As we move into summer and our waters warm, the best inshore fishing over the past week was over the incoming tide
Keeper size trout with most averaging from 15 to 18 inches, plus a few larger ones were caught over sand holes surrounded by turtle grass. Some of the best reports were in areas near the Gulf passes in depths averaging 4 to 7 feet. Water clarity was also important, stay clear of the muddy water, look for water where you can tell the difference between the sand and grass bottom.
A good pair of polarized sunglasses is a must if you want to cut the glare and see what's under the surface. Trout and snook were also caught in the surf along the beaches from Boca Grande south to Sanibel.
Look for redfish under the mangroves on the higher tides. Pictured is Jacob Russell with a Matlacha Pass red that took a live pinfish. Jake was fishing with his dad, Capt. Bill Russell.
Anglers report scattered action on redfish both in Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass. Fish up to 26 inches were caught on dead shrimp fished near or under the mangroves near Smokehouse Bay in Matlacha Pass; reds from 17 to 24 inches were taken on live shiners and pinfish in Pine Island Sound around islands near the fish shacks.
Spanish mackerel and bluefish were also on the same areas as trout. Mackerel fishing has been good in Charlotte Harbor, look for the best action during the strongest tides. Surprisingly, even at times with little tide movement the macks were still busting up everything. Look for them cruising deeper grass bottom from 5 to 10-foot depths.
Chances at hooking a tarpon was best from first light to late morning with hook-ups reported near Knapp's Point off Sanibel, off the beaches of Captiva and Cayo Costa and in or around Boca Grande Pass. Thread herring, pinfish, squirrelfish, and crabs were the favored baits.
Blacktip sharks are around the Passes and chasing mackerel schools in Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound. Look for lemon and bull sharks in Pine Island Sound on the flats hanging around mullet schools.
Offshore the main target is American red snapper, with a very short season anglers won't have long to target them. ARS up to 20 pounds were found in depths from 110 to 150 feet west of Boca Grande and Captiva Passes. Both live and cut bait worked for the snapper, plus red grouper up to14 pounds.
Remember to take plenty of water and drink often to keep hydrated in the heat. If you have young ones on board make sure they drink often, the smaller they are the quicker they can become dehydrated.
Have a safe week and good fishin'.