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Finally, cooler fall weather arrives in Southwest Florida

October 24, 2012
By Capt. BILL RUSSELL - On the Water , Pine Island Eagle

For the first time in nearly six months anglers were greeted with cooler temperatures. Cool days and low humidity made for great fishing, even if the fish weren't always biting.

Inshore, fishing reports included fish biting everything, so-so fishing, and a few, where despite locating plenty of fish, having a difficult time getting them to eat.

Redfish and trout were caught together in 3 to 5 feet of water in southern Pine Island Sound, north of Chino Island. Both species were working over large schools of small baitfish over open grassflats over the incoming tide. A steady retrieve with gold colored Johnson Sprite spoons boated redfish to 24 inches, trout to 17 inches, and plenty of ladyfish, jacks, and a few mackerel.

Article Photos

Photos submitted

Big reds

Kurt Krohne and Ray Kostele with a pair of 24-inch redfish. Both were caught on consecutive casts while fishing near Bokeelia with Capt. Bill Russell.

Also in the Sound, further to the north, redfish were reported along the shorelines outside Burgess Bay and Black Island. Many of the reds were caught while fishing around mullet schools; cut mullet, ladyfish, and live pinfish with the tail clipped off took fish to 28 inches. In Matlacha Pass redfish up to 27 inches were caught on top water lures and live shrimp both north and south of the bridge over the morning falling tide. Also, big jack crevalles were sighted just about every morning busting up mullet schools just outside the channel north of the bridge. We played with these brutes a couple mornings, they are big and strong, some easily pushing 15 pounds. Keep an eye open for lots of commotion on the water and a rig ready if you want to tussle with one of the hardest fighting fishing fish that swims our waters.

In the same area north of the Matlacha Bridge trout were caught from marker 66 to 72 on either side of the channel over grassy bottom. Many are undersize, but larger fish were caught along with mackerel, ladyfish, and a few pompano.

Along the Gulf Beaches near Blind Pass, that separates Sanibel from Captiva, and Redfish Pass, a mix of snook, trout, pompano, mackerel, & bluefish were caught on live shrimp, shrimp tipped white jigs, and small silver spoons.

Offshore, with grouper season winding down fish were reported in depths from 35 to 90 ft. Gags to 28 inches were caught while trolling depths from 35 to 55 feet west of Cayo Costa, and both gags and reds were caught over structure in 60 to 90 foot depths. With the water temperatures dropping cobia are moving south with several hook-ups reported, including one fish that was in excess of 70 pounds. Trolling or bottom fishing, a big cobia may show up at any time, be ready!

Finally, it feels like Fall, great weather, and just a great time to be on the water. Plus, you can spend all day on the boat and escape all the political campaign nonsense that is unavoidable on land.

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

Have a safe week and good fishin'.



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