Another warm, beautiful week in the books put lots of smiles on angler’s faces. More and more fish are showing up and appetites are increasing as the water warms, even if you didn’t catch any fish it was still a great week to be on the water.
Captain Cliff Simer reports a good mix of fish from Bokeelia to Cayo Costa in the northern Sound. Sea trout up to twenty inches were caught in potholes off the flats near Cabbage Key and plenty of small redfish and a few big sheepsheads were taken over hard bottom along the mangroves in the same area. Some large snook were also sighted but were uninterested in eating. Action has picked up over the deeper grass flats this week for Spanish mackerel and plenty of little sharks and Captain Simer also sighted a couple tarpon near Bokeelia.
Also from Bokeelia, Captain Ken Honc has noted an increasing number of snook and larger redfish showing in the northern Sound. The bite was still on the slow side for the larger fish, but there was plenty of small reds and good size trout to pick up the action.
Captain Dick May with Easy Rider Charters in Bokeelia reports a busy week with the bite getting better with each warming day. Due to less than great tides much of the week Captain May has been concentrating on catching trout (to 20 inches), Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, bonnet head and black tip sharks while fishing for trout. On days with enough water Captain May reports catching red’s up to 17 inches but no keepers.. The best bait for Trout has been three inch Gulp shrimp in pearl white or glow color under a rattling cork on a 1/4 oz. jig head.
The big fish are beginning to arrive, according to Captain Joe Harley of Snook Town Charters. Over the calm mornings he has been working small pods of tarpon in the mid Sound on the eastern side. He also reports a lot of Lemon Sharks up to seven feet in the same area that are given clients plenty of thrilling rod bending action. Captain Harley also reports some big snook showing up on the shorelines in Matlacha Pass and plenty of Spanish mackerel at the north end of Matlacha Pass near Bokeelia.
Fishing in Pine Island Sound Captain Sean McQuade has been working potholes on the flats south of Demere Key for trout, redfish and an occasional snook. Patiently poling from hole to hole while fishing live shrimp has been the best bet for trout, with many over twenty inches, loads of sixteen to eighteen inch reds, snook and a few flounder. Captain McQuade also fished offshore a couple days and found plenty of snapper, porgies and large grunts over reefs in state waters.
From St. James, Captain George Grosselfinger reports a good week that brought many trout with most on the smaller side than the previous week. However the redfish were bigger, up to thirty inches and so were the Snook, with the largest also measuring thirty inches. The lure of choice was 1/4 oz red jig, swim bait combination worked in cuts and potholes of Pine Island Sound.
Also at the south end of the Island, Captain Charles Epranian had a busy week on the water. He reports catching all the small redfish (rat reds) you could dream of up to 17-18 inches as well as plenty of sheepsheads and trout, plus, quite a few flounder. The best redfish action came on an afternoon high tide when the larger fish decided to eat. Seven slot redfish from twenty to twenty-seven inches were caught while fishing the corner of a creek mouth in southern Pine Island Sound.
Fishing on my boat over the week pretty much echoed what the other Captains noted. We are catching an increasing number of species and larger fish are moving in. We found trout up to twenty-two inches over sand/grass patch bottom in three to five foot depths from Part Island west to Punta Blanco Island, Spanish mackerel and small sharks were also mixed in. A couple days with a strong southwest wind we fished Keys and Islands in mid Pine Island Sound and found plenty of action on redfish, although most are still running below the eighteen inch minimum we did manage a few keepers. We caught a couple nice pompano around Bokeelia and seen a steady increase in mackerel action in the Harbor. I am also beginning to see a few tarpon showing up in the Harbor and northern Sound and sharks up to six feet.
Anglers also reported trout in and around Blind Pass on Captiva, mackerel and pompano on the gulf side of the Sanibel Causeway and large sheepsheads roaming the surf on the gulf beaches from Sanibel to Cayo Costa Island.
Warm water equates to more and larger fish and that’s just what we are beginning to experience in our waters. Spring officially begins in about three weeks but we are on pace for an early start. Baitfish are beginning to arrive as are the large predator fish, let’s keep our fingers crossed that this trend continues.
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’.