Visit Everglades City and the Ten Thousand Islands of Southwest Florida, the Everglades

Summertime Fishing

by Captain Mike Merritt

Summer time is approaching fast! With May upon us and June right around the corner, it is starting to get hot out on the water. The mornings are still great, so an early start is advisable. I wish I could tell you the winds have laid down, but this week we are experiencing some strong SSW winds. It is pushing the water in, so the tide floods out fast and makes the fishing difficult. The days that we have low winds have been awesome out there. The water has cleared up, and for the guys that are sight fishing, it made for some spectacular days chasing Tarpon, Snook, Reds, and even some Permit.

As we get farther into the month, we should see some regular wind patterns start up. This will allow for us to start targeting those schools of Permit that are so much fun! Live Crabs, large shrimp, or some well-placed jigs can catch these guys. The offshore wrecks will get worked over, and you may also find those Cobia too. But always be aware of the Sharks. Sometimes it is better to just leave when they show up. I do the same thing inshore. I would rather leave good fishing than feed good fish to the Sharks. It takes discipline, especially when the clients don’t understand. Our Shark population has exploded. I never saw this as a kid growing up here. I have watched it grow over the years to a point that I think they are eating a lot of fish that are being released.

Summertime Fishing by Captain Mike Merritt

Snook fishing should continue to get better as the month goes on, but it is still not where it should be at this time of the year. I am usually catching 20-30 Snook per day or more. That is not happening. I am catching 10 a day except on good days where I might catch 15 or more. I tell the younger guides that catching 75-100 Snook per day was normal for so long I never thought it would be this slow. I for one am hoping this is only a cycle not the new norm. I lure fished one gentleman today and we boated 10 Snook. One 36” fish made the day, but it just seems like the smaller fish we usually have in good numbers are not around. But keep on fishing because the big ones are around and you just have to work harder to find them.

Redfishing has also slowed down but this is normal for this time of year. The fall Redfishing is always best. Sometimes it’s hard to remember how the fishing should be when you have seen the decline for so many straight years. I was talking about this today, and I really think it is directly related to the changes that have taken place here over the last 50 years. Our Turtle Grass is nonexistent and there are more Mangroves choking off water flow in some areas. I believe the lack of grass is the absolute worst thing that could have happened as this was an estuary for the small fry. We used to catch all kinds of small Gag and Black Grouper in the grasses. Haven’t had that happen in years. Maybe one day our National Park will implement a program to address the health of the Islands. The cause of this is more than likely a water quality issue. Hopefully our Everglades survive long enough to get healthy again.

Seatrout continue to bite even though they have no grass to hide in. These fish have adapted and we catch them all throughout the Islands. If you want some fish for a fish fry, then they are your best bet right now! We still have a true fishing paradise here and my hope is that the next generation will be able to say the same thing. Enjoy these fantastic Everglades! And good luck fishing.

Capt. Mike Merritt
Guide | (561)252-4324 |

2024-05-29T13:43:00-04:00June 7, 2024|Fishing|

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