Tarpon, Grouper Cobia

March 25, 2017 by Jim Conant

Trip Info

The Catch
Grouper (Gag)

25 March 2017
Tarpon, Grouper, sheep and Trout

It’s been two weeks since my last report and during that period we have been on quite a few different species and having to work harder to find them or get them to bite. I have been fishing Charlotte Harbor a lot more than ever before and deeper waters in Matlacha and Pine Island sound. As most people know I have a new boat and can’t get into 11” of water with this new one like I used to, and with an 18” draft I’ve had to adapt to waiting to get in the back waters. So with that being said, the winds are still blowing and fronts still coming through every couple of days which is making fishing tough on everyone. The good news is that it is warming up finally. Water temps back up into the 70’s bigger bait showing up all around and with the bigger bait the bigger fish like Tarpon and cobia are showing up and big sharks won’t be far behind. The bigger snook which have eluded my clients are still in their usual hideouts. I would have pictures of them but my clients have yet to get one to the boat before losing them. They have caught plenty of short ones but the big ones are smart and big for that reason.
Reds are on the flats on the incoming tide and biting on cut bait. I have to wait for the tide to be higher for me to get back there but I’m not going to push a 24’ boat with clients on board in skinny water. So I wait to fish the mangrove line once the tide is high.
Snapper bite has been excellent around oyster beds with shrimp free floating on a #1 owner hook and they’ve been between 9” to keeper size up to 13”.
Sheepshead bite has been strong and they have been big using the same method as snapper or using shrimp on jig heads when the current is much faster and you need to hold your bait in the spot longer.
Cobia, BIG Cobia have been showing up on the flats and just about everywhere. I was in a snapper/sheepshead hole and my clients said look at this shark right next to the boat. I turned from retying a hook/leader and it was at least a 48” cobia checking us out. I tried to get the girls to get a line in so I could throw to it but they were more interested in pics.
Grouper although out of season are biting great. Had quite a few keeper/releasers caught this last week while trying for Tarpon and cobia that we saw splashing around my boat.
Tarpon are biting great if you have the right bait. In the early mornings I am catching bait and if I get enough huge greenbacks or threadfins dictates if I will target them. And when the wind isn’t blowing 20 mph I will be in search of them from Boca and Captiva pass and into the harbor.
The waters here in SW Florida are crystal clear and beautiful again, finally. Let’s hope it stays this way from now on so do your part in keeping our waters clean, when you’re out in your boat or kayak and see debris floating around go get it and dispose of it properly. Even with clients on board if I see trash floating anywhere near my path of travel I pick it up. Don’t run your motors through the grassy flats or there won’t be grassy flats much longer. If you think your boat runs skinny but you’re really mowing the grass you’re not helping. If you hook a bird bring to the boat and take the hook out don’t give it a death sentence leaving the hook and line attached to it. And lastly, with all this clean water and we can see down 8ft to the bottom the fish can see you too and your leader so if your not catching and another boat is. You may want to lighten up the leader material or find out what bait you didn’t catch.

If you’re ready to go fishing give me a call to plan your trip so we can try and catch the tides right.  If you’re a Veteran with proof I have the best prices around and I guarantee it.

Captain Jim

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Jimbo’s Charters

Jimbo’s Charters runs trips of various lengths in the along Florida’s southwest coast. Captain Jim Conant can launch his boat from one of several locations depending on your preference and where the best fish have been biting, and can take you