Fishing Report – October 4, 2017: The fall weather is breaking as I write this report. The steamy temperatures are fading and the water will start to clear and cool. This means a change in the target species. I'll be looking for redfish on the flats and snook in the back country mangroves. I'll be watching for calm east winds so I can explore the beaches looking for False Albacore and Spanish Mackerel. But right now, and for the next few weeks, baby Tarpon are the prime target. A recent trip with my good friend, Brendan Roberts, of Park City Utah, yielded 14, yes 14, hookups in three days. The biggest of these was nearly 40 pounds and the smallest was over 12 pounds. All were taken on gurgler patterns tied by Craig Smothers, a professional tyer from Sarasota. The action was fantastic. Knowing when to go where is the key to finding the fish and finding ones that will eat. If you're interested, be sure to let me pick the dates. On another topic, every now and then I meet some really nice people who like to fish but haven't in many years.This was the case of Fran Powers and Dick Doolittle. I took them out on Sarasota bay for anything they could catch. We had a blast! Both caught several species including seatrout and gag grouper. Total was about 35 fish. We even had some keeper size seatrout, which are often hard to come by in Sarasota. I've included some photos to whet your appetite. Time to come fishing before the crowds show up this winter. Fish Hard... Capt. Pete
Fishing Report – July 18, 2017: July and August are two of my favorite months to fish. Early morning light is just perfect for sight fishing. There are fewer anglers on the water and more active fish. I like to focus on snook and baby tarpon this time of the year. Both can be found in close proximity, so it minimizes the run time. That means more fishing. Snook can be found in shallow holes in the grass flats and along the mangroves. I use Puglisi style flies in a variety of colors. I like to use a weed guard around the mangroves too. I also have a new fleeing/dying spoon minnow pattern designed by Jeff Conrad of Indianapolis. Baby tarpon are more abundant this year than in past years. I have found them in several different places around the harbor. They will eat almost anything if presented right. I like to fish a Gartside Gurgler or a Puglisi for them. These are five to thirty five pound fish, so an eight weight works fine. If you get a chance to get away, now is a good time. Plan on fishing during the week. Too many boaters on the weekends. I hope to see you soon. ~Fish Hard... Capt. Pete
Fishing Report – May 31, 2017: Tarpon season is in full swing and everyone is excited about the numbers of fish here. The weather has just settled down so we can get out on the gulf to work the migrating fish. Some more rain is due this weekend and that will help clear the water. I’ve received a solid report of fish in the harbor and bays, too. Snook fishing is on fire. The fish are staging to move to the gulf to spawn later this Summer. So now they are hanging out on the points of the mangrove islands where there is good water flow. We consistently use Puglisi style flies with a lot of success. Redfish have been hard for my fly anglers. We don’t see too many at this time of year but a few are picked up along the harbor side of the islands. Jacks and Seatrout are still doing well in a little deeper water. Wes Robinson got a kiss from a tarpon on Tuesday using a Craig Smothers design fly. We had good shots at at least eight schools. The fish are still a little shy. Joe Killian and his dad spent a couple of days with me last week fishing for snook and trout. Between them they landed 8 snook, seven Seatrout (one was 24 inches), and a few jacks , ladyfish and catfish. Catfish can ruin a fly! Next week looks like a good one because of weather predictions and tides. Boca Grande is always spectacular in June. ~Fish Hard... Capt. Pete
Fishing Report – March 9, 2017: Spring has come at last! Here in Boca Grande that means really good fishing. The next three months (April-May-June) hold the best fishing of the year. All the important species are getting active as daylight increases. Snook will be moving to the outer islands nearer the gulf with an eye on the beaches in mid June. More bait will signal heavier feeding early and late in the day. Redfish are leaving the protection of the rivers and upper harbor and moving onto the grass flats and holes. I've some new fly patterns developed by Jeff Conrad that will work very well. With the water temperature up, the tarpon that stay here all year will begin to get active. They'll first show up on the deep flats that have strong tidal flows. Fishing for "laid-up" tarpon is about the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Other species will be arriving too. False Albacore, Spanish mackerel, Cobia and more will make appearances as Spring progresses.
So, it's a great time to plan a trip to fish with me. Look over your schedule and plan on fishing during the middle of the weeks when we have a full or new moon. Best tides then. I've attached a couple of pix to remind you of what you've been missing.
Until I see you again... fish hard. Capt. Pete
Fishing Report – November 30, 2016: As usual we have the best weather in the country in December. 60 at night and 80 during the day with very little rain. The fish begin to inhabit their winter hangouts and we all know where those are. The water is clearing nicely in the backcountry so sight fishing is on the increase. All and all, a good time to fish. We have been targeting snook and redfish mostly with fair success on reds and good results with the snook. I have been using long leaders and smallish pin fish imitations with excellent success.
I fished with Jimmy LeMert again last week. He's the owner of Patrick's Fly shop in Seattle. We had moderate success with the snook and took a few seatrout and jacks in a short morning of fishing. Andy Rooke of Belfast was back in the states for a few days, and on the water with me. Andrew had his best day ever taking 21 snook and filling out his slam of snook, trout and redfish. We looked for a tarpon for him but could find one that day. Ralph Cummings spent a day with me last week too. Ralph, a professor at Johns-Hopkins, was a terrific guy to talk to. Some of his casts were so accurate they disappeared under the mangroves. He also caught a bucket full of snook and seven other species. Another super day. It's time for you to put a line in the water with me. So, put on you sun screen and come visit. ~ Be well... Capt. Pete
Fishing Report – October 16, 2016: Fishing this week and last has been steadily improving due to cool nites and warm days. That's a big plus for the fish. There are tons of baitfish in the backcountry and schools of jacks and ladyfish are crashing them every now and then. The most active of our gamefish are snook. There are a lot of small snook that take flies readily, but the big ones are harder to catch on flies. They present the challenge we all expect when flyfishing. The most productive pattern I have been using is a baitfish imitation similar to a Puiglisi but tied with material from Steve Farrar called Flash Blend. I like the rainbow color best.
I spent three great days with the father/son team of the Morgansen's from Sacramento. They caught every thing in the book from big seatrout, redfish and snook. That doesn't count numerous jacks and ladyfish.
Californian Kelsy Peabody-Wortman, a chef, brought another chef with her and suffered a slow day with just a handful of fish. I wish everyday could be good but that just doesn't happen. I was invited by my friends Brendan and Leslie Roberts to spend a few days fishing in Utah. I had a great time but will leave that report on my Facebook page. Jimmy LeMert, owner of Patrick's Fly Shop in Seattle spent a day with me catching snook and seatrout with a few ladyfish thrown in. Jimmy, a Master Certified Casting Instructor, demonstrated how important it is to cast well. He took a 26 inch Snook from under a mangrove at 80 feet. Beautiful cast! I have a couple of days open before I leave for a week in Exuma, Bahamas. So, if you want to get in on the good fishing now would be a good time.
Fish Hard, Capt. Pete
Fishing Report – September 23, 2016: Can you feel a touch of fall in the air? Well, not in southwest Florida. But the fishing is really good. Snook, redfish and seatrout have all been active this week. Best of all the False Albies are running and they are hungry. (see pic). Even with poor tides Thursday turnned out to be the best day all week. We took a limit of seatrout plus 20 or so undersized, hooked three Albies breaking a rod on the third and a hugely oversized redfish. I managed to break the end of my fly line trying to land it.
Earlier I fished with Jeff Webster from Indianapolis and he caught his first redfish ever. Next week the moon goes dark so the tides and fishing will be good. It is a great time to be here. ~ Be well... Capt Pete
Fishing Report – July 31, 2016: Summer is a great time to fish our waters. The fishing is good, there are fewer anglers out, lots of activity and a broad selection of species to target. The last two weeks I have been targeting snook and tarpon. The snook are either on the beach or in waters near the beach where there is good flow. Tarpon are still active along the beaches but conditions have to be good to get them. More fish are in the upper harbor. I am seeing an increase in the number of redfish I see during a trip. It is almost time for them to school up prior to their spawning run. I'll keep you informed. Jon Macca, Dallas, fished this week catching both tarpon and snook. Craig Smothers managed a nice snook too. Maybe it's time to put yourself in one of my pictures. Don't forget the great pricing of $950 per person (double occupancy) on my three day package. This pricing is only offered from August through October.
~ Fish Hard... Capt. Pete
Fishing Report – July 10, 2016: It's been a week of fun and frolic in some of hottest weather we’ve had this year. Tarpon are still the target species. The biggest tarpon are hard to catch but a fly placed in the right place will do the trick. I use the standard Peanut Butter Puglisi pattern in the morning or low light and change to yellow when the sun is full up. Snook are concentrated in the passes and on the beach. They are best approached from the shore. Look for schools of bait along the beach and you’ll probably find a few snook there. Small pale baitfish patterns are best. A few redfish are showing up on the sand bars and flats adjacent to the main harbor. The fresh gulf water attracts them there. Although you can fish them from the boat, wading is a great option. Size 2 Puglisi style flies work well if you match the color of the bottom. Mac Steiner and I spent a morning looking for good spots for him to fish his kayak in Sarasota Bay. We found some fish and Mac has some new places to hunt for more. My good friend and long –time client, Brendan Roberts from Park City, UT, spent three days fishing around Boca Grande mostly for tarpon. We had some success and some disappointments. The biggest tarpon we cast to refused most presentations, but we did manage to put some in the air. We also had some good shots at redfish and snook with only moderate success. Shane and Ann Campell fished with me Friday. We went searching for small tarpon. We found some but didn’t score. Shane took on the wily redfish on a clear sand flat in the afternoon but no hook-ups. The one thing that stood out this week was the necessity of good casting techniques. Fish like tarpon , snook and redfish live in clear, shallow water. Long accurate casts will pay off in great catches. I suggest to anyone coming to fish here get a professional instructor to help them. Quick casts to 60 feet with a minimum of false casts is satisfactory. So, practice, practice, practice. The tarpon are still running and the redfish and snook fishing is good. Come and see what it’s like to fish with very few competitors. ~ Fish Hard... Capt Pete
Fishing Update June 13, 2016: Tarpon season is in full swing. But that's not all that is going on. Snook are moving out to the beaches along with some nice seatrout. The tarpon are migrating the beaches and showing well in Charlotte Harbor. Staking out along the secondary sand bar is the best way to get good shots at them. Patience is the key word when tarpon "hunting". If your heart is set on catching the best fly rod fish in the Gulf, you'll have to wait them out. Not every fish will take even a well presented fly, so multiple good casts are often required. Practice, practice, practice! Snook are a little easier. Working a small baitfish imitation among the schools of bait along the beach usually produces. Here you can also often find small schools of trout working the bait, especially around some structure. There are still a few spots in the harbor where you can find snook, too. Puglisi style flies work best for them. I found two new spots for redfish this week. They are on clear sand flats where sight fishing is the only way to go. Accurate casts and good eye sight are required here. The weather is cooperating with just a few thunderstorms showing in the afternoon. It is warm and humid so dress accordingly. I hope to see you while the fishing is good. ~ Capt. Pete
Fishing Update May 8, 2016: Tarpon season is upon us and the fish are cooperating. Some fish are migrating along the beaches as usual and some are in the deep holes and flats of Pine Island Sound. As long as the weather cooperates, we have had excellent opportunities to hook the best fly rod fish in the sea. Snook are also cooperating in the passes and the back-country along the mangroves. These fish love a pinfish imitation and will often chase a good pattern down with relish. Blake Ringsmuth and Tom Wuori, out of Traverse City, MI joined me for a few days last week and really enjoyed the fishing, even while experiencing a huge thunderstrom on Wednesday. Blake hooked up two tarpon, while Tom had only two fish try to eat but fail. A windy day in the back country produced snook and seatrout. Tim Fyffe, from Kentucky, fished the back-country in 20 knot winds on Thursday. Because of the numerous mangrove islands I was able to get him out of the wind. Tim caught several seatrout and lost two nice snook. Not bad considering the inclement weather. The tarpon will continue to be plentiful for the rest of this month and into the next. This is your best opportunity to catch the Silver King. Take a look at the three day package offer on my web site. It's a good deal and gives you plenty of time to catch all of our species. Fish Hard... Capt Pete
Fishing Update 15 April 2016: It’s tarpon time! The fish have been showing up for a few weeks but are now just starting to get active. Soon the great migration will be in full swing and, as they say, the early bird gets the worm. Before the fish are harassed to the point of not biting, we have good chance of hookups with decent casts. An exploratory trip last week found tarpon in 6 out of 8 places I looked. Weather permitting they will be accessible at all those undisclosed locations. I’ve designed a new fly pattern just for these fish. It’s called “The Scoop”. I’ll let you have a sneak-peek at them. The design differs in color for three scenarios. One is for the early morning beach fish. One is for fish over sand bottoms, and one is for back-country fish. See if you can figure out which is which. Redfish are becoming more available finally. There was a lull in their activity, but the last week has discovered more and more each day. Snook are still showing in the back-country and the passes. They are both great alternatives to the weighty tarpon for those of moderate experience. So, It’s time to “Scoop” up a tarpon. Take a look at the three day package for you and your fishing partner. It’s a great way to enjoy all our fishing and save money too. Fish Hard... Capt Pete
Boca Grande Fishing Report – 3/28/16 - What a crazy week! We suffered with high winds, full moon, rain and overcast, but managed some good days too. During the early spring some species, like Seatrout are abundant. We caught a ton of them, and some good sized ones. But the focus was all on snook. There are a lot of snook in the back-country waiting for the weather to settle down. All sizes too. During the day we get shots at big fish, but they are smart and tough. Mostly we caught medium size fish and I’ve included a few pics for you all. I have been using a couple of newly developed fly patterns for the snook. With the aid of SF fibers and Finish raccoon, two new designs have proven to be excellent. Keep in mind, pinfish colors are always good, but chartreuse is always a plus. Next week we are looking for the Pompano to begin their run. Redfish, which have been slow lately, should be turning on too. Snook will continue to be catchable as well as Seatrout. It’s time to start thinking about tarpon fishing. The water is warming fast and the first runs of tarpon should appear in the bays of Pine island sound in the next two weeks. They will be available from then throughout the summer. I hope to see you during the next few months. It’s the most productive time of the year. Fish Hard... Capt. Pete
Fishing Report for February 25, 2016 - Warm weather swooped down on us last week and really improved the fishing. Nor every day was spectacular but most were very good. Snook proved to be available except on the full moon. Redfish are showing up in good numbers in the back country but have been difficult to get to eat. Seatrout were abundant with mixed ladyfish. We have been sticking to standard fly patterns including The Scoop, Clouser Minnows and Puglisi style baitfish imitations. Chad Loebs brought his beautiful sweetheart along on a recent trip. She landed her first snook and caught four different species to boot. Kathy Young and David Staley put the hammer to the seatrout and ladyfish last week. Kathy took her first ever saltwater fish on a fly. These people are insane anglers. Neil DeMarino and I had a slow, but fun, day last week. We did manage a few fish but the company and camaraderie was outstanding. Jeff Conrad and his good fishing partner Rob Walters came out for a rainy day scoring several small snook and one redfish. We also saw a pair of bobcats and got a photo of one of them before it disappeared into the mangroves. There ensued a hilarious dinner with Joe Mahler at the Fishery restaurant in Placida. March should herald the warm weather we expect in spring. All the fishing will get better. Species such as cobia, mackerel and false albacore should be showing up. Snook will continue to be a main target in March and we hope the redfish will begin to eat better.
I hope to see you in March. Fish Hard... Capt. Pete
Boca Grande Fishing Report - December 24, 2015: Some crazy fishing going on right now. It's Christmas eve and it's 85 degrees outside. The fish love it! Yesterday we fished 6 hours and caught 50 or more fish. We caught two nice redfish and ten snook. After that it was a trout -fest. About thirty five or more from 5 inches to twenty inches. Add in some small jacks and one big one, a few ladyfish and three or four mangrove snapper and you have a hell of a day. Let's all hope this continues for a while. Now is the time to fish. Here are a couple of pix for you. ~ Fish Hard, Pete
Boca Grande Fishing Report - December 17, 2015: An approaching cold front helped the fishing this week. Everything was on the feed. Snook were most cooperative with as many as ten per day. I hope this lasts. The flies they took best were the Puglisi baitfish patterns. Light colored with darker backs worked best. The really big snook were much more wary during the day, but the ones that did eat put up a great fight. Seatrout were abundant with a few being of decent size. Although they don’t fight as hard as snook, they did love a top-water gurgler. Lots of fun and exciting smashes. Redfish are tailing on the grass flats now if the tide is low enough. Light winds have helped, too. Average fish is about six pounds. Sorry, no monsters around right now. Next week the weather will warm up to about 80 degrees again. Unusual right now, but the fishing is excellent. Let’s hope it continues. Last week we had several shots at triple tail off the beach about a mile. Calm winds let us make good approaches and we landed some nice fish. Keep that in mind when making your fishing plans. ~ Fish Hard, Capt. Pete
Boca Grande Fishing Report - December 9, 2015: Southwest Florida has the best weather in the country in December. Not only the weather is best but so is the fishing. Snook fishing has been super for the last two months or more. The fish are happy to feel clean, fresh water without a lot of runoff. Most of the snook are taken along the mangroves as the tide is falling. They eat most patterns but like the small Puglisi-style flies best. Today we are seeing lower tides on the waning moon. This means tailing redfish on the flats. The lowest, weakest tides produce the best sight fishing for reds. Add in the clear water and you have exciting sport. A few False Albacore showed last week during a lull in the wind. They may be back but I can’t say for sure. However, Triple Tail are appearing on the crab trap buoys and the love flies. Hope for smooth water. Now is the time to schedule your fishing for December. I’ve left you a little pic as a lure. See you soon. ~ Fish Hard, Capt. Pete
November 17, 2015: It’s been a while since I reported to you all but it has been a super busy time. As the last of the heat left the area the fish became very accommodating. Bait fish are being hammered by schools of mackerel and false albacore. Snook have moved into the back country mangroves and are eating well. It’s time for the redfish to tail as the tides get very low this fall. With temperatures running from 60 to 80 degrees it’s an ideal time to fish.
My friend Jimmy LeMert from Patrick’s Fly Shop in Seattle came to fish a couple of days before we went to the Florida Council Expo. We both had testing and teaching duties there. After abusing our "no-eating" baby tarpon, Jimmy caught jacks, mackerel and seatrout in Sarasota bay. When we went to Boca Grande we did much better landing 8 out of 10 snook and taking several other species.
My friends Rob and Julie from England paid us a visit last week and we managed to get in a day at Boca Grande. Although not an accomplished angler Rob caught some seatrout and jacks. Small jacks were plentiful.
Jack Josephs fished with me in 2010 and 2011 and like a bad penny he showed up again this year. He’s always a lot of fun. A disastrous day in Sarasota was reversed in Boca Grande. Jack caught ladyfish to 22 inches, lost flies to mackerel caught a couple of seatrout and five nice snook. The snook are being aggressive more now than I’ve seen in a long time. A good sign I hope.
I hope to see you before the holidays so you can enjoy the good weather and great fishing. Fish Hard, Capt. Pete
Sept. 27, 2015: Fishing this week has been fun and productive. We have had consistent catches of snook and jacks with a few sea trout thrown in. Very high tides pushed the fish into th bushes but also brought huge numbers of baitfish into the bays. Wednesday we fished Little Sarasota Bay and caught snook near South Creek. We also had good shots at baby tarpon but no takers. Thursday morning produced dozens of Jack Crevalle in the 2 lb. range. There were so many that my friend Jack Burns, from Arizona and Siesta Key, was hooking two or three on a single cast. As we approach the full moon morning fishing will slow a bit, but the strong tides should make for good days when fishing later in the day. Cooler nights are on the way and the fish can feel that. They seem to be getting more frisky, and are more willing to attack the flies. Look for school redfish on the higher tides and when the tides go super low watch for tailing fish on the flats. We are enjoying great weather. Why don’t you come and join us on the water. Capt. Pete
Sept. 11, 2015: Warm temperatures in Florida in the Summer encourage us to fish early in the morning and late in the day. Often rain showers interrupt the evening fishing so I like to fish just mornings. Sarasota Bay has been yielding seatrout, Spanish Mackerel, bluefish, Mangrove snapper and a few Redfish. This week I fished with Andie and her son Noah with their friend John. They had good action on small seatrout and snapper. We also had a mixed bag of Gag Grouper, Black Sea Bass and Ladyfish. It was fun to watch these novice anglers hook and land three big Gaff Top-Sail catfish also. They were in the five to six pound range and pulled very hard. Lots of Summer fun. Redfish are schooling on the flats of Boca Grande in good numbers. Snook are still along the beaches and some are feeding along the mangroves close to the inlets. There are still a good number of tarpon in upper Charlotte Harbor. When found feeding on thread-fin shad, they can be caught on large silver and white flies. Cobia are always a possibility in the summer. Although I haven’t seen any of late, I will be in the harbor this week looking for them and the tarpon.
August 18, 2015: Snook season opens on September 1. If you can handle a top water plug there is a good chance of taking a slot size fish. That is, if the redfish don’t beat them to it. Fishing with Al White this week was really fun. I took Al to an area I know holds school redfish and snook. We ran into a school of reds in the 10 to 12 pound range. Al was able to take a small one before we spooked them off the flat. My bad! We also caught and released several small to medium snook and a nice seatrout. That gave Al a slam. Enjoy the pix. Come and enjoy the fun while there are very few other anglers on the water. Drop me note if you’d like to join me.
8/1/15: The west coast of Florida has been experiencing heavy rainfall for two weeks. Most people would say that will kill the fishing, But not in the Gulf of Mexico. The bays and inlets are covered with grass flats that filter the water and provide cover for most species. Our fishing is still very good. Snook and seatrout are the most abundant, but redfish are showing up more and more every day. Last week we jumped a school of redfish pushing across a shallow flat. It is a ritual they perform prior to making the spawning run. Wednesday was another good day with snook and several nice seatrout on top water flies. I’ve been seeing quite a few baby tarpon lately. They can be tricky to catch but a Gartside gurgler or a Crease fly will usually take them. Because of the heat and afternoon showers I have been limiting our fishing to the mornings. It is cooler then and the tides are better. We are going to have a waning moon with weaker tides next week. It will be easier for the fish to settle into a routine and make them more predictable. Fish Hard, Pete
6/16/2015: Boca Grande is a challenging place to fish but ultimately rewarding. Tarpon are the most sought after species at this time of the year. Snook and redfish are always popular with the sight fishing enthusiasts. Redfish have been spotty this week with one day finding lots of fish and the next day very few. Snook are the most consistent and can be found on edges and flats almost every day. Tarpon have been awful for three days due to a huge swell coming in after storms in the gulf, but that is over now and the seas are laying down. A return to their normal migration cycle will make them more available this week and next.
I was privileged to fish with a third generation client this week. Nick Zuccotti and his mom, Margaret, cast to tarpon on the beach with no great success but moved to the back country to catch snook and reds. I’ve included a pic of Nick. Not a huge fish but a great one on a fly when you are fourteen.
My good friend and long time customer, Brendon Roberts from Park City, UT fished the most terrible weather for tarpon. After three days of rolling seas and impassable channels we zeroed out on the silver king. Really bad weather. However, we had a few opportunities for tarpon on the first day and the last and we did catch some back country snook, so it wasn’t a blowout.
Fewer anglers are fishing tarpon now and the fishing is getting better. I predict a good week or two before the full moon will present a good number of opportunities. Make your plans now for a summer of fun fishing beautiful Charlotte Harbor with me. Fish Hard... Capt. Pete
May 20, 2015 video fishing report from Capt. Pete:
The hunt for tarpon continues, but if they don't cooperate there are always so many other species of fish in Boca Grande that we'll find something to do... like sight fish for Redfish on a sandy Bonefish flat!
May 1, 2015 video fishing report from Capt. Pete:
Tarpon are in Boca Grande pass, Redfish and Snook are plentiful, many other species such as Cobia, Pompano, Permit and False Albacore could show up anytime. Winds are favorable and water is clean and clear, making sight-fishing available.
Boca Grande, FL - 3/19/2015
Fishing has been good most days this month. Snook and pompano are the most abundant. Redfish are a bit tough for some reason. Tarpon will be showing up soon, too. We had a couple of attempts at them early this week. No hook-ups though. Weather is great. Here is a link to a short video flyfishing report and a little action. Fish Hard! ~ Capt. Pete