Monday, April 06, 2009

Charlotte Harbor Fishing Report 4-09

Spring Fishing Report 2009

So far, the spring of 2009 has started off with a hot fish bite. Warmer weather will continue as a trend, along with higher water depths, and an influx of bait fish. This is usually the time of year that many anglers will hang up the artificial lures and start fishing with live or cut bait. Currently there are threadfins throughout Charlotte Harbor. Some schools have bait as big as 6 inches, other schools 2-4 inches big. Most are in the deeper water and can be found by finding the birds. On calmer days the showrs of ripples on top of the water will not be hard to miss. Pinfish and white bait are also showing up on area flats in Gasparilla Sound and Pine Island Sound. A lot of the bait is on the smaller side but there is large bait out there to be caught.

diving brown pelican

For those anglers sticking with artificial lures, the top water bite has been red hot. Mainly eary in the morning and late in the day, but on those variable cloud days the top water bite lasts the entire trip. Walk the dog type lures are working real well. Soft plastic jerk baits such as the Gulp jerkshad and the Exude RT Slug are working well on weedless weighted hooks.

This is also the time of year that tarpon finatics look forward to. Migratory pods of tarpon will start to show in Pine Island Sound as well as the middle harbor and Gasparilla Sound. Look for fish on the move on the outside of the bars as well. If you do not have live bait to fish with, a DOA baitbuster will work well. Local fish will also be moving out from up the river in search of bait. Bridges, deep holes, and canal mouths will be good areas to fish for these silver king.

tarpon in water

Redfish had been acting rather fickle over the last month, but the bite has turned around. On higher water stages fish can be found under the bushes. Cut bait and white bait has been working well along with top water plugs and soft plastic jerk baits. On the open flats around oyster bars and sand bars, redfish schools are in full force throughout the harbor. Some schools contain as many as a couple hundred fish, mostly over slot. Other areas on the east and west side of the harbor have several pods of fish ranging from 20-30 redfish.

showing off redfish

fisherman with red

Large trout are roaming and are hungry as ever. Matlacha, Pine Island, east and west wall, and Gasparilla Sound are all holding large trout in the 3-6 pound range. They have been striking top water lures at all times of the day. Find a flat 2-4 feet deep with good thick grass and sandy pot holes and you will find your trout. Remember when big trout fishing and using braided line to set your drag loose. Anglers can lose that monster trout on the hook set when using braid due to the softness in a trouts mouth and the hole it may create. Trout will also be swimming in the same areas snook and redfish are found and will readily eat a white bait under a popping cork.

big trout

Snook start to get very aggressive this time of year. Most fish will be in the 24-28 inch range but fish in the upper slot and over slot are there to be caught. Top water lures and Sebile stick shads have been producing well. But you can't beat live bait right now for snook. Creek mouths with current, shady shorelines, and structure such as docks and sea walls are holding fish. There are some fish near and on the beaches but not yet in full force as we will see in the future.

lady in pink with snook

snook in water

For the freshwater angler, bass have turned on as well. They are chasing small shad schools in deeper parts of the lakes. Days that the wind blows are the days that the bass will school and feed. Small rattle traps will mimick the bait fish along with soft plastic jerk baits without a weight. Mid day the bass will drop to deeper depths, fish a 7-8 inch worm weighted. On a recent trip, 38 bass were caught between two anglers. The top water bite under low light conditions has been really good.

fisherman with large mouth bass

jumping bass

small boy with bass

This is the time of year that the water will start to heat up, fight your fish quick and get them to the boat as soon as possible. Make sure to revive the fish well so it can swim off healthy to be fought again another day. That's it for now.

Tight Lines from the CHO guides!
Posted on 26 Mar 2009 by admin

Charlotte Harbor Outfitters
Captain Tim White
Captain Chuck Jenks
Captain Jason Dill

No comments: