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Tropical Storm Debby disrupts local fishing

June 27, 2012
By Capt. BILL RUSSELL , Pine Island Eagle

While Tropical Storm Debby churned in the Gulf of Mexico, we were left with less than desirable fishing conditions for much of the week. By the weekend a steady dose of heavy rain and winds kept boats at the dock and anglers under cover.

Before the all day rains set in there were a few reports from around the island. While fishing around oyster bars and hard bottom creek mouths at the southern end of Matlacha Pass, anglers reported mixed catches of redfish, trout, snook and snapper. Most of the redfish were under-sized, about one in four trout were of legal size, and some of the snapper went up to 13 inches. Live shrimp, shrimp tipped white jigs and live thread herrings were the preferred baits, while fishing the clearer skies of the morning incoming tide.

Avoiding the hassle of dealing with a boat in storm conditions, a few anglers took to the beach afoot and found snook cooperative. Small males averaging 22 to 25 inches were plentiful on Sanibel at Bowman's Beach and at Blind Pass, and also near the lighthouse at Boca Grande Pass. A variety of baits worked well including free-lined shrimp or shrimp with a 1/4 ounce slide sinker where the current was strong, bucktail jigs and small silver spoons also worked on the snook, plus a few jack crevalle and trout.

Article Photos

Photo provided

Before heading back to Ohio for the summer St. James resident Dan Lavy treated his boys Andy & Matt to a day of fishing. Despite Debby churning up the weather, the trio caught a variety of fish including these three redfish that were invited home for dinner. They were fishing Charlotte Harbor near Bokeelia with Capt, Bill Russell.

Along the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor and Buzzard Bay in Matlacha Pass, redfish up to 23 inches were taken along with snook, snapper and flounder. Most of the fish were caught at either island points or oyster bars on the rising tide. The flounder aren't as large on average as a month or so ago but most are legal size and most of the snapper are running well over minimum size. Live pilchards, shrimp, small pinfish and Berkley Gulp shrimp were the baits of choice.

A few good things happened with Tropical Storm Debby, we had several days of much needed soaking rain, with all the precipitation, plus the lack of sun, our water temperature has dropped considerably. As we get into the summer months with hot temperatures, anytime the water cools it not only helps to reduce the danger of further storms, but it can really get the fish active and on a good bite.

If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact us 239-283-7960 on the Web at or email:

Have a safe week and good fishin'.



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