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Anglers catching a mixed bag of fish

August 23, 2011
By Capt. BILL RUSSELL - On the Water , Pine Island Eagle

Coming off a full moon, fishermen report catching a mixed bag of fish with no really hot action on any one species, with the exception of the dreaded catfish.

The best thing going right now might be mangrove snapper, they are likely to be caught just about anywhere inshore and on structure offshore. Captain Gary Clark with Ultimate Charters is catching snapper up to fifteen inches in areas from the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River to the Sanibel Causeway. Areas with a good tide movement and submerged structure are key. For baits, small pilchards and thread herrings on a small hook with a split-shot sinker worked best. Drifting the Passes, including Redfish, Captiva and Boca Grande is a good bet to put some mangs in the cooler. Fish over the slowest stages of the tide, generally the last hour before or after slack over the rocky bottom and ledges.

You can also expect to catch snapper while red fishing under the mangroves or looking for trout on the flats or in potholes. We caught a good number of fish to fourteen inches in potholes in the middle of the shallows in Pine Island Sound over the week. Shore bound anglers can expect to find snapper under the Bokeelia and Sanibel Piers and any bridge piling with a good tide flow, also the structure around Blind Pass is a good place to look. Offshore, spear fishermen are reporting structure out to one hundred foot depths loaded with mangrove snapper, with many in the three to five pound range. Where and however you catch your snapper, you will look hard to find a better eating fish, they are the favorite fish of many locals for a reason.

Article Photos

Photo contributed
Ron Myers, visiting from Pittsburg, Pa spent some quality time with his son Steven while staying at the Tarpon Lodge and three days of fishing. Dinner on this night would come from the pictured twenty-four inch trout and twenty inch redfish, perfectly prepared by the Lazy Flamingo Restaurant. They were fishing Pine Island Sound, Charlotte HArbor and Matlacha Pass with captain Bill Russell.

Redfish reports were off a little this week, I believe mainly due to the tides, mid day low water has a way of turning off the appetite in the heat of summer. The best fishing was early in the day on the higher stages of the falling tides. Redfish averaged eighteen to twenty-one inches and were reported on the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor, on the east wall of North Matlacha Pass, potholes near Coon Key in the northern Sound and Ding Darling on Sanibel's bay side.

Seems like the trout are either really big or really small, at least that's how it was on my boat this week. We boated some really nice fish with the largest over twenty-four inches, but also plenty of fish well below the legal size. Most caught were over sand/grass marbled bottom in four to six foot depths. Bluefish, small sharks, ladyfish and mangrove snapper were also caught in these areas. Trout were also reported between the power lines and Tarpon Bay on the Sanibel Side of the Sound.

Many fishermen are reporting an upturn in flounder catches. Tasty flat fish up to twenty-two inches were taken off the beach on Cayo Costa's north side, around submerged rocks on Captiva and around the Sanibel Causeway and Bunche Beach. Small two to three inch live pinfish or pilchards and shrimp tipped white buck tail jigs worked best. Just like with the snapper, look for areas with good tide movement.

As we close out the month of August days are growing shorter and we will gradually begin to see change. Large redfish will begin schooling on the inshore flats, snook are moving from the beaches to the back country, snapper fishing will continue to get better and soon pelagics like mackerel and cobia will begin tracking back south through our area. Yes, it's still hot, but fishing should only get better with not much pressure, however it won't be long until folks from the north also begin their annual migration to Florida.

If you have a fishing story or for charter information, please contact us at 283-7960 or visit: Have a safe week and good fishin'.



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