Offshore reports showed mangrove snapper and some big ones five pounds or better over structure from seventy to ninety foot depth. Fish were caught both day and night, but the best bet was anchoring up with a chum line after sunset. Yellowtail snapper and red grouper were also caught on the same bottom. One boat reported a school of small (peanut) dolphin in about ninety feet of water, with about one in five fish of legal size.
Shore bound anglers have found success with a mix of fish from the beach and piers around the Islands. Off the beach at Sanibel rocks wade fishermen hooked up with sea trout to eighteen inches, Spanish mackerel to twenty-two inches and snook of all sizes. A little farther north fishermen scored with mangrove snapper, redfish and snook at Blind Pass. While snook are out of season and the redfish were running a tad below the eighteen inch minimum the snapper were of good size for those looking for a tasty dinner.
Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper were the main catches from the Sanibel and Bokeelia Piers. Live shrimp and small pilchards worked best, but small white jigs and silver spoons also caught fish.
Early in the week with good high tides, on my boat we found redfish and snook on oyster bars in Charlotte Harbor at the top of the tide. Fishing with live shiners the bite was steady over several days, not great, but steady. The good news was the majority of our reds were in the slot, only one or two out of a dozen or so was under eighteen inches. Also we caught some really nice, fat mangrove snappers up to fourteen inches on the oyster bars. A 1/0 circle hook (Owner) is the perfect size for snapper, look for inshore snapper fishing to get better each day.
For a fun time especially with youngsters, look for action with a variety of fish on the deeper grass flats feeding on large schools of tiny baitfish. With the calm summer mornings look for the bait raining on the surface or birds, they are pretty easy to find. Spanish mackerel, trout, bluefish and ladyfish are the most common catches. While the mackerel are running good size, many of the trout are below keeper size, but some nice ones are mixed in. There are a lot of small blacktip sharks from north Matlacha Pass to Bokeelia and in the northern Sound on the grass flats in three to six foot depths. Most of the sharks are running two to three feet. To catch the sharks it’s hard to beat a pinfish under a popping cork, give it a couple pops and hold on. This is great family fishing, especially for the little ones, watch those teeth, they might be small but they are razor sharp!
There are still some big tarpon around; we hooked a couple this week in the eighty to hundred pound range while fishing live shiners around the bait schools mentioned above. Each hook-up was on light tackle, I think the best we got from one fish was six impressive jumps before the fifteen pound line parted. Get around the bait schools and feeding activity and there is no telling what you might hook. The best bite is from early morning till about noon before the hottest part of day. With the mid day low tides the bite completely shut down for most anglers during the heat of the day.
July is closing fast; let’s get those kids on the water before school starts!
If you have a fishing story or for charter information, please contact us at 283-7960 or visit: www.fishpineisland.com. Have a safe week and good fishin’.
John Koslosky and his three sons left the heat wave up north and came from Denver Colorado to visit the cool weather around Pine Island last week and get in some fishing. Over two days they boated snook, trout, sharks, mackerel, snapper and redfish. Pictured is John with a twenty-one inch red that went home for dinner. They were fishing in Charlotte Harbor with Captain Bill Russell and Captain Gary Clark.