From Boca Grande all the way down to Naples, we get a lot of permit on the wrecks from 5 to 20 miles offshore. The permit go to these structures in schools of anywhere from 50 to 500 fish or more, and constantly circle the wreck all day.
Late July and all of August are a great time to chase amberjacks in my region because there’s a lot of bait schools on the offshore wrecks and reefs. This is the time of the year when the grunts are everywhere, and there’s also sardines, threadfins and pilchards on the shallower wrecks, and blue runners and goggle-eyes on the deeper wrecks.
Late July is a great time to do some diving in my region, whether you snorkel, scuba dive or use a Hookah rig. The entire month of July the ocean is flat, unless we get a big tropical storm moving through the area, so you can pretty much dive anywhere you want out of a small boat. We’re fortunate in that we have crystal clear water most of the time in both the bays and in the ocean.
When you think of offshore fishing in the Northwest Region of Florida, most people envision grouper and snapper fishing on the offshore rocky ledges, but there’s actually a group of anglers who make the long run offshore to target swordfish in the open Gulf of Mexico. The only drawback to targeting swordfish in my region is that they like deep water, usually 1,500 to 2,000 feet, so you can expect long runs to the fishing grounds.
The Gulf of Mexico is a great place to target tuna, with everything from Giant Bluefin, to yellowfin and the most commonly caught blackfin tuna. Because the Gulf is shallow, if you’re going tuna fishing out of my region, you can expect to make a long run—the larger the tuna you’re targeting, the longer the run. Blackfin tuna can be caught around the bait schools in as shallow as 40 feet of water, but the yellowfin and Bluefin tuna tend to come out of the deeper waters of the Gulf.
June and July are prime time for targeting marlin in my region. Most of the fish will be blue marlin, but there will be the occasional white marlin in the mix. The best white marling fishing is really in the fall, when cooler waters push the fish through in decent numbers.
Grouper migrate more than most people think. In the winter months the grouper move up onto the shallow reefs to spawn, but during the summer months, they’re out on the deeper wrecks and reefs in anywhere from 120 to 200 feet of water or more, because the shallow water is too warm or has too many temperature fluctuations for their general comfort. You’ll find grouper on those shallow reefs and wrecks and around the bridges, but most of them are juvenile fish that haven’t assimilated into the mature population.
Any time you take a child fishing, you want it to be fun and action packed. Young kids don’t have a large attention span, and they’re not really worried about catching the fish of a lifetime, they just want to catch fish. With that in mind, you can make it easy by just going to a local pier, catwalk or beach and fishing a piece of shrimp on a light spin casting rod. A spin casting rod is the kind with the push button reels, which makes it easy for them to get the hang of casting and reeling, so they can quickly do those things on their own.