Warm weather allowed holiday visitors to get on the water, take in the sun and get in some fishing time over Thanksgiving week.
Inshore, Spanish mackerel provided lots of fun for visiting families. Fish averaging two to four pounds were schooling over some of the deeper grassflats in Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound. Look for gulls or terns around these areas and if you see a pod of bottle nose dolphin hanging around a deep grassflat it could be a great clue to mackerel in the area. If you start hooking the macks don’t be surprised if the dolphins move in near the boat looking for an easy meal. For bait, live shrimp under a cork, live pilchards and silver spoons, either cast or trolled. You can also expect to catch plenty of big ladyfish over the same bottom.
Low mid day tides allowed the shallow minded angler to get in the skinny water and pursue tailing redfish. Leaving the boat behind and fishing from a kayak or on foot was the best options to sneak up on spooky redfish. Scattered fish were found in north Matlacha Pass at Indian Fields, south of the Pine Island Creek entrance, at Forty Acre Bay on the east side of Pine Island Sound and on the bay side of Captiva near Buck Key and Blind Pass. The best fishing was in areas where mullet were schooling; reds measuring from 18 to 28 inches were reported. Schooling jack crevalle were also working mullet schools in Indian Fields and a good number of sharks averaging four to six feet were shadowing mullet in the Sound on the shallows.
A few pompano were caught near the entrances to Bull and Turtle Bay across Charlotte Harbor, in the surf near Blind Pass and between the Sanibel pier and Lighthouse Point. Slow bouncing the bottom with white pompano jigs, Silly Willy jigs or live shrimp worked for tasty pompano up to three pounds. A few big flounder were also caught from these areas.
Offshore, the best action came from depths between 30 and 50 feet. Gag grouper, mangrove snapper, hog snapper, cobia and king mackerel were found at these depths. Most of the fish were found over limestone ledges that show only a minimal relief on a bottom machine. Trolling diving lures just off the bottom or live baiting the ledges worked for gags to twenty-nine inches. Cobia and mackerel were also hooked on the big lures and spear fishermen took both mangrove and hog snapper up to four pounds from ledges.
Not sure how much longer the balmy warm weather will last but it continues to give anglers a list of opportunities. At some point colder weather will set in and fish will settle in for winter, but until that happens it’s a great time to be on the water!
If you have a fishing story or for charter information, please contact us at 239-283-7960 or: www.fishpineisland.com. Have a safe week and good fishin’.