As summer inches closer and our waters warm the best inshore fishing over the past week was over the incoming tide
Keeper size trout with most averaging from 15 to 18 inches plus a few larger were caught over the sand holes surrounded by turtle grass. With the slower tides the best bite was near the Gulf Passes in depths averaging 4 to 7 feet.
Water clarity was also important, stay clear of the muddy water, look for water where you can tell the difference between the sand and grass bottom. A good pair of polarized sunglasses is a must if you want to cut the glare and see what's under the surface. Trout and snook were also caught in the surf along the beaches.
Anglers report scattered action on redfish both in Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass. Fish up to 26 inches were caught on dead shrimp fished near the mangroves near Smokehouse Bay in Matlacha Pass; reds from 17 to 23 inches were caught on live shiners and pinfish in Pine Island Sound around Islands near the fish shacks.
Spanish mackerel and bluefish were also on the same areas as trout. Mackerel fishing has been good in Charlotte Harbor, surprisingly even on the days with hardly any tide movement, the macks were still busting up everything. The best bite was mid morning till noon or so. Look for them cruising deeper grass bottom from five to ten foot depths.
Chances at hooking a tarpon was best from first light to late morning with hook-ups reported near Knapp's Point off Sanibel, off the beaches of Captiva and Cayo Costa and in or around Boca Grande Pass. Thread herring, pinfish and crabs worked for live bait and tarpon jigs did the job in the deeper holes of Boca Grande Pass
Blacktip sharks are still around the passes and there are lemon sharks in Pine Island Sound on the flats hanging around mullet schools. We came across one school of a dozen or so lemons in less than 3 feet of water; they were all 4 to 6 feet in length. We managed to catch one about 5 feet on a chunk of ladyfish before the school moved on. Lemon sharks are a lot of fun in shallow water, they are on the protected list so if you catch one make sure not to remove it from the water and release it safely and quickly.
Have a safe week and good fishin'.