Fishing Report MAY 2019
Sea Hag MAY Report
The fishing was excellent for the first three-fourths of this month. Lots of great redfish and trout being caught on the flats, cobia showed up on their migration through the area, and offshore there were lots of nice grouper, amberjack and snapper caught (and released since they were out of season), along with some nice kingfish and barracuda. Then a blistering heat wave came through Memorial Day weekend, driving the trout into deeper water and the redfish became more lethargic. That called for a change in plans for most, in terms of time of day and water depth which I’ll talk about in the forecast. Here are some pics for this month as Steinhatchee gets ready for June 15th –and scallop season.
Sea Hag JUNE FORECAST
Inshore fishing will be challenging this month for two reasons: high water temps and the beginning of scallop season on June 15th (in our area; other locations have different dates as per this FWC page: https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/bay-scallops/)
The best way to find larger trout and redfish is to fish close to shore at daybreak and sunset. Look for baitfish, fish topwater or suspending plugs, or live shrimp along shorelines and oyster bars. Once the sun gets higher it’s time to head a bit offshore to 5-10 feet of water over mixed grass bottoms, where the water is cooler. Areas surround Nine-Mile Bank, Little Bank and west of the Bird Rack are known to hold trout, and usually in association with sand trout, which become a staple this time of year. They fight harder than spotted trout and taste better (in my opinion, only) and there is no limit. Plus they take the same baits as spotted trout….jigs fished deep with Gulp or other plastic tails. The deeper the water, the less likely popping cork rigs are to be productive. There have been some great catches of sand and spotted trout taken off deep flats this past week.
Offshore, the big news is that gag grouper are in season in both state and federal waters starting June 1. Red snapper are more complicated; for charter boats, the season is open from June 1 to August 1 if the boat is federally permitted. The recreational season is currently planned for June 11 until July 12..
But scallop season will be the real story. I’ve seen scallops in several locations both north and south of the river this past month, and I think it should be a great season. Make sure you plan ahead…accommodations are hard to find, but try the Sea Hag Cottages and you may get what you’re looking for. We have a broad range of different sized accommodations, so give us a call. Make sure you have a Florida fishing license, and you know your bag limits (2 gallons of whole scallops or pint of meats per person, maximum of 10 gallons of whole scallops in shell, or ½ gallon meats per boat). We’ll have scallop cleaners available so you can relax. Make sure you have lots of fluids to avoid dehydration, avoid lots of alcohol on the water, and make sure you have a diver down flag. It gets very crowded, so watch your speed around other boats to make sure there aren’t divers around. Most of the time 3 feet is a good depth to start looking. Try to find areas that have mixed manatee grass (thin needle-type grass), eel grass (much wider and more common everywhere) and sandy patches. If you can’t find them on your own, look for a large flotilla of boats and find your place near them.
There are several great tournaments this month, with an overlap on June 8th. The Doug Johnson Reeling for Kids tournament is Friday and Saturday, the 7th and 8th, based at the Estuary, just west of the Sea Hag. It’s the largest tournament in our area. For more information, go here: http://www.reelingforkids.com/.
Also on the 8th is the annual NautiGirls tournament, a woman-oriented tournament that has been growing in size. It’s based at the Sea Hag. For more about this tournament, go here: https://www.naturalnorthflorida.com/blog/2019-steinhatchee-nautigirls-fishing-tournament-june-8-no-boys-allowed/
Both these tournaments have required captain’s meetings the night before, so make sure you sign up in advance.
Remember, the Sea Hag, in addition to accommodations, can provide you with fishing licenses, dive flags, masks and snorkels, and great rental boats to get you on the water. It’s a busy month, so have fun, stay cool, and be careful out there.
Capt. Kyle Skipper, www.m1fishing.com (352) 317-1654
As the temperature rises the focus goes from being on the water to being in the water. Here soon I will be pulling out my fishing boat and putting my scalloping boat in the water and shifting gears. I’ve already seen plentiful scallops on the flats and can’t wait to start scalloping. I still have plenty of availability and would love the opportunity to put you and yours on the scallops. Tight lines and much love,