Inshore, everything from bull sharks to mackerel was caught over the week, and offshore, good mixed bag catches were reported by boats making a long run west.
Mangrove snapper fishing continued strong inshore with plenty of fish caught by anglers targeting them and as by-catch for fishermen looking for snook, reds and trout. From the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River throughout the sound, Matlacha Pass and around the passes, snapper were caught along mangrove shorelines, under docks and over oyster bars. Also several anglers reported snapper up to 14 inches in good numbers over grass flats in 4 to 6 feet of water in the sound where they were targeting trout. Shrimp or small pilchards and pinfish were the preferred baits.
Speaking of trout, fishing for them is better than normal for the month of September. Most of the reports of bigger fish are coming from the western side of the sound out to the beaches. The water in Matlacha Pass is getting a lot of freshwater run-off from the rain; this could be keeping the fish concentrated in the sound. Look for them over grass flats in 3 to 6 feet of water between the intracoastal channel and the gulf passes. Spanish mackerel, bluefish and mangrove snapper were also mixed with the trout. Once again live pilchards or herring or look-alike artificials were the best baits. When fishing the grass, look for areas where the grass breaks with the sand and a good water movement. These areas often become a feeding station.
When fishing the mangroves for redfish, most anglers like a good high tide but the highs much of last week were ridicuously high. The fish were so far back in the roots you needed a bulldozer to get to them. Some were caught on the shoreline in the mornings and late afternoons before and after the tide peaked. A few were reported around Regla Island and “Ding” Darling in the southern end of the sound and Indian Fields in northern Matlacha Pass. Early morning found a few willing to take top-water lures in open water and as the water rose they moved under the bushes where live shrimp and Gulp baits worked best.
Schools of large (oversized) redfish were found in northern Pine Island Sound and on the Burnt Store bar on the eastern side of Charlotte Harbor. The fish are averaging 30 inches with several hundred in a school. For bait they were caught on everything from fly to live and cut bait. Several bull sharks were also hooked or caught while fishing the reds. One bull in the harbor caught with the reds was reported near 7 feet, if you are wade fishing for these schooling reds be aware.
Offshore, David Bollen, Cliff Simer and friends made a run west of Captiva to depths of about a hundred feet and boated a nice mixed bag of fish. They put some big red grouper and mangrove snapper in the cooler while fishing the bottom over ledges. Free-lining live baits higher in the water column they also hooked and boated two blackfin tuna up to 20 pounds, one nice dolphin, a king mackerel and a big cobia. That’s a nice cooler of fish!
If you have a fishing story or photo that you would like to share or for charter information, please contact us at (239)283-7960 or www.fishpineisland.com. Have a safe week and good fishin’.