Many anglers found it difficult to catch fish of any size or quantity with consistency much of the week. Cooler weather that dropped water temperature, coming off a full moon, days of strong winds and the possibility of red tide in areas of Pine Island Sound were the most likely causes.
Just ahead of the cool down, the snook bite was real good according to island resident Gerard Cicoria. Snook up to 32 inches were hooked on plastic shad tails cast along shorelines in north Matla-cha Pass. The best bite was as the front approached as the north wind increased.
Capt. Terry Fisher reported a 36-inch snook caught and released just after sunset in southeast Matlacha Pass.
The lady can fish! Pictured is 86-year-young Irene Pope of Sanibel Island holding one of many big sheepshead she boated last week. She caught the sheepshead plus a couple redfish on live shrimp near Pine Island with Capt. Bill Russell.
Super low morning tides and water that stayed low pretty much all day limited many areas for redfish anglers. Those that fished the skinny water from kayaks or wade fishing reported less than normal activity. The few reds that were hooked went for either live or dead shrimp properly placed ahead of waking or tailing fish. Pine Island Sound, north of Demere Key, and south Matlacha Pass, east of marker 49, were a couple areas were redfish and a few nice trout were located.
The best trout reports came from mid-Pine Island Sound on the eastern side. Keeper size trout up to 20 inches were caught in troughs and sand holes over the morning incoming tide. Live shrimp under rattling or popping corks, and Riptide paddle tails in a variety of colors were the favored baits.
With the cooler weather, sheepshead were probably the best bet last week. Sheepshead up to 4 pounds were caught near snags along the beaches, docks inside the passes, and around oyster bars throughout the area. Live shrimp were the best bait. A few redfish, black drum, flounder, and pompano were also caught from these areas. Sheepshead were also reported by shore-bound anglers from the Sanibel Fishing Pier and the Blind Pass rocks.
With several slow days of fishing, everyone begins to look for answers as to why they're not catching fish. One thing I have learned, if (and that's a big if) you can find a couple other anglers that you can really trust to tell the truth on what they catch, and compare notes, when you are struggling they generally are to. As the saying goes, if they were biting all the time we would go catching, not fishing.
Have a safe week and good fishin'.