For once this year, I was able to get the weather and the fishing correct in the May report. It was a big guess as nothing had been going as usual until May come along and now the inshore fishing is just as we had expected. The pompano are along the beach and almost any location along with more whiting than we have seen in several years. The speckled trout and redfish are coming on real strong and I expect them to continue well into June. We have had the largest and best run of ling (cobia) that I have seen in four or five years. There were seventeen ling under the Mexico Beach pier the other night just fooling around looking for an eel. The Spanish mackerel have moved in big numbers and each day they seem to be a lot larger than the day before. The King mackerel are just now showing up in the middle of May but the Schoollie Kings are here in big numbers and on the other side is those older Kings are here in large sizes. It is hard to keep the small Kings off of your bait long enough for one of the monsters to grab it.
Offshore fishing was slow to come on due to the constant rough seas and thunderstorms. However, now that it has turned more normal than it has been, bottom fishing has busted wide open. All of those grouper that we were told were not out there last Fall have just appeared like magic. You see it is hard to convince the NMFS that Mother Nature plays so large a role in the availability of certain species of fish. Gag grouper are showing up on all of their normal feeding locations, and you can catch them all the way from undersize to large sizes. Along with the Gag, of course, are some really great red grouper and the scamp are more plentiful than I have seen in three or four years. The amberjack are still coming on strong and in good sizes. You may have to throw a few small ones back, but just be careful and release them unharmed as they will be there for you on your next trip. I hate to even mention red snapper as they are still so thick that it is hard to get a bait deep enough to hook a grouper or amberjack. Maybe when the season on red snapper has opened by the time you read this, we will be able to cull a few of them out of the way. The NMFS and NOAA do not think, or at least lead us to believe they think, there are enough red snapper out there to go around in that, they only allow us 53 days from June 1st to bring home red snapper legally.
As you noticed, I have not mentioned oil one time as we are being blessed by the weather and currents as of this time. Hopefully, the west Florida beaches will continue to be clear of the danger until they can find a solution.
Don’t forget to file a float plan, and let somebody know when you are going to return.