June 3-5: Summer New Moon….

Weather & Tides…
The new moon on Saturday has our weekend tides at their extremes this weekend, so plan accordingly.  In general terms and depending on where you are at in the region, you should see the tide turn to a very strong incoming just an hour after sunrise, topping out just after lunch at near flood tide levels, then bottoming out just after sunset with a strong, negative low tide.  Weather is going to be typical summer patterns:  calm mornings giving way to westerly winds in the afternoon with cloud cover increasing as the summertime thunderheads form.

Inshore….
Good redfish reports for this week with copper pennies working shallow bays near the outside islands.  Concentrate on hard bottom or beach areas as tides rise throughout the morning, then hit the boat ramp when the tides top out and thunderstorms start to roll in.  Fish will certainly be on the feed as the tidal movements is strong.  Cut baits with a bit of extra weight should get the job done in most areas on fish in the low to mid 20 inch range.

Snook fishing has been good to great this past week and should continue much of the summer.  Focus on the early morning hours and for those willing to play with artificials, now is the time with the calm mornings of summer upon us.  Walk-the-dog style topwaters, chuggers, prop baits along with very shallow running jerkbaits will all get a linesider hooked up.  With the strong tides this weekend, some focus should be given to your favorite undercut banks with some deeper water on them.  Use some heavier weight and float a hand-sized pilchard in their lair and hold on.  Don’t be surprised if you hook a juvenile goliath grouper or nice bonus gag grouper, as they are certainly becoming more common in the backcountry.

Some good spotted sea trout are being caught on the grass flats to the south of the region, with Pavillion Key being the epicenter, but adjacent flats and pothole rich areas near there are good bets as well.  Plenty of topwater action from 15-20” fish with some mid-20” fish mixed in over the pot hole regions.  The tried and true popping cork and shrimp will also bend rods, but if you can get away with artificials, certainly give it a try.

Offshore….
Wednesday, June 1st marked the opening of American Red Snapper for recreational anglers in federal waters and it will close on June 9th, so call in sick to work, tell the significant other you have to work or do whatever you have to do to hitch a ride out to tangle with these tasty villains of the wrecks.  Bait isn’t really the issue, it is finding them and reports this week have seen pink in 170-190 feet of water with some bonus fish coming out of 120-135 feet, so bring the bean bags, as it will be quite a run to get to them.

The Gag Grouper season also opened this week on June 1st  as they are open for recreational harvest in most state and all federal Gulf of Mexico waters now, including our region. Keep in mind that the black grouper and gag grouper minimum size limit has increased from 22-inches to 24-inches total length in Gulf state waters.  Gags are now open until December 31st in our region, so exercise some conservation when harvesting these prized drag screamers.

Until next week, tight lines and screamin’ drags….

Captain Steve Dall