Friday, December 2, 2016
Monday, November 28, 2016
This morning I had a very rare day on the bow of a skiff with a rod in my hand thanks to my buddy Tyler. As expected, it was too windy to fly fish so the spinning gear came out instead. That never bothers me, especially when the reds are extra spooky. Whipping a fly line back and forth over their heads is never a good thing but a well placed live shrimp is hard to refuse. That's what fooled the one in this photo, a perfect 24 incher that was in a small school hugging the mangroves near McArdle Island. He'll be turned into ceviche tomorrow afternoon and there are still a few hundred more out there just like him.
Be careful with the low tides this week, the water is much skinnier than the charts are reporting thanks to the wind. But if you've got the right boat, kayak, or paddleboard, reds like this should be easy to spot along the south Matlacha Pass shorelines.
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Sight fishing for them with a fly rod, like my buddy Phil did in the photo, is a lot harder. Obviously, you'll need some clear and shallow water to do this. The sand bars running along the east wall of Charlotte harbor are already a good place to find them. Schooling pompano are fast movers and often travel with mullet. They can even look the same so as a rule I have my anglers cast to every dark shape I see running across the sand that isn't an obvious catfish. Stingrays are also a magnet for pompano (as well as a lot of other gamefish) since they constantly spook crabs and shrimp out from under their wings as the float across the bottom. Fish will cling right to their backs and pounce on anything that moves. If you see a large ray, drop your fly on it and start stripping immediately. Pompano prefer crab and shrimp patterns but I've had them hit Clouser Minnows and even tarpon flies.
Last year these fish were all over the Charlotte Harbor sand bars just before Christmas but they seem to be here a month early. Our recent, and quickly fading, red tide didn't seem to affect the pompano and I didn't see any dead ones floating anywhere. The water is beautifully clear in the Harbor right now and just keep getting brighter. Get up there and give these guys a shot.