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When the water temperature and the air temperature get to be a similar number, and that number is in the high 80s, it means we are seriously into summer fishing. Back bays become warm enough that a lot of the fish move closer to the inlets or even outside in search of a little cooler water.
It isn’t just the temperature that affects the fish. As the water warms, the lower the oxygen content gets, and fish need oxygen in the water. That is why you need to pay special attention when releasing a fish during the summer months. During the fight, the fish rapidly depletes its oxygen, and reviving the fish before letting it go will help save many fish.
If you have scooted across flats in a boat on a regular basis, you have surely seen pompano “skip” as they are spooked by the boat. Well, this past Friday while idling in a no-wake zone, we had a flounder skip right into the boat. That is a first for me. The young lady in the front seat was shocked by the appearance of the 14-inch fish, but afterward we all laughed about it.
In case you missed it in the paper, later this summer we will be getting a new piece of structure offshore. Later in June or July, the USS Mohawk will be sunk in the Charlie’s Reef area (26-33.145N, 82-43.424W). This ship, built in 1935, saw action in World War II and in its final resting place, will provide habitat to many of our local species.
Offshore: Capt. Clarence Fleck, onboard the “Capt Marvel,” says the red grouper bite continues strong.
On Friday, he ran a 3/4-day trip out of Naples to 55 feet of water. Conditions were excellent, and the group landed numerous grouper, including seven keepers from 23 to 28 inches. Saturday and Sunday, Clarence had full-day trips, which allowed him to run out to a little deeper water, ending up in 75 to 80 feet.
Limits were had by both groups by lunchtime, and on Saturday, they also got a bonus of a dozen nice-sized mangrove snapper.
Ten Thousand Islands: On Sunday, Capt. Rob Walczak fished with Dave Sheffield and his son Carson, 8, and they did real well. The water was really clear, and Rob was able to fill the well with some good-sized threads before they headed out.
During the day, they landed a dozen snook, with the largest hitting the 30-inch mark. A single red surrendered to their efforts, as well as 10 nice-size trout. Walczak reports the tarpon fishing is slow, with his last fish coming last week. It was a heck of a fish though, hitting about 180 pounds! No schools of mackerel or ladyfish, which are normally around.
Naples/Estero Bay: Fishing around Estero Bay recently, Capt. Jason Moore has been getting some threads offshore and chasing tarpon for the most part.
The tarpon bite has slowed the past week, and most of his fish have been eating cut bait on the bottom rather than the live threads. His anglers have landed five in the 80- to 100-pound class in recent trips.
On the inside, he has been picking up some snook and a few redfish. Jason says the big trout are still on the nearshore reefs and willing to eat. Water conditions vary with the wind. On Tuesday, it was fairly rough, but conditions should improve during the week.