Over the past week, anglers found good fishing both inshore and offshore.
Inshore, good catch-and-release snook fishing was reported along oyster bars and spoil islands near the mouth of the Caloosahat-chee River, in lower Pine Island Sound and across Charlotte Harbor in Bull Bay. Fish up to 35 inches were hooked on gold spoons, top water Zara Spooks, Berkley Gulp Shad, and live baits including pilchards, thread herring, and pinfish. The best bite was the late stages of the incoming or the evening falling tides.
Large trout, with several measuring over 27 inches, were found throughout Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass. Most of the large fish were taken from sand or potholes along mangrove shorelines or near oyster bars over the incoming tide. Slot size trout from 15-20 inches were schooling over mottled bottom with a grass/sand mix in 5 to 8-foot depths in the northern sound and Charlotte Harbor near Bokeelia, between Captiva Rocks and Demere Key in the mid-sound and Red Light shoals further south. A variety of baits included a wide range of soft plastics, plus live shrimp, pinfish and pilchards fished under rattle or popping corks.
Last Saturday the forecast called for rain but it turned out to be bright and sunny. Terry Jones and Warren Haug of Gulf Harbour in Fort Myers spent the morning catching a mess of trout and flounder. They were fishing northern Pine Island Sound with Capt. Bill Russell.
Redfish ranging in size from 20 to 28 inches were hooked along the eastern side of the sound at the north end and along the west wall below Redfish Pass. Look for the fish in deeper holes and troughs off the islands on the lower water then moving up under the bushes with the rising tide. Gold Spoons, Gulp Shrimp, live and cut pinfish, and live shrimp were the favored baits.
Also inshore, Spanish mackerel and bluefish were caught over grass flats throughout area and we are beginning to hear reports of tarpon and shark sightings in the sound and harbor.
Offshore, most anglers are targeting red grouper with good results. Keeper sized reds were caught in depths from 70 to 150 feet from southwest of Knapp's Point on Sanibel to west of Boca Grande Pass. The deeper the water, the larger the fish. Most were caught while setting a drift over hard or coral bottom with live baits or jigs tipped with squid or Spanish sardines. Snapper, porgies and grunts were also caught over the hard bottom, and in the deeper water a few nice scamps were boated plus catch-and-release American red snapper.
A few king mackerel were caught while grouper diggers deployed a flat line with live bait in the 70 to 90 foot range and Spanish mackerel schools were found less the 2 miles from the beaches.
We finally completed a week where the water temperature stayed above 70 degrees the whole time and what a difference it makes. Along with the temperature, fishing reports were on the rise each day and this should continue into the month. It's a great time to get out there and take advantage of the great weather and good fishin'.
Have a safe week and good fishin'.