Fishing Report, May 2023
The weather was fantastic this month, with the coolest May temperatures that I can remember for years. This kept the fish active, and made for one of the best months of the year for inshore fishing. Redfishing was especially off the charts, with large numbers of upper- and overslot fish. The tournaments were well-attended and the marina had great crowds for the weigh-ins. The last week of the month I fished with Captains Tommy Thompson and Doug Barrett and we caught some fine redfish.
Here are some pictures from this month’s catches at the Sea Hag Marina:
Fishing Forecast for June
Well, it’s here. Scallop season begins June 15th in our area, and the Hatch is already excited and getting ready. Scalloping is a traditional family experience in our area, and is restricted to those areas of the state that have high water quality, and that includes Steinhatchee. It’s easy, fun, and you get to take home some excellent eating, or choose one of the restaurants in town to cook your scallops for you. Whether you choose to rent one of our beautiful Carolina Skiffs that are perfect for scalloping, or use one of our experienced guides, you can plan on having a great time in the water. Because of boat traffic later in the morning, the best fishing will be at daybreak or sundown when things have settled down. Scallops are easier to find in the late morning when the sun is high, so many people do early fishing trips and then scallop later in the day. You can get a rental boat and we’ll tell you where to go, or if you want someone to take care of all the details, most of our guides will do mixed trips: fishing in the morning, scalloping in the afternoon. But a warning; accommodations on weekends are already filling up as well as during the week, and rental boats will all be reserved in advance, so plan ahead. The Sea Hag has lots of accommodations of all sizes, but plan early, and reserve your boat as well. Here is some additional information about scalloping in Steinhatchee:
As far as fishing goes, things may slow down after the boat traffic picks up and temps rise, but there will still be some great fishing. The migrations of pelagics, whitebait and tarpon have started. Last week while fishing in three feet of water I had a 135# tarpon grab my topwater plug right next to the boat. Didn’t last long, and I was about to be spooled when the line broke. We don’t usually target tarpon in our area, but when tarpon are migrating through our area, look for them in early mornings over sand bars and feeding in shallow water. Cobia, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and kingfish are also marching through. Offshore, gag grouper are still closed. But the exciting news is that the recreational red snapper season will start June 16 and run until July 31, with additional weekends opening in October and November. Inshore fishing will be best in early morning or around dusk, and as the water temperature increases trout may move off the shallow flats to deeper 5-10 depths over grass bottoms. Fishing jigs near the bottom is the best approach in deeper water. Redfish will still be found in schools and around structure right near the shoreline. Floating grass may make lure fishing challenging; we’ve had success using suspending lures like the Live Target sardine, which can run under the surface grass. Live shrimp fished under a cork is always a good bet for both trout and redfish.
The Pro Redfish League will be having a tournament June 9-10, and the CCA STAR tournament will run through the summer until September 9. For information about signing up, go to this link: https://ccaflorida.org/event/star/
And just for fun, there’s a Trivia Night party at the marina the night of June 16 to celebrate the opening of both scallop and red snapper seasons. This will be an exciting month. Make your plans early and you won’t be disappointed.