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A good week to be on the water

February 22, 2011
By Capt. BILL RUSSELL, On the Water
You could not have asked for a better week to be on the water, the weather was picture perfect and a holiday weekend made it even better. Fishing wasn’t as great as the weather; however anglers that put in the time were rewarded with a few good fish.

Captain Cliff Simer reports a mixed bag of trout, sheepsheads and redfish in the northern Sound near Cayo Costa and Cabbage Key. The redfish were running slightly below the legal length, averaging seventeen inches and the trout and sheepsheads were larger on average with several trout over twenty inches and sheepsheads up to fourteen inches. The best bite was on live shrimp over the mid morning incoming tide. According to Captain Simer there was about an hour or so window where the bite was decent then pretty slow the rest of the day.

Captain Gary Clark is beginning to catch pompano off the sand bars in four to seven feet of water near the Sanibel Causeway. Slow bouncing a quarter ounce white pompano jig tipped with shrimp caught several pompano up to two pounds, plus small bonnet head sharks and Spanish mackerel. The best action was on the Gulf side of the Causeway off the bar near the A-span over the incoming tide.

In St. James, Captain George Grosselfinger reports a slow start to the week and a bite that improved as the week progressed. Using only artificials, George reports trout and mackerel near Tarpon Bay, trout up to twenty-six inches in Pine Island Sound along with snook. The best day of snookin yielded thirteen caught and released while cast artificials near cuts and points.

We had a mixed week on my boat; we caught fish but not in great numbers or quality. Although the weather was absolutely beautiful, I thought the fishing was a little disappointing. We caught trout up to twenty inches but really had to work for them, our best action came in the upper Sound near Punta Blanco Island at the beginning of the afternoon falling tide. We also caught our first pompano off the year and a decent number of mackerel from the same area. We fished live shrimp suspended below a popping cork with a rattle and white jerk baits. We also caught a few trout near twenty inches in northern Matlacha Pass near Smokehouse Bay plus trout and all the ladyfish you could ever want in Burgess Bay at Bokeelia. We did catch a good number of sheepsheads up to three pounds while fishing structure in the northern Sound.

Action picked up this week over deep grass flats near Bokeelia in Charlotte Harbor with boats working the area for Spanish mackerel, sea trout and ladyfish. It was common to see a dozen or more boats drifting or trolling. Mackerel are filtering back into the Harbor; the action should only get better as the month progresses.

Spanish mackerel were also reported off the Sanibel Pier along with a few Pompano and large sheepsheads.

It was a picture perfect week as far as weather was concerned; you won’t get any argument there. It seems every year about this time after a cold winter and then we get out first extended stretch of good weather, I am always disappointed with the fishing. I expect it to be great because the weather is, but we have to remember, the water temperature is slower to warm. It’s warming up every day though; during the course of the week I’ve seen more and more sharks, rays, mackerel and just overall activity in the water. Baitfish are also beginning to reappear, another great sign that we should see a big improvement in fishing in the very near future.

If you have a fishing story or for charter information, please contact us at 239-283-7960 or: Have a safe week and good fishin’.

Article Photos

Photo contributed
Leaving the cold of Minnesota behind John Arndt made his first fishing trip to Pine Island. For dinner he took home a catch of sheepshead and sea trout while fishing with Capt. Bill Russell.



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