Lately we’ve been running a mixture of trips. Right now it’s full blown vacation season which typically brings a lot of Shark fishing charters, but we’ve also been doing some heavy inshore fishing.
First, for those of you that are reading this while considering a guided fishing trip, I’ll explain the best options and what that entails.
Inshore fishing –
This means that we’ll be fishing primarily in the sounds (you may call them bays) and rivers. We are doing some fishing along the beach line as well to target what are normally considered inshore species. You can expect to fish with light tackle (spinning reels) and mostly live bait in the form of shrimp or minnows. Primary targets are Speckled Trout, Redfish, and Flounder although sometimes you will find Black Drum, Tripletail, or Sheepshead. During these warmer months we also catch a lot of “trash fish” like ladyfish and bluefish. While there is no table quality with those, they’re still fun to catch.
If you are looking to fill up a cooler, this isn’t the time of year to do it. While we’ll most likely catch enough keepers for your crew to have a nice dinner, we’re not going to supply your church and extended family with a fish fry. You probably don’t expect that, but we do occasionally have customers that book a half day and expect to pack the freezer.
If you are wanting to fish mainly for edible fish and you don’t care so much about sport, there is one fish we can target that fits the bill; Whiting. They’re not big, they aren’t something you’ll brag to your friends about, but we can catch plenty of them and they’re great to eat.
Nearshore fishing –
You’ll be fishing anywhere from a mile to 10 miles from the beach on the ocean side of the island. You’ll be able to see land the entire time. On nearshore trips right now, we are mostly targeting Sharks although we might see some Tarpon or Jack Crevalle and switch gears to target those instead. On these trips you will mostly fish with heavier tackle as Sharks will average around 5 to 6 feet and 80 to 120 pounds.
This is all catch and release fishing so don’t expect to bring dinner home. If you would like to do some shark fishing but still want to bring home some fish for dinner, we can stop and do some Whiting fishing if we have time. Just remember that the shorter the trip, the less we can feasibly pack in.
Kids Trips –
On kid’s trips we are fishing mainly for Shark, Whiting, and Stingrays. We are really looking for anything that will bite and bend the rod in order to keep the kids busy and interested. We will likely be fishing in the sounds within 10 minutes of the dock.
Tarpon fishing –
It’s not quite prime time as of this writing but as soon as the bait gets in a pattern, it will be time to start targeting Tarpon. For right now, they are a target of opportunity but by the end of July we should be fishing for them almost daily and in August we’ll hardly fish for anything else most of the time.
We target Tarpon with live bait on most trips although if you prefer it we will sometimes use artificial baits. You can expect to spend most of your time around the inlets in between the island and as far out as 4 or 5 miles. Many dedicated Tarpon anglers will book multiple days as you don’t get one on every trip. They are well known for finding ways to get off the hook.
If you want to target Tarpon specifically, we need to book a 6 or 8 hour trip. It’s an all day job as we’ll start the day catching bait and do quite a bit of moving around to keep up with the fish.
For Those of You Reading this for the Fishing Report…
The inshore fishing has been good and we’ve been finding most of our fish in 1 to 5 feet of water around shell beds and creek mouths. Trout have been mostly either small or really big with not that many in between. The Flounder bite has been really good with several days catching them in the double digits. The Redfish are around but many will be rat size. All along the intracoastal has been good but Cumberland beach has been good as well on certain days.
Nearshore, like I said above, has been good for Shark fishing but the bait isn’t consistent yet which is making Tarpon fishing less reliable than it will be once things get on track. A lot of the pogies that we are seeing are small and scattered. Once the big baits starts doing its thing we’ll be in a lot better shape. We’ve seen a few schools of Jack Crevalle here and there as well.
Tripletail fishing has been off and on but it’s that time to start getting the big ones around the channel buoys and pilings around slack tide.
Here’s a tip: Get an early start and fish topwater plugs to target the bigger Trout and Redfish right now. The early morning topwater bite is excellent if you trust your buddy enough to not put the treble hooks in your face!
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