Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

On the Water: Seasons are changing ... big fish are on the way

February 19, 2014
By Capt. Bill Russell , Pine Island Eagle

Just about the time water temperatures reached the 70 degree mark, a late week cold front came through and temporarily stalled the warming trend. However, there were reports of big fish moving into our waters, including tarpon, sharks, cobia and amberjack ahead of the cool down.

Sharks, including blacktip, bull and sand sharks, were hooked or sighted in increasing numbers. Large sand sharks were caught and released near Captiva Pass, blacktips in Charlotte Harbor between Bokeelia and Boca Grande and bull sharks roaming the shallow flats. According to reports, sharks ranged from 4 to 8 feet in length. Sharks of all sizes were also reported from offshore reefs.

A few tarpon sightings also appeared over the week, Capt. Cliff Simer sighted a tarpon just west of Bokeelia, I spotted a couple near the fish shacks in the sound and several were reported in Captiva Pass. Also, I spoke with a gentleman while in Lehr's Economy Tackle and he stated his son was offshore several miles and came across a big school of a thousand or more tarpon.

Article Photos

Romie Hughart of Matlacha landed this big 27-inch redfish in northern Matlacha Pass while casting artificial lures around the shorelines over the incoming tide. 


A couple cobia were also cruising around fishing boats in Charlotte Harbor. Capt. Cliff Simer had one 4 feet or longer curiously investigating his baits, but could not be enticed to eat.

Offshore, Capt. Shawn McQuade's party hooked and landed a big amberjack and sighted others in less than 50 feet of water. They also boated red grouper to 25 inches, plus snapper, grunts, porgies and sheepshead.

Again this week, Spanish mackerel was the best thing going. From boat and shore mackerel were hooked throughout the area, including inshore, the passes and a short distance offshore.

Good fishing for trout, mackerel, bluefish, and a few pompano, were also reported between the channel and Buck Key in the lower sound and outside of Wulfert Keys. Further north, keeper size trout were scattered across grass bottom and sand holes from Big Jim Creek south to Rat and Cat keys. Catches of keeper size trout were very sparse throughout Matlacha Pass, with the best reports coming from the northern end over the incoming tide.

Big fish moving into our waters is a sure sign that seasons are changing and fishing is about to get good. As cold as its been to our north I have to believe the water temperature in the northern gulf is still pretty cool. That could be a good thing for us; instead of many of the fish moving through our waters as they migrate north, they might just settle in and stay a while.

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

Have a safe week and good fishin'.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web