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On the Water: Anglers are finding big trout around the islands

November 20, 2013
By Capt. Bill Russell , Pine Island Eagle

It was another windy week on the water, mixed in was a small cold front that brought very windy conditions and even a little rain. Despite the wind, fish were still feeding pretty good at times, often better than to be expected.

Heading into late November there are still big trout around the inshore waters and a good amount. I cannot recall in recent years this many fish exceeding 20 inches with many 24 inches or larger this time of year. Several days this past week we had a difficult time hooking fish below 20 inches. Remember each angler is allowed only one fish exceeding 20 inches. With a good amount of bait fish around, most of the larger trout are foraging on small mullet, pinfish and shiners.

Big trout were reported all around the Islands in areas including sand or potholes between the power lines and Blind Pass around northeast Sanibel, potholes near Demere Key, the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor and around oyster bars in south Matlacha Pass. Look for them in the deeper holes and trenches on the low water then moving on the flats and oyster bars with the rising water. The bigger trout are often attracted to structure, much like snook. Shore-bound anglers should find some dandies under the Matlacha Bridge and Sanibel Pier, especially after dark. The Bokeelia Pier is another good place to look during the day.

Article Photos

Visiting from up state New York, 12 year old Ryan  Orzini  had fun wit some big trout while on  vacation. He was fishing near Bokeelia with Capt. Bill Russell.


When the wind settles down there is plenty of action with mackerel, bluefish, trout and big ladyfish over the deeper flats in Charlotte Harbor and the sound. We spent a few hours near Bokeelia one morning this past week with a tolerable wind and the bite was non-stop, and the mackerel we hooked are running big. Despite the windy, rough conditions, the water is becoming extremely clear in areas.

Most anglers found snook and redfish challenging. Snook, with the exception of a few, were running on the small side and most reds easy falling in the 18 to 27-inch slot. Snook are on the move heading to their winter homes and are likely to appear on most shorelines, cuts, holes, oyster bars and hanging around structure such as docks and piers. Scattered reds were caught feeding around oyster bars in the southern sound and Matlacha Pass on the higher water and small schools were sight-fished over the eastern sound on low water behind the islands in sand holes protected from the wind.

We are at that time of year when conditions are going to change considerably over a week's time. So far it's remained relatively warm. We get a cool down about once a week but it's short lived and the temperature is quickly back up into the 80s. If this scenario continues, look for large numbers of baitfish to remain in our waters and the opportunity for plenty of hungry gamefish with the relatively warm water. I hope this scenario continues at least through the remainder of the month, it should offer some good fishing through the upcoming holidays.

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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