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On the Water: Fishing is good despite the weather

April 23, 2014
By Capt. Bill Russell , Pine Island Eagle

Just like clockwork the winds blew and another cool front dropped through. Week after week for too long, it's been the same story - just as we get a couple days of nice weather, a late season front hits us with wind and unsettled days. But this is a fishing column not a weather report, so despite another week of inconsistent weather, the fishing reports weren't too bad.

Tarpon were sighted and hooked off the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva on the days the winds weren't too strong. Captains Mark Westra and Keven Holley report days with multiple hook-ups on live thread herring in 17 to 22 feet of water. Tarpon hook-ups were also reported from Pine Island Sound near Captiva Rocks and Chino Island, where bottom fishing with cut mullet and ladyfish worked best.

Anglers soaking baits for tarpon are hooking into sharks from 4 to 7 feet in length, including blacktip, sand and lemons. A lot of sharks have moved into our waters. You can expect to hook into one just about anywhere.

Article Photos

With snook season winding down, Ron Boltze of Sebring, Fla .,scored with a 32-incher. He was fishing the southern end of Charlotte Harbor with Capt. Bill Russell.


With snook season nearing a close, the bite is decent, but most are running small. Catching a "keeper" or slot-fish is a challenge with luck often playing a big role. Snook, including a few oversize, were caught on live herrings under mangroves and off oyster bars from the south end of Matlacha Pass on the eastern side to the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River. In Pine Island Sound many of the keys and islands on the eastern side are holding fish and on the western side look along the shorelines on the barrier islands from Redfish Pass north to the Cayo Costa State Park dock. A lot of small fish with an occasional slot snook were found along the eastern wall of Charlotte Harbor from Buzzard Bay north to Pirates Harbor.

Despite windy days many anglers found success targeting redfish. Cut bait, including pinfish sliced in half and one-inch ladyfish steaks out-fished live bait or artificials consistently. Reds were reported in singles, pairs, small schools and at least one large school of several hundred fish was reported from northern Pine Island Sound. Most fish are running in the mid to upper slot (18 to 27 inches) with fish over 30 inches common. Redfish are scent feeders, when the wind has the water stirred up and dirty it's easier for a hungry fish to hone in on the smell of cut bait rather to locate a live bait.

Trout fishing was decent for those that found clean water, not muddied or stirred up from the winds. Early in the week a good number of fish averaging 14 to 18 inches were caught off the beaches around structure over the incoming tide. Inshore, similar size fish were found over grass flats and the edges of sand holes north of Demere Key and west of Cabbage Key. In Matlacha Pass, trout to 22 inches were landed along mangrove islands over sand holes on the higher water and off sand bar edges between Matlacha Pass and the Two-Pine area.

We are very near the end of April and we are still talking about cool fronts and weather every week. Enough already! It's time to get into a consistent spring weather pattern and worry about what fish we are targeting tomorrow not the weather.

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

Have a safe week and good fishin'.



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