May 2017 Charlotte Harbor Fishing Report
After months of working low tides around creeks and adjacent shorelines, it’s time to go tarpon fishing. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s not a great month to hunt redfish and snook. In fact, because of all the options, May is one of my favorite months to be on the water. As for tarpon, they typically begin showing up first in the upper harbor between the West Wall and Punta Gorda. These are resident fish that come out of the rivers and generally eat pretty well. A free lined live bait or big piece of cut mullet work well. Moreover, If you can get out early and see them rolling, they’ll take a fly. The harbor should be full of threadfin herring and I like throwing patterns that imitate these baits somewhat. A big Puglisi Peanut Butter pattern in black and purple or black and red are two of my favorites. I’ve had my best luck throwing a clear tip intermediate sink tip line. It won’t be too long after these fish show that the migratory fish coming up from the keys begin to filter through Pine Island Sound and Boca Grande Pass and should start staging up anywhere between Cape Haze Point and the hill just inside Boca Grande Pass. These fish can be fished just the same as the river fish; although, small live blue crabs are a great bait for this bunch. Of course, Boca Grande Pass will hold fish as well as the beaches from Sanibel to Little Gasparilla Pass.
Because of tarpon fever, the backcountry sees less pressure and this provides a great opportunity to get in some redfish and snook fishing. Particularly, first thing in the morning, you could find yourself with a flat or shoreline all to yourself. This month, I like to look for redfish from the south end of the West Wall all the way around Cape Haze Point and into the shorelines leading into Turtle Bay. For snook, the east side of Charlotte Harbor is one of my favorite areas. I like the cuts and outer shorelines north of Matlacha as well as those north of Pirate Harbor.
May is going to fly by and they’re just too many options. Therefore, I like to hunt for tarpon first thing in the morning then maybe hit a shoreline or two in the afternoon looking for redfish. Because, the harbor spots where I’ll look for tarpon are in close proximity to some of my favorite shorelines, this can be done without burning too much fuel. Lastly, whether in the harbor, on the beach, or on a flat, don’t be surprised if you see a big school of jacks, a cobia, or one of the many sharks that are scattered throughout the area.