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Where are the fish?

Where's the fish?And by fish,I mean in backcountry reds,
snook,trout and tarpon.Offshore,60 miles out grouper and
decent size snapper.

   Gone seem the days of 150 reds caught in a year,slot
snook and trout and sheepshead when you expect to
see them temp wise.
  Certainly one of the reasons is the huge increase in
boat traffic,SeaDoo's,Skillcraft's.

  Maybe the real reason I seem to be losing a step
or two!


  • snookaffinitysnookaffinity Posts: 1,302 Officer
    I think you are correct and I am not fishing as often as I don't want to cope with all the traffic on the water.
    "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain
  • 1outlaw1outlaw Posts: 1,875 Captain
    Had boat out 3 times this year. I havent a clue LOL
    Jason :USA
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,853 Captain
    Over on the Flamingo side of things, along the gulf coast we've seen very few trout -at the time of year they ought to be chewing anything and everything, hardly any reds at all (they're still thick on the grass flats near Flamingo - but not showing along the coast....).  Snook as always are where you find them - but we've mostly been focusing on tarpon... 

    I'm beginning to suspect that the all those red tides that never made it past Marco in recent years - did put a serious dent in our inshore action... Hope I'm wrong.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • polliwogpolliwog Posts: 355 Deckhand
    My dock fishing has been way off this spring,  Some maybe building activity in a lot of areas near the canals.  Pounding pilings are going to chase away most snook.  Beaches have also be very off from yrs past. Use to be able to site snook pre dawn early AM in Naples ,not so much this year yet.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,853 Captain
    I'm actually optimistic... the 'glades has a way of renewing itself if left alone (or we actually do a few things to help out...).  I can remember a time years ago when a 15" trout was thought to be a "big one" back before the net ban came along.  I can also remember times when a really skilled angler (at one time he held a bunch of world records) - back when world records were a "thing" we all aspired to, couldn't find a snook anywhere after a particularly bad cold kill the year before.  Things were so bad in the late seventies that he'd point out to anyone fishing with him - "We used to catch snook here, and here, and here.... on days when you were lucky to get a single snook strike on anything...

    Things change - and not always getting worse (I hope...).
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • esterovetesterovet Posts: 14 Deckhand
    Declining water quality-10k, Flamingo, Matlacha/Ft Myers, Indian River.....its all connected!
  • 10kman10kman Posts: 984 Officer
    Allow me to list some reasons why fishing in SW Fla.has declined.
    1.Red Tide has moved further South.
    2.Oil spills are moving towards us.
    3.Increased guide activity and boat traffic.
    4.Increased water pollution coming from Big O.
    5.Warmer water at wrong times accounting for trout and sheepshead decline.
    6.Far more East Coast fishermen coming to West Coast.
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 1,111 Officer
    I will add non resident fisherman and there guides not knowing and or not caring about the regs or the type of fish they catch. I see it here allot. Fisherman loading up on closed season fish to take back home and guides letting sports keep illegal fish to make them happy.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,853 Captain
    I'm a full time guide in my 27th year.... During day trips it's either Flamingo or the 10K area (mostly Flamingo..).  I'd never do one of the things just spoken about - and I can't say I've ever heard of guides doing that sort of stuff where I fish... at all.

    We've not seen a single red tide either... We have noted a much reduced trout population this past year though and suspect the kills on the west coast have hurt us... but that nasty red tide has not made it over to Choko at all...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 1,111 Officer
    Well Bob my neighbor posted a picture of his grouper that he caught with the guide down the street. It was a juvenile goliath. Just so you know I am not going by what I heard. Just 1 of their "mistakes"
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,853 Captain
    We catch and release young goliaths every day, take a photo then return them to the water (no matter how much I'm tempted to keep one...).  We're literally over-run by them in the backcountry.  As always the moment they move into a spot - everything else leaves... 

    Once again - I'm talking about my own actions - and what I've seen.  The only fish cutting facilities I use are the Park's cutting tables at Flamingo and the cutting tables at Outdoor Resorts so maybe I'm just not seeing the activities described.  I have, of course, heard on more than one occasion of places where illegal taking is going on - but not where I am at all... 
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 1,111 Officer
    The picture I described was taken at his house. I hope what I have witnessed is an anomaly 
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 13,168 AG
    High dollar guides up here (million dollar boats) dropping off excess grouper to other boats and collected later on the hill.

    I see no reason why it doesn't apply all the way down to your area.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 11,887 AG
    I'd Bet Recs are keeping way more fish than Guides and I've fished there for 30 plus years. 
    The Locals..and I was one, would not think twice about keeping an overslot Snook or 2 Reds..but they ate them for dinner that night and never kept more than they needed for right then.
    The Folks that drive 100 miles twice a year are out to Fill the Coolers.
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 1,111 Officer
    Some of these guys are using freezers with an inverter in the back of their pickups
  • 10kman10kman Posts: 984 Officer
    Was out  today.Snook being caught and even better
    did not see a boat for first four hours.
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 1,111 Officer
    I went out as well caught 1 snooklet
  • thecawthecaw Posts: 39 Deckhand
    The snook defiantly do not post up in schools on the outside point may/June like they used to. They are still there but you have to work at it, no longer can u trolling motor over 20 of them and flip jigs at them. The winter and fall have become extremely difficult as the back bays just honestly suck now. Can’t catch hardly anything winter and spring. 
    This spring I did hammer the trout in the rivers so there is that. They seem to be more plentiful this year than last however the fishing isn’t like it was 20 years ago. 
    I don’t think ppl keeping fish even those who cheat are too blame as much as just the water quality. It’s either too salty too fresh or something. The big snook just don’t seem to school up like they used too in the islands . Fall redfish is still rest good 
  • 10kman10kman Posts: 984 Officer
    \\  Been crying the blues since Dec.No reds,tarpon,few 
    sheepshead,few trout.But today, a 27"red,tarpon on,two
    slot snook and few decent snapper.
      Couple of guesses.First time in awhile some jumping
    small baitfish.Second good rising incoming tide.
  • TXWahooTXWahoo Posts: 572 Officer
    edited May 2022 #21
    Well, I'm glad it's not just me.  I figured I had forgotten how to fish.

    I was at Cape Hatteras, NC last week fishing the Pamlico Sound and among 4 guys, we caught 3 nice trout and 1 small red over 2 full days.

    Some of the comments about non-residents doing wrong need to be caveated: 

    "Local"s have no moral superiority when it comes to doing what's right for a fishery.  On the contrary, my experience seems to make me believe that people think "these are our fish, I have a right to keep it".  

    I drive 90 miles each way to fish 10K islands or Flamingo at least once a month and have never in my life kept an out of season or under / over slot fish, or more than a bag limit.  

    In contrast, I have a friend that lives in the upper Keys and his neighbors won't throw back a snook or red no matter the size or season.  In Chokoloskee, I ran into a guy bragging about shooting goliaths with a .30-06 years ago.

    It's no better offshore with people keeping 9" blackfin and every skinny 20" dolphin that comes along.

  • polliwogpolliwog Posts: 355 Deckhand
    I hate to hear these stories,it sounds like our problem in the northeast with stripe bass. The fishery is a complete mess.  I had a pretty good winter with snook,but it turned off in April,hope it isn't a trend.
  • CaptjamesCaptjames Posts: 237 Deckhand
    edited May 2022 #23
    I drive from Pompano Beach to 10k islands to fish. I'll fish 3 days and out of those and all the fish I've caught, I'll usually keep 1 legal sized, in season fish for my wife to eat (a trout or a redfish etc.).  I don't even like eating in shore fish, only catching and releasing them..........

    Yet I hear locals talking about out of season snook they kept.......or tourists keeping every fish they catch. 
  • 10kman10kman Posts: 984 Officer
      Where are the fish?Where are the people who post on 10k?
  • snookaffinitysnookaffinity Posts: 1,302 Officer
    Good question.
    "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain
  • mbeaversmbeavers Posts: 16 Deckhand
    Just curious how the white bait is there now.  Bringing my 84 year old dad down in June as we absolutely love the Marco Island / 10K area.  Were there last year and it seemed the red tide had taken its toll. 

  • nobleonenobleone Posts: 107 Deckhand
    edited May 2022 #27
    10kman said:
      Where are the fish?Where are the people who post on 10k?
    Ok, Ok, haven't been getting out very much lately, winds, rain, and mostly just not usually on the water this time of year.  My brother, Chris, was visiting from Kansas last week and we planned on fishing 4 or 5 days but the boat had other ideas....

    1999 Pathfinder 1810v had a fuel fill hose issue (cracked, holes and just general old age) which kept the boat in the shop most of the week.  Pathfinder agreed the design was poor, not enough space to install replacement hose without cutting holes in  the boat.  So now I have an access hatch in the gunnel and one on the the deck, but the good news is I no longer pour fuel into the hull (I spent a couple of hundred $ doing that in my ignorance, I thought something was wrong....), they also replaced the fuel sending switch gasket so I no longer smell fuel on those very hot days.

    We went out Thursday last week and fished the outside first.  Nothing on the topwater so I switched to a bucktail sweetened with scrimp, got a few snappers, small snuke and of course I was the catfish king!  Ran into the back on a falling tide, there was less water in the back than out front (how does that happen?).  Getting later in the morning now, sun is beating on us.   I pull a 22" snuke off a bar on a shoreline and a couple more snapper, Chris is still throwing the topwater, he can be stubborn like that.  Move farther out in the bay to another bar, now it's 11 o'clock and hot!  I'm fishing the bar pretty hard without any luck when Chris's reel starts singing.  I maneuver the boat away from the bar and get the net ready, Chris is hollering for the net long before the snuke is ready for it so I take my time.  Stick the net in the water boatside and Chris perfectly guides the fish in.

    I don't know where the fish are, but we found this 29 incher on a topwater in the middle of the day, in the middle of a bay.  Perfect revival and release, even if his shoes look funny.

    We went out for a couple of hours Friday as well but the weather was sketchy and the wind was relentless as well as a flood tide.  I did put a bucktail into something so large I couldn't turn it away from the mangroves...

    "If it's not one thing, it's an alternator"

  • 10kman10kman Posts: 984 Officer
      Going out tomorrow out of Goodland early 6am.Trying
    for tarpon if calm waters,blowing,then in a back bay.But should
    be ok,rising tide little moon.

  • snookaffinitysnookaffinity Posts: 1,302 Officer
    Nobleone, thanks for the post. Great outing with the brother. Good luck in the morning 10kman. 
    "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain
  • Posts: 141 Deckhand
    I've had my share of problems finding fish. I've seen some huge reds recently but can't get them to eat or I got too close. Haven't seen a trout in a while. Plenty of snaps but I don't fish for those. Lots of sharks and rays tho.
  • 10kman10kman Posts: 984 Officer
        Fri.out fishing and a little good and little bad.
    The Good....rising tide and 1/4 moon.The BAD...
    no tarpon,no reds& a few small snook.But we
    did catch ten mangroves above legal.
        And one other good thing about Memorial
    Day week end....Docks not crowded Fri.
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