It's often hard to talk fishing without also including the weather. This week was no exception; following the recent super moon we encountered really strong tides and calm seas that gave us some great fishing. Then, from the end of the week heading into the weekend, a combination of poor tides and a strong easterly breeze left.
Offshore, seas were relatively calm early in the week, but just about unfishable by week's end. All offshore reports came from early before the winds. West of Redfish Pass and west-southwest of Sanibel, red grouper were caught in from 70 to 90-foot depths. Reds up to 31 inches were taken on live pinfish, grunts, blue runners and Hogy lures. Bottom fishing 12 to 15 miles west of Captiva also yielded good catches of porgy's, lane and mangrove snapper. Anchoring up current of bottom structure, deploying a chum bag and fishing live shrimp, pilchards or cut sardines on light tackle put the most fish in the box. Schools of Spanish mackerel and a few kings to 10 pounds were encountered eight to 10 miles west of the Boca Grande Pass bell buoys.
Also offshore, or I should say off the beaches, tarpon are showing in good numbers. Capt. Gary Clark and Capt. Cliff Simer report good concentrations of fish off Knapp's Point on Sanibel in 20-foot depths. Live thread herring was the bait of choice with the bite very sporadic throughout the day. Farther north, Capt. Ken Honc reports tarpon schooling and daisy chaining a short distance off the beach at Cayo Costa on the calmer mornings. Large amounts of tarpon have made their way into Boca Grande Pass, plus Redfish and Captiva Passes. St. James anglers report a few tarpon hook-ups plus sharks while dead bait fishing in 18 to 20-foot depths south of the power lines in the lower Sound.
Snook have been a common by catch for many anglers targeting redfish or other species from the beaches into the back country. Linesides up to 38 inches were caught and released near the passes and anglers often encountered steady catch and release action early in the week on the strong tides. The bite dropped off dramatically heading into the weekend.
Again, early in the week with good tides and favorable winds, redfish and trout were biting but became a challenge as conditions changed. A few redfish were reported in Pine Island Sound near Buck and Demere Keys on the higher stages of the tide under the mangroves. Redfish from 17 to 30 inches were caught over the week in Matlacha Pass and along the eastern and western walls of Charlotte Harbor. The reds were taken over oyster bars, hard bottom along island shorelines, and under the mangroves.
The challenge with catching trout was locating areas with clear or semi-clear water. The recent winds have really turned up the bottom and left us with muddy water. Steady action with trout with about one out of every six to eight in the keeper range were caught near Redfish, Captiva, and Boca Grande Passes over grass bottom in 4 to 8-foot depths. Trout up to 22 inches were also reported off the Sanibel Beach near Bowman's. Following the full moon we were catching some big trout in Matlacha Pass and the eastern side of the Harbor including one 27-inch whopper.
All the reports of good fishing came from early last week. For myself and others I spoke with it was a challenge establishing a bite going into the weekend. Winds, tide, & weather really do play a major role in our fishing, if you had a tough time this past weekend, you weren't alone.
Have a safe week and good fishin'.