Captain Tips

Targeting Tarpon In The Southwest Region With Capt. Ron Hueston

May is the month that the tarpon make their migration from the Shark River to Flamingo area of Everglades National Park, push north around the tip of Marco Island and then work their way up towards Boca Grande Pass. A lot depends on the weather and water temperature, but by mid-May the fish are definitely on the move and easy to target on a daily basis in my region.

The place to find migrating schools of fish is along the beaches in anywhere from waist deep water out to about 20 to 25 feet of water.

Targeting Snapper in the Keys Region with Capt. Randy Towe

Snapper fishing in May is usually dedicated to chasing yellowtail and mutton snapper out on the reef in 60 to 80 feet of water. You can target mangrove snapper this time of the year, but the fish tend to be on the small side. We usually target mangrove snapper in the fall and winter months on the more prominent rocks in 30 to 50 feet of water.

Targeting King Mackerel in the Northeast Region with Capt. Russell Tharin

Kingfish are one of the most targeted species by offshore anglers in the Northeast Region because they can be really abundant and are a lot of fun to catch on light tackle. The majority of kings we find in my region will be in anywhere from 20 to 65 feet of water, although the fish do range shallower and deeper.

Targeting Grouper in the Central West Region with Capt. Geoff Page

You can have some success catching grouper in my region by trolling lipped plugs in some of the deeper channels and holes around Tampa Bay, as well as along some of the nearshore hard bottom areas, but the majority of anglers who target these fish chase them offshore 30 to 80 miles. The best grouper fishing takes place in 120 to 180 feet of water over wrecks or hard bottom (rocks or reef).

Targeting Sailfish In The Southeast Region with Capt. Jimbo Thomas

April is one of the best months to chase sailfish in the Southeast Region. It’s on the tail end of the season as the main body of fish are pushing through, and you can do really well if you get the right conditions.

We like to start our day by catching live bait—threadfin herring, goggle-eyes, big pilchards and Spanish sardines are the main baits. We use Sabiki rigs to catch them and a dehooking tool to take them off the Sabiki rig, so that we never touch the baits or wipe scales or slime off of them. That keeps your baits healthy all day long.

Targeting Snook In The Southwest Region With Capt. Ron Hueston

April is one of the best months of the year to fish for snook in the Everglades backcounty. I’ll usually concentrate my efforts from Hurdles Creek to Lostman’s River, but will also move around the Naples area quite a bit.

In the spring, we get extreme low tides on the new and full moons, and those tides really pull a lot of water out of the backcountry. Along with all that flowing water will be shrimp, crabs and baitfish that are being hustled along by the tides, and the snook will be in those moving water areas to take advantage of the abundance of food.

Targeting Cobia in the East Central Region with Capt. Jim Ross

Cobia are a fish that look like a shark and pull like a Chevy truck. The first week of April is about in the middle of the cobia season in my region, so my recommendation is to go out and hit some of the reefs and wrecks in the 50 to 90 foot depths early in the day. Fish those areas with jigs and live baits, and be ready for any cobia that might appear when you first pull up to the structure. It’s pretty common to see cobia when you first get on a reef or wreck, and then never see the fish again, so be prepared by rigging up before you get in the boat.

Targeting Hunting in the Northeast Region With Capt. Russell Tharin

One thing is for sure, we have a lot of hunters and great places too hunt in Northeast Florida. There’s a variety of game here to hunt, with some of the most popular species including deer, hog, turkey, duck, and doves. For reference, you can view a statewide map of all the locations of Florida Wildlife Management Areas open to public hunting on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Website,   and there are also plenty of private clubs on that are open for membership.

Targeting Red Snapper in the Northeast Region With Capt. Russell Tharin

I’m proud to say that Northeast Florida has one of the best red snapper fisheries in our state. NOAA assessments show Northeast Florida waters have a healthy and abundant population of red snappers, bud sadly our region is currently closed to harvest. Red snapper are more accessible in other regions around the state and the assessments show a decline in the species, although that’s an arguable point in Panhandle waters.


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