Local Species

We get asked all the time, when is the best time of year to fish in Southwest Florida?  The truth is, there really is no, “best” time of the year to fish in Southwest Florida, with our moderate climate the fishing is great all year around.  There are better times of the year for some species of fish than others, for example, tarpon are more plentiful during the spring and early summer months than the fall or winter.  Redfish, spotted seatrout, and sheephead don’t mind the cooler water temps of winter, neither do ladyfish or jack crevalle.  Both spanish and king mackeral can be found at times along the beach, along with bluefish and tripletail.  Something is always biting.

Snook_plainSnook:  Southwest Florida’s premier gamefish.  Snook can be targeted year around although during the winter cold snaps can give them lockjaw for a few days.  During the summer months, snook can be caught along the beaches and in the backbay waters where they are often caught around the mangroves.

 

 

Redfish_plainRedfish:  Redfish are a Southwest Florida favorite.  On the right tides, they can be found eating with their tails out of the water in very shallow grass beds and will eat a well presented fly, a plug, or live bait.  Redfish are known for their bronze color and black spots found near their tail.

 

 

Trout_plainSpotted Seatrout:  Are a favorite in the local waters and can grow surprisingly large.  They readily eat flies, plugs, spoons, jerkbaits and most live baits.  They can be targeted year around and are rarely bothered by the cooler water temperatures of winter.  Seatrout are commonly found in very shallow grass beds and depths of 3-5 feet.

 

 

Sheepshead_plainSheepshead: These are one of the more unique species in our area.  Not only do they have very interesting veritical black and white stripes, but upon closer inspection, they also a set of teeth which appear almost human.  Sheepshead are primarly crustacean eaters and you will find them crunching on barnacles, small crabs, shrimp and just about anything else that needs to be cracked before eating.  They tend to be “nibblers”, so catching them takes a little patience.

 

GPtarponCM20x48Tarpon:  Probably the most sought after fish in our area, tarpon are magnificent gamefish and can grow in excess of 200lbs and live as long as 60 years.  When hooked, they leap from the water, often spitting the hook.  Tarpon will eat a variety of baits and are frequently pursued by fly anglers.  Known as the “silver king”, they are most abundant in our local waters during spring and early summer.

 

Jack Crevalle_plainJack Crevalle:  Note the forked tail, these are fast fish, and pound for pound probably among the hardest fighting in our area.  Jacks are opportunistic feeders often moving in small packs.  Early in the morning you can find jacks busting smaller schools of bait along mangroves or seawalls.  Topwater plugs are a great way to prospect for jacks, which can grow upwards of 50lbs.

 

Ladyfish:  Probably one of the more underrated fish in our area, ladyfish are voracious eaters and will eat just about any plug, fly, spoon, or other bait.   They typically move in schools, so when you find them you can get bite after bite.  They are not picky eaters and are great fish for kids to catch.  Ladyfish have a forked tail as opposed to the broader tail of the trout or redfish, forked tailed fishes are built for speed (think bonefish or tarpon), to which ladyfishes are related.  The average catch in our area is 2-3lbs.