There's killer tarpon action off the Gulf beaches, and out-of-state panfishermen working Everglades canals are catching oscars by the hundreds -- as many as 900!

Offshore catches also have been pretty good for bottom fish and mackerels.

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That said, last year's killing red tide impacts on snook, redfish and trout, and the subsequent restrictions on keeping those fish, appear to have reduced inshore fishing efforts significantly. May reports are way more quiet than usual.

OFFSHORE: Get Hooked Charter Capt. Matt DeAngelis reports a "quality" busman's holiday with Capt. Jason Moore off Fort Myers Beach. They freelined live crabs among a large school of tarpon to hook nine fish and get four to the boat on Wednesday. Capt. DeAngelis's Saturday trip also produced four Spanish mackerel to a dandy 4 pounds for Missouri youngster Drake Smith, who was baiting with freelined sardines.

That's a dandy 4-pound Spanish mackerel, one of four angler Drake Smith can show his pals when he gets back to Missouri. He was fishing at the MAY Reef Saturday with Get Hooked Charter Capt. Matt DeAngelis.

Last Saturday with Capt. Chris McCubbin, Bill Schirmer and Tom and Mary Ann Dineen hooked six tarpon while fishing crabs under a float and dragging crabs along the bottom, just off Sanibel, where Tom also used a green-and-white jig to catch a nice tripletail.

Nine south Fort Myers anglers -- Chuck Walsh, Doug Doty, Larry Stahlhut, Bob Spinsky, John Towers, Jeff Reynolds, Jim Fleischman, Steve Peterson and Byron Stout -- used cut thread herrings, squid and live bait Tuesday to box five keeper red grouper and about five dozen panfish including porgies, grunts, and snapper slams of mangroves, yellowtails, lanes and vermilions. They fished about 10 spots southwest of Naples in 100 feet of water with A&B Charters captains Jim Rinckey and Bobby Nagaj.

Jim Fleischman's keeper red grouper was the first of five caught on Tuesday's A&B Charter out of Naples Marina.

King Fisher offshore trips out of Fishermen's Village in Punta Gorda have been bringing in one or two keeper red grouper among dozens of shorts, lots of lane snapper including one 23-inch stud, and a mix of vermilions and mangs. One king also was caught this week on a freelined bait, and one trip produced a nice shot of Spanish mackerel caught trolling on the trip home, from depths of 65 to 70 feet off Boca Grande Pass.

ESTERO BAY: Capt. Dave Hoffman reports he had a grand day Sunday with his grandson, 10-year-old Ben Hoffman, although stiffer-than-forecast breezes and a strong incoming tide stirred up bay waters too much for productive fishing.

SANIBEL: Norm Zeigler's Fly, Bait & Tackle Shop on Periwinkle Way reports Rene Ramos used spinning tackle and a bucktail jig to catch and release two big snook Wednesday at the Sanibel Rocks, just west of the west end of West Gulf Drive. Beach fishing has been picking up, and "many, many juvenile tarpon" are reported along Wildlife Drive, closed Fridays, in the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

San Carlos Bay's Billboard Flats, off the approach to the Sanibel Causeway, have been producing trout, mackerel, ladyfish and pompano for wade fishermen, and Zeigler's reports Capt. Rey Rodriguez has been finding good numbers of snook along the upper west shorelines of Pine Island.

PINE ISLAND: Saint James City Capt. George Grosselfinger reports a Wednesday exploratory trip to the back side of Captiva Island revealed lots of milky water with seagrasses covered with algae. He did see a few snook around Redfish Pass, but couldn't get them to bite artificial baits on the slow tide.

Wildfly Charters Capt. Gregg McKee reports his anglers have fought tough conditions for fly casting, and have put but two fish in the air over the past week. The clear water inside Captiva Pass has been good for sighting fish, and some newly arrived tarpon have been laying up across the sound, in the Captiva Rocks area. He also reports lots of big tarpon in Charlotte Harbor.

On the other side of the island, Capt. McKee and his wife, Amanda, had a great day for action (if not table fare) just north of the Indian Fields in Matlacha Pass, where she used a white Gulp! Shrimp to catch a 27-inch trout, and he was freelining a live greenback (Atlantic thread herring) when he caught a big snook.

Wildfly Charters Capt. Gregg McKee was using a live herring on flats just north of the Indian Fields in Matlacha Pass when he released this nice snook.

CHARLOTTE HARBOR: King Fisher bay boat charters have concentrated efforts over the past week on spotted seatrout, on east side harbor flats south to Pirate Harbor. Limited efforts on catch-and-release snook fishing with live shrimp also has been pretty good along eastern shorelines, and there has been good fishing for mangrove snapper to 12 inches along riprapped shorelines in Punta Gorda canals, in local creek mouths, and at the Charlotte Harbor Reef south of Mangrove Point. Fishing for Spanish mackerel also has been pretty good at the reef, and outside the harbor's eastern bar.

FRESH WATER

LAKE TRAFFORD: Lake Trafford Marina reports little effort, but good numbers of Mayan cichlids biting from the shorelines and pier at Ann Olesky Park, and for boaters in the Immokalee Lake. On the down side, veteran crappie specialist Tony Louden caught only five specks while boating last Friday.

LAKE OKEECHOBEE: Bobby Jones reports crickets have been flying out the door at Roland Martin's Marine Center in Clewiston at a rate of 30,000 per week, sold mostly to out-of-state panfish specialists from South Carolina. Some also are taking tubs of red worms south down U.S. 27 to the Everglades canal systems, where they've been catching some shellcrackers (redear sunfish). For the most part, they've been catching as many as 800 or 900 oscars, on group efforts.

Bluegills have been biting in limit numbers (50 per angler), "But that's been a day's work, so far," according to Jones. The best catches have been from the dynamite holes off the Rim Canal, between Clewiston and South Bay.

Bass fishing also has remained very good for anglers tossing spinnerbaits, swim jigs and swimbaits including Big EZs. Outside grass lines in as little as 18 inches of water, from Pelican Bay around to Observation Shoal and the North Shore have produced good reports, although boaters have been idling or on trolling motors for hundreds of yards to avoid lower unit damage in the rocky shallows.

PIC OF THE WEEK

Amanda McKee used a white Gulp! Shrimp to catch and release this Matlacha Pass trout, while relaxing with her husband, Capt. Gregg McKee.

Amanda McKee was tossing a white Gulp! Shrimp in Matlacha Pass with her husband, Wildfly Charters Capt. Gregg McKee, when this gator trout took note. Trout longer than 20 inches cannot be currently harvested, and the harvest of all trout will be banned, a

It is currently illegal to keep spotted seatrout over 20 inches, in coastal counties from the Pasco/Hernando County line south through Naples' Gordon Pass. The harvest of all trout in that area will be banned effective Saturday, May 11, 2019, through May 31, 2020. The harvest of snook and redfish already is banned through May 31, 2020, in the same area.

FISH TIP

"Dollar crabs" are so called by their size relative to a silver dollar, not their cost. Bait shops charge as much as $3 each for live swimming crabs ranging from an inch to as much as three inches across the back. This is a baby blue crab, the hardier bait among two local species.

“Dollar” blue crabs now are even more expensive than the silver coins to which their size is likened, but they’re worth every penny when they’re converted to a silver king.

The similar iridescent swimming crab, also known as a "pass crab," can be caught in area passes with dip nets as they ride outgoing tides to their offshore spawning grounds. In either case, dollar crabs are the hottest baits going for tarpon, now abundant off the barrier island beaches, or for permit, which school over offshore wrecks and artificial reefs. Hooking bottom-to-top through the point of the carapace is best for a natural presentation.

HOT SPOTS

No. 1: Charlotte Harbor Reef for snapper and Spanish mackerel; trout and snook on the flats.

No. 2: Boca Grande Pass and nearshore waters along barrier islands for tarpon.

No. 3: Eastern Pine Island Sound shorelines for snook.

No. 4: Sanibel beaches for snook; Ding Darling for juvenile tarpon.

No. 5: Sanibel Causeway approach for trout, mackerel, ladyfish and pompano.

No. 6: Well offshore for grouper and mixed snappers.

No. 7: Lake Trafford for Mayan cichlids.

LAKE OKEECHOBEE

No. 1: Outside grass lines for bass.

No. 2: Dynamite holes for bluegill.

No. 3: Everglades canals for oscars.