May has been HOT, from cobia on the beaches to snook in the passes and it is going to get even HOTTER with the invasion of large number of tarpon on the beaches.
The beach mitigation reefs have been on fire with good numbers of grunts, mangos, and cobia. The tarpon have arrived, but not until the first full/new moon of June will the season be in full swing. When hitting these reefs utilize an assortment of baits from shrimp, squid, cut bait and live pinners and white bait. Varying your bait will increase your species caught. On a recent trip I pulled up a nice trigger fish and even some lane and porgies. You never know what is lurking on the reefs which makes fishing them so fun, not to mention the great fillets you can bring home.
The inshore fishing has been awesome to as the snook, trout and reds are in their summer month patterns. I have been utilizing more artificial baits this May in search of the big three. My best luck has been with soft plastics and evening trips help beat the heat, especially if it coincides a strong moving tide around sunset.
This spring has been good so far. The only downer was a week or two stint of red tide in late March, early April that pushed away the pods of bait and resulted in minor fish kills of our county beaches. Luckily this didn’t last long and things are in full swing as we enter may.
In early March I was hitting the docks stalking snook and reds following my typical winter months/early spring pattern, but by mid to late April a large amount of snook had migrated to the passes and that is where I targeted my efforts.
The snook bite has been good and is getting even better, artificals have out produced live bait, but having nice white bait or grunts and pins is hard to beat. The key is targeting strong moving tides and fishing for me always more consistent if you can plan your trips around the new and full moon tides.
The rock piles off our beaches has been producing really well when the winds are allowing us to get out. Even on a slow day, grunts, nice mangos, trout, reds, grouper, black sea bass, flounder, mackerel and sharks are all strong possibilities on any given day fishing these piles. On a really good day you can catch all of the above and also run into big grouper, cobia, kingfish and tarpon. Speaking of tarpon, there are small pods of fish moving up and down the beaches already and these numbers will increase as we get into the first full/new moon phase of May and run all the way through mid July.
If fishing isn’t you thing, there are still plenty of fun stuff to do on the water. One of my favorite is paddling to a spoil island for some sun, fun, picnic and sunset paddle back. Another great exploration is heading out to nearby sand bars to hunt for sand dollars and other cool sea life such as urchins, conchs and fish that hang out in the sea grasses near the sand bars.