High Hopes Charters Fish Reports

Monday, May 23, 2011

Jim Schott from St. John, In. with a nice a sheepshead.
Roger McMorrow from Naples, showing off a 27 inch gag grouper.

April Coastal Angler Forecast

North Naples - Bonita - Ft. Myers Beach
Tide waits for no man! Get an early start in April. The extreme low morning tides we experienced in January, February and March have passed. Factor in near perfect water temperatures, ever increasing bait populations, continued northern migration of pelagic and lingering winter bottom fish. You have the formula for the best fishing month of the year!
Gear up for the reefs. 20 to 25 lb. spinning tackle will make good sport out of a smoker king, cobia, shark, or huge cuda. The Spanish mackerel are crashing surface bait every where you look. Drift through the schools. Cast silver spoons rigged on light spinning rods at any surface action. A quick retrieve will trigger lightning fast strikes from these speedsters. Free line a live bait in these schools for larger fish feeding lower in the water column. If you plan on anchoring over a reef take a heavy bottom rig. With the projected opening of grouper season for April, 1st. you will need a stout rod if you're planning on a grouper dinner. Sardines and squid are a good alternative to live baits. Try chunking some cut sardines in addition to the chum bag to get the bite started. Set a flat line or balloon rig to pick up any surface fish lured in by the chum. You will have the chance to cast the spoons at passing bait schools for Spanish mackerel, crevelle jacks and bonito too.
Go with light tackle in the back water. Snook, reds, and small tarpon are taking pins, threads and large live shrimp with a vengeance. With the higher tides you can work the mangroves. Look for surface activity, tailing fish, bait and shore birds working or shaded areas. The deeper holes that held snapper and sheepshead in the winter might be home to a few tarpon now. Make your bait presentation as real as possible. Cast just short of, or in front of your prey. A lively bait will do the rest. Same thing using artificials but you have to work the lure. Make it look like the lure is running from your quarry, not charging at it. The spotted sea trout bite has been on since mid March from Wiggins bay to Estero bay and should continue through April. Small shrimp and jigs over the grass flats and even in the channels have been producing good numbers of slot sized trout. You can expect to hook into a nice red in the same areas and using the same techniques.