One of the great parts about Southwest Florida is that even if you have a hankering for big fish and a few fresh seafood dinners to take back home, you don’t always have to travel very far offshore to get the job done.
Depending on the weather and fishing patterns we may, at times, travel as few as four or five miles offshore in search of King Mackerel, Cobia, Mangrove & lane snappers, and of course Gag Grouper. We have had to look just a bit farther out recently due to the fact that we have not had much in the way of cooler weather yet, coupled with the presence of red tide closer to shore. The upside has been that we have not had to do a lot of looking around on most days to find fish, and often just a hand full of stops very close together will provide plenty of fishing action for the whole trip.
King Mackerel will be present for the next couple months while they begin to make their way south for the winter. We will see waves of smaller “schoolie” size fish intermingled with a few monsters. There are not many fish that can compare to the raw speed offered by the big smoker kings when paired with light tackle.
Gag grouper will be caught year round on near shore trips, but October 31 will be the official end of the 2012 Gag Grouper season. We are getting into the last few weeks of gag season, and everyone is anxious to put a few more fillets in the freezer before the lock down. While we haven’t been dedicating many near shore trips just to gags lately, we have had the pleasure of bringing many nice fish home caught while fishing for snapper and other species on shallow ledges, wrecks, and reefs.
Cobia are making their way through mixed in with the kings, and while we can count on their attendance just yet, its isnt uncommon to spy a few “brown bombers” in the chum line every now and again. Once again, the pleasure is all ours when a pair of these guys stroll across the transom of the wrong boat!
Family fun fishing cant get any better than the near shore reefs, ledges, and wrecks. Kids thrive on two things when we head out fishing: action and variety. This type of fishing offers both near-constant action, and true variety…you really never know what is going to be on the other end of the line. Catching four, five, or even six different species of fish in a row is not uncommon. We usually catch enough fish to bring home for a nice fish dinner, and have the memories and photos from a fun day out on the water. Almost every trip out and back offers us a chance to enjoy the local dolphin population as they put on a show jumping and playing in the wake of the Redemption Song.