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April fishing off to a good start

April 5, 2011
By Capt. BILL RUSSELL, On the Water
After several weeks of perfect weather this past one was more of a challenge as poor tides and days of really strong winds and some rain gave us a challenge. Even so, fishing was good as our waters continue to warm as we move into one of my favorite months to fish.

Spanish mackerel fishing has been great, most of our mackerel fishing has taken place in Charlotte Harbor, not only are they very plentiful, they are running big. On many of our recent trips we had children on board where they had a blast catching big macks, sea trout, bluefish, ladyfish and even a few sharks all from the same spot. This is a great way to get a kid hooked on fishing and also the best fishing choice over the slow moving tides. Plenty of mackerel were also caught along with trout between Tarpon Bay and St. James and off Red Light Shoals in the lower Sound in four to six foot depths.

Trout fish was good all week and even better once we left the slow two a day tides and went back on four a days. Fish are getting larger on average and often once the bite starts the action just continues to get better with more fish responding to the feeding activity. We have been catching good numbers of upper slot fish in Charlotte Harbor near Bokeelia and in the northern Sound.

Captain Cliff Simer reports good sea trout fishing in north Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor over grass flats in depths averaging three to seven feet. Big Spanish mackerel and sharks to four feet were also plentiful from the same areas and also on the bay side of the B-span of the Sanibel Causeway in four to six foot depths off the bar drop-offs. All fish were caught on free-lined live shiners.

From the southern end of Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass, Captain Gary Clark with Ultimate Charters found good trout numbers in the Sound from Flamingo Bay south to Chino Island and Matlacha near eight avenue. In the Sound the best bite was near bait schools in four to six feet of water in the early morning then in sand potholes with the rising tide. Many of the fish were in the eighteen inch range, mackerel were also mixed in. In Matlacha Pass, the larger trout were caught on oyster bars during the rising tide along with a couple redfish. Live shiners, white Redfish Magic and top water lures were the baits of choice.

From Bokeelia, Captain Dick May of Easy Rider Charters reports trout fishing continues to be excellent on the grass flats in Pine Island Sound as long as the wind does not stir the water into a sandy brown mess. Limits of keepers were not hard to come by using Gulp under a rattling cork in 4 to 6 feet of water. Captain May advised the redfish action slowed on his boat over the week due to low tides compared to the week before when his trips were catching lots of shorts, slot size fish and three oversized 32 inch reds. All redfish were caught on live shrimp up and under the bushes at the top of the tide. Spanish Mackerel were plentiful and will hit on whitebait free lined or under a cork.

Slow tides and low water made it challenging for redfish and snook early in the week, but we put together some good catches as west winds and afternoon high tides had them on a good feed around oyster bars and island Points in Matlacha Pass and the eastern shore of the Harbor at week’s end. About every area we try for a redfish we catch multiple snook. Also, we are catching a few large jack crevalle, this is great news as I haven’t really seen that many as they were also affected by last year’s cold winter. There just aren’t many fish that battle as hard as big jacks, while they have no food value they are very under rated as a great game fish. I believe about every fish we caught over the week was taken on live shiners for bait.

This week we are on strong new moon tides with a good weather forecast; this should bring out some great fishing. Like I mentioned earlier, April is one of my favorite months for fishing our waters, take advantage of it and get out there!

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

Every year Bonnie Nixon and her son Mark leave the cold of Canada to visit Pine Island for some fishing and sunshine. On the last day of March they caught snook, trout and Redfish while fishing near Bokeelia with Captain Bill Russell. Pictured is a fat twenty-six inch redfish and twenty-three inch trout.



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