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The best fishing is head of a front

December 19, 2012
By Capt. BILL RUSSELL - On the Water , Pine Island Eagle

Finally after a couple weeks of warm weather, a cool front dropped down and changed things up. Fishing ahead of the front, before the cool north winds took over, provided the best fishing of the week.

Southerly winds and strong incoming water ahead of the front was the ticket for good fishing reports on trout, redfish and snook in Pine Island Sound. All three species were caught around "Ding" Darling on Sanibel on artificial baits worked under mangrove shorelines on the higher water. Snook and redfish were also reported near Fosters Point on Captiva, caught on live shrimp and pinfish.

On the eastern side of Pine Island Sound, scattered redfish were caught around schooling mullet in 2 to 4-foot depths. Fish up to 26 inches were taken on live shrimp suspended under rattling corks. Several large trout to 24 inches and flounder were also caught from sand potholes along the eastern side near Demere Key.

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Trout reports were mixed, but the best fishing was ahead of the cool down. Fish averaging 14 to 16 inches were caught over 3 to 6-foot deep grass flats around Useppa Island and near Rocky Channel. Further south, similar size trout were boated between Chino and Galt islands, and off the grass flats near Tarpon Bay. A few pompano, bluefish and mackerel were also caught from these areas.

The cooler weather should help sheepshead fishing. The largest fish were taken around structure near the gulf that included the Sanibel Fish-ing Pier and outer island docks from the old phosphate dock at Boca Grande, south to Redfish Pass. Shrimp was the favored bait, just bring plenty, with the warm water there is still plenty of bait stealers around.

Much of the week conditions just weren't ideal for offshore fishing trips. However, there were a few light wind days allowing boats to make the run with decent results. Mangrove and yellowtail snapper were caught from 80 to 100-foot depths while anchoring up current of wrecks and chumming up the fish. Live shrimp and pilchards free-lined into the chum with a light fluorocarbon leader and small circle hook was the best bait/tackle option.

Amberjacks, with a few big ones, were hooked over wrecks also. Live bait was the best choice to hook into these extremely hard fighters. The Fantastico, in about 110 feet of water, was one shipwreck that, according to reports, is holding plenty of amberjacks, plus barracuda. Closer to shore in 60 to 75-foot depths southwest of Sanibel, red grouper up to 25 inches were taken along with a variety of grunts and porgies.

Almost all the fishing reports were ahead of the latest cool front and that's normal. The bite can be really good as changing weather approaches then turn soar for a few days when the front settles in.

Monitor the weather and try to plan your fishing trip just before the front arrives, the fish are often on a hard feed and you might get rewarded with some outstanding fishing.

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

Have a safe week and good fishin'.



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