The past week started out with record setting rain accompanied by wind and was followed up with our first cool weather of the season. Despite a rough week for fishing, as the weekend rolled around the skies were bright and sunny with a mild cool breeze with fishing conditions improving.
After being forced off the water for several days due to the conditions many anglers found fish on the move from where they were the previous week. This is often the case after several days of heavy rain, plus throw in the cool front and it can take several days for fish to get back on track and on a pattern.
In Charlotte Harbor and in Pine Island Sound near Cabbage Key, Spanish mackerel were caught over open water with grass bottom in five to eight foot depths. Shrimp fished under popping corks and silver Clark Spoons took mackerel to three pounds. A few trout to twenty inches, bluefish, and plenty of ladyfish were mixed in. Spanish mackerel were also reported from the Sanibel Pier and outside the rock jetty at Blind Pass on Captiva.
While working a shoreline for redfish on the falling tide, David Riser was rewarded with the thrill of hooking and boating a beautiful 38 inch snook. The snook was caught and released in Charlotte Harbor near Matlacha Pass while fishing with Captain Bill Russell.
Flounder, sheepsheads, and pompano were caught by shore bound anglers at the Sanibel Pier and Blind Pass on live shrimp and small shrimp tipped jigs. A few oversize redfish were also caught and released from the pier
Not much longer left to invite a trout home for dinner this year, season closes on Nov. 1 and will close for two months, reopening on the first of the year. The last week of season should be good, as the water cools fish are much more aggressive and widespread. It's a great time to hit the water early at first light and work a top water lure for some big trout. They love to get up in the shallow water and stalk their prey in the early morning. Look for them around mullet schools, oyster bars, shorelines, or any slight depression on the shallow flats.
There should be plenty of trout to catch throughout the day, many will be undersize but with a little effort it shouldn't be too difficult to bag a few for the table. For baits we have lots of choices, live shrimp, small pinfish or Gulp shrimp under popping or rattling corks and free lined pilchards are hard to beat. While live bait is a great choice, artificials might be the best. You can cover more water and work with the retrieve, color and size until you locate the fish and get dialed in. Go with a variety and change things up until you find what works best, soft shad or shrimp tails fished on 1/4 ounce jig heads come in a wide variety and trout love them. Look for trout concentrations in areas with a marbled (sand/grass) bottom, they may be found in depths from three to ten feet. Watch for activity on the water like birds, fleeing bait, surface feeding and dolphins for a place to start. A good strong tide flow also helps. Be patient and cover some ground and you will find some nice trout to close out the season.
With a good weather forecast we should have a better week of fishing and with some luck, some good catches to report next week.