Near St James anglers report consistent trout fishing from Wulfert Keys south to Tarpon Bay. Fish up to twenty-one inches were caught while casting Strike King Glass Minnow baits in a chartreuse color. Ladyfish and Spanish mackerel were also plentiful over the grassflats in three to six foot depths. A little farther north in the Sound trout were found on the flats near Foster’s Point off Captiva Island and between the fish shacks and Rocky Channel. Drifting off the bar edges in four to seven foot depths while casting artifiicials was the best method for locating fish. Mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish and small sharks were also caught.
At the north end trout fishing was good but dropped off a bit near the full moon. Fish up to twenty inches were found on the flats from Burgess Bay west to Mondongo Island and larger trout up to twenty-four inches were caught over oyster bars on the afternoon high water. Look for schooling mullet around oyster bars for the best results. In Matlacha Pass trout were caught between Tropical Point and the power lines near oyster bars and in the northern Pass, the grassflats outside Smokehouse Bay yielded trout to nineteen inches plus mackerel and small sharks.
With the good afternoon high tides last week there were opportunities to target redfish under the mangroves. The results, at least of the reports I heard, were hit and miss. In the Sound reds were caught under trees and over hard bottom along the shorelines west of the channel from Redfish Pass north to Cayo Costa. On the eastern side of the Sound fish were caught at the top of the tide fishing Islands north of Demere Key. Live shiners, pinfish and cut ladyfish took most fish reported. In south Matlacha Pass mid to upper slot fish were caught on live shiners and gold Krocodile Spoons between Matlacha and the power lines on the eastern side.
Snook fishing has been the big surprise this spring; most anglers are reporting good action with snook, especially when targeting redfish. It’s been over a year since the big snook kill from the cold, last spring was simply depressing with not many snook around. This year has been much better, there are a lot of fish around and of all sizes, and they appear to be rebounding well. Please handle and release all snook with care.
The best tarpon fishing was reported by those fishing dead baits that included mullet, ladyfish and catfish tails in Pine Island Sound from areas north of Captiva Pass, west of Demere Key, and south of the power lines on the Sanibel Side. Lemon sharks up to eight feet and blacktip sharks were also caught from these areas.
On my boat we caught or hooked a good variety for the week that included trout, redfish, mackerel, snook, tarpon, sharks and all the other usual characters. Trout fishing was actually off a little from what I would have expected, the bite was decent, but the average size was down from the previous week. There were still plenty of legal fish, but only a few caught over twenty inches. Same thing with mackerel, the numbers were still good, but the average size dropped.
We did catch some good redfish this week with legal fish up to twenty-six inches and one whopper that measured out at thirty-five inches, talk about a fight! Hopefully, the redfish bite will continue to improve. Snook provided smiles over the week as fish up to thirty-three inches were caught and released while targeting reds. We made one late afternoon trip to Charlotte Harbor shark fishing on the falling tide and the action was all most non-stop. We fought fish almost the whole time and headed home just as the sun set after releasing our third shark. All three were blacktips that went from four up to around six feet, man can these guys fight, especially with kids. We also lost one big tarpon on the first jump and broke off two other sharks. All were hooked on fresh ladyfish, the big blacktips are out there, go have some fun with them.
Its spring break and the kids are out of school for the week. With good weather and fishing what better way to spend some quality time than grab the fishing poles and go wet a line. It really doesn’t matter if you’re going after sharks in the Harbor or snapper from the dock, the important thing is to take some time to spend with the kids outdoors and what better way than fishing.
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’.
Whopper of a Redfish: Jim Dougal of Cape Coral completed his insore slam of snook, redfish and trout by catching this oversize 35-inch redfish. It was caught and released on April 21 in Matlacha Pass while fishing with Capt. Bill Russell.