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On the Water: With the fish biting or not, all is good

October 16, 2013
By Capt. Bill Russell , Pine Island Eagle

Even if the fish weren't biting for you, if you were on the water you sure couldn't complain with a week of beautiful weather. A few days were a little bumpy for offshore fishing, but the inshore anglers sure had nothing to complain about.

Spotted sea trout were located in decent numbers throughout Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Har-bor, over grass flats and sand potholes or depressions. Fish up to 21 inches were taken on a variety of live baits and lures in the southern sound from the power lines to Blind Pass, between the fish shacks and Captiva Rocks further up the sound, southwest of Cabbage Key and north in Charlotte Harbor outside Turtle and Bull bays. Anglers fishing shrimp or baits that imitated shrimp also reported hooking into pompano from these areas.

Spanish mackerel were wide spread, with fish coming along the beach near the rocks at Blind Pass, from the Sanibel and Bokeelia piers, in Captiva and Boca Grande Passes, a few miles off the beaches and over patchy grass bottom in Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor in 4 to 8-foot depths. Ladyfish, bluefish, jack crevalle and a few small sharks were also mixed with the mackerel. Watch for fish feeding activity on the water's surface and active birds to help locate the action.

Article Photos

Twin brothers Jim and Tom Portz, along with wives Kathleen and Lisa were hoping for snook but settled with redfish. They were fishing Charlotte Harbor with Capt. Bill Russell.


There is still a good number of mangrove snapper inshore with fish up to 14 inches caught throughout the area. Some were targeted, some were caught while fishing for reds, trout and snook. Snapper were caught in Pelican Bay on the east side of Cayo Costa, around dock pilings throughout Pine Island Sound, the old Phosphate Dock inside Boca Grande Pass, and from potholes, under mangroves and around oyster bars. Small baits and small hooks give you the best chance to land a bucket full of these tasty fish.

Very low mid-day tides gave redfish anglers opportunities to sight fish the shallows or look for schooling fish. Reds up to 30 inches were caught from schools on the western side of the sound north of Redfish Pass and on the eastern side north of Regla Island. The best time was over the incoming tide. Tailing reds were sight fished in south Matlacha Pass near McCardle Island, south of Pineland and south of Demere Key in the sound.

Most snook reports were of undersized fish taking live pilchards or pinfish along shorelines and potholes in the sound and the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor. The highest period of the tide (incoming or outgoing) was best, and there were a few fish up to 29 inches reported, plus an increasing number of jack crevalle.

While the weather was great for inshore fishing, it was difficult for offshore boats to safely get out far enough to take advantage of American Red Snapper season before it comes to a close.

Closer to shore from 55 to 90 feet, gag and red grouper were caught while drifting various structures, including ledges, hard coral bottom and man-made reefs.

Stone crab traps are going back in the water, so keeps your eyes open not to run over any lines and be on the lookout for tripletail.

With the weather becoming so nice, as the summer heat is behind us, it is so easy and enjoyable to spend a day on the water, catching fish or not. If you are lucky enough to bag a few nice fish, that's just icing on the cake.

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

Have a safe week and good fishin'.



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