I spent a full day on 1/14/2010
and found numerous schools of snook alive and well in marina basins, deep water canals, as well as cruising the shoreline in and around Boca Grande Pass as well as Captiva Pass. I also looked throughout Charlotte Harbor, including the mouth of both the Peace and Myakka Rivers and could find no other areas as hard hit.
With unprecedented continuous cold weather well below normal, and 2 nights of hard freeze, I have had to cancel all the trips I had scheduled over the past 10 days. Hope fully this weather event will clear out the middle of this week.
Today myself and a friend went on the water today. Our intent was to count any dead snook that we saw neither of us where prepared for what we saw. We targeted the north end of Pine Island and encountered thousands upon thousands of dead mullet most where 12 inches and under, they literally carpeted the bottom. We made are way into the 3 canals and counted over 1000 dead snook in less than a 1/4 mile of waterway, with 90% in the slot to overslot size (10-well over 25lbs). If there was any bright side to the snook kill we did not see any juvenile snook that were dead, unfortunately we only looked at a very small area. I have already gotten reports from numerous other guides with similar reports. This is no doubt a big set back to the snook fishery. You can see a video of the damage in the video section of my website http://gofishcharters.com/fishing_videos.htm
The trout fishing should remain unchanged since trout can tolerate the cold weather, same with the hardy redfish both of which have a range that extends well north of Southwest Florida. As of last night the Gulf water temperature was 50 and I would not doubt that it dropped a bit more with the coldest air last being last night. Tonight’s weather, while still cold for Florida, will hopefully stay out of the 30s and give a slight reprieve.
Tarpon fishing is around the corner (April-July) and I have been booking clients for sometime now. This year, I am in addition to the 6 hour tide charter, offering a 10 hour split day charter. On the 10 hour charter, the day is devoted solely to you, we fish part of the trip in the morning, take a break and come back out to fish the remainder of the trip. Typically split 6 hours and 4 hours. If we tarpon fish only I let the fish and/or the client decide if or when there is a break (we fish the best time). Also a client who has a 10 hour trip booked can request to fish for other species, which is not possible on a 6 hour trip since economics forces me to fish an afternoon trip. So basically the day is yours and we can break it up however as the day and fishing dictates. The response to the 10 hour tarpon charter has made me very excited about it. I would interject that this means less openings on my schedule so booking early will become more critical if you are planning to fish with me.
Capt Andy Boyette