Over the past week we enjoyed great weather and pretty darn good fishing. With our weather breaking record highs the fish are responding as they are making an early move into their Spring feeding patterns.
Trout fishing just keeps getting better each week, particularly in Pine Island Sound where plenty of fish over twenty inches were caught all week. Matlacha Pass was not as consistent for the larger trout but they should be rounding the corners from both the north and south end of the Sound and making their way up the Pass anytime. Reports were consistent throughout the Sound with lots of daily trout limits and plenty of large "gators" up to twenty-five inches. The fish are often schooled in similar size, if you are only catching small ones make a move, sometimes a slight move is all that's needed. Although live shrimp are catching plenty, the larger trout are keying on oily baitfish. On the calm mornings look for big fish prowling the shallows (watch those mullet schools) where a properly worked top water plug can be deadly. A swim or crank bait is a great choice in depths from three to eight feet during mid day, and of course if you can catch some live pilchards, thread herring or pinfish you really tip the scale in your favor to land some big trout.
Spanish mackerel continue to get more abundant and larger as the water warms. Inshore mackerel were caught on both sides of the Sanibel Causeway, in the Sound near Red Light shoals and off the east side of Useppa Island and at the far north end from Patricio Island around Bokeelia and into Charlotte Harbor. Most were caught over areas with a mixed grass bottom in five to nine foot depths. Bluefish, trout, big ladyfish, and undersize cobia in the thirty inch class were also taken with the mackerel, and live shrimp or shrimp tipped Silly Willy jigs took pompano from these areas. . Also sharks are making their way back inshore, lemon and blacktips up to five feet were caught and released in the Sound between Captiva Pass and Pine Island in the vicinity of the Captiva Rocks.
The mack are back! Bill Myron of Venice, Fla., with one of many large Spanish mackerel caught along with trout to 23 inches. Bill and friends were fishing the northern Sound near Bokeelia with Capt. Bill Russell.
Captain Gary Clark found decent redfish action over a couple afternoons between St. James and the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River, with fish averaging nineteen to twenty-three inches taking live shrimp along oyster bars on the rising tide. Large trout and several pompano including a hefty five pounder were also boated along the bars. Redfish were reported in the Sound near Flamingo Bay and Buck Key on the west side. Many are running either too small or too big with an occasional mid slot fish mixed in. Live shrimp, cut ladyfish, gold spoons, Gulp shrimp, and top water lures were the top red getters.
Boats are reporting loads of Spanish mackerel off the beaches just a few miles offshore plus a few small king mackerel. Most were caught while anchored over reefs bottom fishing. On the reefs live shrimp and shrimp tipped jigs worked for sheepsheads, porgies, triggerfish, a few snapper, an unusual amount of flounder, and all the Spanish mackerel you want. A few larger kings were also hooked and broke off.
I know a lot of visitors are down from the north this month for Spring break, if you have friends or family visiting and you have access to a boat get them on the water. This is a great month for fishing, the water just seems to come to life, if the fishing is slow or just not your thing just find a pod of bottle nose dolphin and watch them, they are worth the price of admission alone.
Have safe week and good fishin'.