Put another week of absolute beautiful weather in the books. Perfect weather, a full moon and strong tides gave anglers plenty of opportunities for good fishing inshore and offshore.
Good afternoon high tides produced redfish along shorelines throughout Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass. Most fish ranged in size from 20 to 26 inches and were caught on a variety of baits, including gold spoons, soft plastics, ladyfish steaks and pinfish, either live or cut in half. Over the morning low water, anglers targeted reds tailing and pushing wake over shallow flats along the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor, near Burnt Store Marina, Indian Fields of Matlacha Pass and the Buck Key Flats in the sound, near Captiva. Fly, top-water lures and a host of weedless soft baits got the attention of reds and a few gator trout up to 25 inches.
Each week the trout report is getting better, there are a good number of undersized fish around, but plenty of larger fish also. In Pine Island Sound, a good trout bite was noted over the grass flats off Wulfert Keys, on the flats north of Chino Island, north in the sound over 3 to 6-foot grass flats between Captiva Rocks and the Fish Shacks. In Matlacha Pass, fish were caught off the channel edges south of marker 74, and in the harbor, 4 to 8-foot depths north of Patricio Island. Baits included live shiners, shrimp, pinfish, Luv Lures and Gulp baits under popping/rattling corks, and MirrOlure mirrOdines.
For his birthday, Dennis Willebrandt landed this nice redfish to complete an inshore slam consisting of snook, trout and redfish. He was fishing Charlotte Harbor and Matlacha Pass with Capt. Bill Russell
Spanish mackerel are showing up throughout the inshore waters and were caught from land and boat. Schooling macks were caught in the harbor north of Bokeelia and across the harbor, near Dangerous Reef outside Bull Bay. In Pine Island Sound, look for them on the flats inside Redfish and Captiva passes and west of Chino Island. Large ladyfish, bluefish and jack crevalle were also caught from most of these areas. From shore, mackerel were hooked from the Matlacha Bridge, the Sanibel and Bokeelia piers and the Restroom Island along the Sanibel Causeway. One to 3-inch silver spoons, and the same baits previously mentioned for trout were the top baits for mackerel.
Snook reports were hard to come by, at least for fish of any size; of course, anglers have always kept a tight lip on snook fishing success. A few reports came from north Pine Island Sound where fish were targeted in potholes on the incoming tide with live pinfish and shiners, at least a couple fish over 28 inches were noted. Finally, the barges, cranes and construction equipment have left the newly constructed Matlacha Drawbridge. The Matlacha Bridge has a history of being a snook hot bed and now it's obstruction free and should give anglers some great opportunities.
Offshore, red and gag grouper were targeted in depths from 65 to 90 feet southwest of Sanibel Lighthouse and west of Boca Grande Pass. Fishing over ledges took fish to 31 inches; baits included live pinfish, squid/jig combinations, mullet strips and mullet heads. Further offshore, between 50 and 60 miles, American red snapper were caught on live pinfish along with a few gags over 30 inches.
A combination of a full moon and calm seas were the perfect recipe for snapper fishing after dark. Easy limits of mangrove snapper from 14 to 18 inches were taken over reefs in depths from 40 to 50 feet after the sunset. The key was a good chum line and fresh bait, including live shrimp, pilchards and thread herring.
Fish continue their transition as we slowly move towards the cooler months. It's a time you may catch about anything anywhere, with no rhyme or reason. Be prepared and have fun, but most of all enjoy the beautiful weather!
Have safe week and good fishin'.