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On the Water: Hermine disrupts the local fishing

September 7, 2016
By Capt. Bill Russell , Pine Island Eagle

Thanks to Hurricane Hermine, fishing around our waters came to a standstill for the better part of the week. While the storm did not directly impact us as it moved up the Gulf of Mexico, we experienced some very windy conditions, extreme high tides and plenty of rain. Not a good or safe time to be on the water

As our weather stabilizes, we can look for fishing to get back on track. Inshore redfish and snook should be the top targets, plus mangrove snapper. The next few weeks should bring some of the best opportunities of the year for chasing large schools of redfish throughout our inshore waters and around the gulf passes.

Snook are still concentrated around the Gulf passes and beaches but with summer spawning season winding down, they will be on the move throughout the inshore waters. Look for them hanging around structure, island points and oyster bars. If you are a land-bound angler, the Bokeelia Pier at the north end of Pine Island is a good place to fish during the day, and the Matlacha Bridge is renowned for its night time snook fishing. If fishing the Bokeelia Pier, don't be surprised if a huge school of redfish makes an appearance under the dock. Also, Blind Pass that connects Sanibel to Captiva and the Sanibel Pier are great places to target snook from land plus a chance at a redfish.

Article Photos

Dee Djurovic, visiting from Racine, Wis., was lucky to get in a morning of fishing plus land this nice redfish before the storms moved in. She was fishing Matlacha Pass with Capt. Bill Russell.


Mangrove snapper are still in good numbers inshore and nearshore for anglers looking to catch fish for a great dinner. Small baits including shrimp, pilchards, herring and pinfish work well. At times the bite is better with small live bait and other times cut dead bait performs better. Try both but remember it's very important to keep your leader light and hook small for success with the larger snapper.

Offshore it's getting that time of year we should see the beginning of pelagic or migratory fish making their fall run down our coast. As the water cools to the north, the move will begin. Along with huge schools of baitfish, we should expect mackerel, both kings and Spanish, cobia, sharks and tuna moving down the coast. A few blackfin tuna were reported before the storm, they were hooked while trolling west of Boca Grande Pass in less than 60 feet of water. While not much to eat, false albacore, little tuny or bonito will come through in large schools. These are some of the hardest fighting fish you will find for their size. Keep an eye open for birds and surface feeding activity.

With a little luck, the storms are behind us, the waters will settle down and we will welcome some good fishing in the upcoming weeks.

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

Have a safe week and good fishin'.

As a native of Pine Island Bill Russell has spent his entire life fishing and learning the waters surrounding Pine Island and as a professional fishing guide for the past 18 years.



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