle Joe's (Mayaca) Cut and the Okeechobee Waterway out of Clewiston.
Bass fishing remains good along the North Shore, in the Monkey Box area and in Bay Bottom, with action beginning to heat up along Observation Shoal. Topwater baits are good at daybreak, after which it's flippin' and pitchin' time with artificials, although live shiners are good anytime.


PIC OF THE WEEK: Like Wet Willie, Bob Diersing was smilin' through the rain at Galt Island, before releasing this oversize redfish caught on Saturday's rising tide with Capt. Chris Foust.

Like Wet Willie, Bob Diersing was smilin' through the rain at Galt Island, before releasing this oversize redfish caught on Saturday's rising tide with Capt. Chris Foust.

 
FISH TIP: Although tarpon are widely known as one of the world's most accessible big game fish, they come in other sizes that many anglers consider most fun of all. Juveniles like Delaware angler Bob Palmer's may be even more acrobatic than their big brethren, and Wildfly Charters Capt. Gregg McKee reports more this month than he's ever experienced in the nine years he's been guiding out of Matlacha. Tarpon can gulp air at the surface, and their habit of rolling with their backs exposed when they refill their lung-like air bladders makes them great targets to sneak on in a poled skiff. They will take live shrimp and crabs, live and cut baitfish, and many artificial lures, but many purists think anything but a fly for tarpon fishing is just wrong. Fish low-light hours for the best bite.

Delaware angler Bob Palmer used a purple Puglisi fly to catch and release this 15-pound tarpon, one of an absolutely amazing number of juveniles now hanging off Charlotte Harbor's east side, according to Wildfly Charters Capt. Gregg McKee.

 


HOT SPOTS


No. 1: Charlotte Harbor flats for juvenile tarpon, trout and snapper.
No. 2: Upper Matlacha Pass for redfish and snook.
No. 3: Blind Pass for snook.
No. 4: Sanibel beaches for snook.
No. 5: Estero Bay passes for snapper and snook.
No. 6: Offshore for snappers and grouper.
No. 7: Lake Trafford for bluegill.

 

LAKE OKEECHOBEE


No. 1: North Shore for bass.
No. 2: Monkey Box for bass.
No. 3: Uncle Joe's spoil islands for bluegill.
No. 4: "Ship Channel" spoil islands for bluegill.
No. 5: Bay Bottom for bass.

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