While the days following Thanksgiving were fast-paced and very busy for holiday shoppers, it was quite the opposite on the water. A brisk northerly breeze and cooler temperatures made for some very slow fishing days. The anglers were out there trying, but often fish just weren't willing to bite.
Water temperature is on a steady decline with the cooler nights, and fish are adjusting to the change as they move into their winter patterns. The day following Thanksgiving we experienced one of the slowest bites I can remember. We went close to two hours fishing live shrimp around oyster bars, potholes and shorelines, and never had a bite - not a puffer, pinfish, catfish, nothing. You might not always catch what you want, but it's pretty hard to go that long, especially around the oyster bars where the fish are ganged up, and get nothing. Finally we found some hungry trout. Most were under sized but were still a welcomed site.
Trout fishing reports were better than anything else over the week. Anglers reported decent numbers of fish, but a large percentage were a few inches undersize. Trout were caught while drifting 4 to 7-foot depths in areas, including north of the power lines and Buzzard Bay in Matlacha Pass, between the fish shacks and Captiva Rocks in Pine Island Sound, and the flats outside Tarpon Bay on Sanibel. Live shrimp under a popping cork or slow bouncing 1/2-ounce shad tails in white or pumpkin color worked best. Most of the trout were small, but mixed with ladyfish, small jack crevalle and an occasional pompano at least kept the rods bent and kids smiling.
Twelve-year-old John Womack overcame a slow, cold day of fishing to bag a couple nice redfish. John and his father, visiting Captiva from north Florida, were fishing Pine Island Sound with Capt. Bill Russell.
A few redfish reports came in from Pine Island Sound with the best bite in the afternoon at the tail end of the falling tide. Fish averaging 18 to 23 inches were caught from potholes and deeper shorelines near Fosters Point on Captiva and the keys and islands between Pineland and Demere Key. Live shrimp, pinfish, and scented soft plastics in a new penny color were the top baits.
It's nothing out of the ordinary as we change seasons to have several slow days of fishing. Just about when you begin to believe there are no fish around, BAM the bite is back on and everyone smiling. Let's hope that's the report for next week!
Have a safe week and good fishin'.