Not too far off the beaches, within nine miles of shore, anglers have reported catching gag grouper up to thirty inches plus kingfish while trolling deep diving lures over ledges and reefs. Also over reefs, permit up to eighteen pounds were caught on live crabs and cobia were also reported.
Tarpon are beginning to make their presence off the beaches and lower Pine Island Sound according to Captain Gary Clark. Small pods of fish were sighted in the mornings north of Chino Island in the Sound and numbers are increasing daily off Sanibel Beach near Knapp’s Point. On the mornings with a brisk breeze locating fish off the beach was difficult on the calm mornings tarpon could be sighted rolling and free jumping. Captain Clark also reports snook are beginning their summer migration to the beaches with fish showing up at both Sanibel and Captiva in the surf.
Captain Cliff Simer reports good numbers of sea trout plus Spanish mackerel, flounder, cobia and snook in the waters of Charlotte Harbor. The trout bite was good on the morning incoming tides over deep grass flats near Bokeelia, with plenty of fish in the sixteen to eighteen inch class and a few each day up to twenty-two inches. Cobia up to twenty-nine inches was also caught from the same area as were Spanish mackerel and a few bluefish. Snook up to thirty-one inches were found in creeks both on the morning incoming water and late in the afternoon on the falling tide. The snook bite wasn’t red hot, but patience was often rewarded with some good fish caught and released. Flounder up to sixteen inches and a few eating size mangrove snapper were also caught from the creeks.
On my boat, trout fishing was real good, snook fishing was good, but not great, the mackerel bite was slower than the previous week and catching redfish of any size was our biggest challenge. With the upcoming full moon trout appear to be bunching up together in good numbers and most are slot fish with many larger. We boated trout all week averaging sixteen to eighteen inches, with larger fish up to twenty-four caught almost daily. Working the deeper grass flats adjacent to open water sand bars has worked best; often once the bite starts it just continues to get better. Incoming tide was best, but we also did well on trout on the afternoon falling tide working potholes off the eastern side of Charlotte Harbor. These same areas, even the potholes also produced mackerel, small jack crevalle, bluefish, lots of small sharks and one tarpon hook-up. We weren’t tarpon fishing but rather catching trout when an estimated one hundred pound tarpon exploded on the bait not twenty feet from the boat. The fish exploded from the water with a giant leap and as the line parted my angler visiting from Illinois said with excitement, “what the heck was that!’.
Most of our snook we caught fishing the light colored sand bottom off mangrove shorelines in Matlacha Pass. Searching for redfish we often found several snook from each area and a few large trout. While we did not have much success with redfish of any size this week, we did catch and release a number of nice snook up to thirty inches. All our fish were caught while live baiting with shiners.
This should be a great week for fishing; with the full moon we will see our highest afternoon tides of the year and strong water movement. Yes it’s true that many gamefish feed heavily under the light of the big moon, but you can be assured that plenty will also be eating during the day, especially in the afternoons, do yourself a favor and get out there.
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’.
After a delay to de ice his plane before departing Boston last week Mike Ohmstede was all smiles while fishing under sunny skies around Pine island. This 25- inch redfish completed an inshore slam of snook, redfish and trout, all caught in Matlacha Pass fishing with Capt. Bill Russell.