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On the Water: Mixed results on the water this week

September 14, 2016
By Capt. Bill Russell , Pine Island Eagle

Overall it was a good week on the water with plenty of sunshine and a light to moderate breeze on most days. Fishing reports were mixed as some found good fishing and others were left scratching their heads.

With the first week of open season, snook were the target for many anglers. The larger fish came from areas including docks and structure around the Gulf passes, and around oyster bars and island points around the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River. Tossing baits under docks with deeper water, from 5 to 10 feet, was also a good way to hook up.

A variety of live baits including thread herring, pinfish, pig fish, slippery dicks, shrimp and small mullet were the baits of choice. A few good snook were also hooked on white and red bucktail jigs worked around docks and piers during low light and after dark.

Article Photos

Twins Konnor and Krystina Gregory of Matlacha teamed up to battle this hard-fighting permit. They were fishing west of Boca Grande Pass with Capt. Cliff Simer.


Redfish reports were consistent in Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor. Schooling fish were found along bar edges in Charlotte Harbor and smaller numbers of fish were feeding around oyster bars and creeks on the higher water. In northern areas of Pine Island Sound, reds to 30 inches were hooked in sand holes near islands on low water and along the mangrove edges on the high tide. Many successful anglers noted plenty of mullet around areas that yielded the best redfish action. Baits varied from live pinfish and shrimp, pinfish with the tail clipped off, cut mullet chunks, a variety of top water lures, plus weedless soft plastics.

Catching sea trout of any size was hit or miss - there are plenty of small ones, but finding any number of bigger fish was a chore. Several larger trout over 20 inches were caught around the edges of Charlotte Harbor while targeting redfish on bar edges. Fish from 17 to 20 inches came from the Sound near Wood and Black keys, and areas east of Buck Key held good fish.

Offshore the water was pretty stirred up early in the week from the recent tropical storm but improved each day. Nearshore structures continue to hold a good number of mangrove snapper, a few snook, Spanish mackerel, plus the occasional cobia or permit. Further offshore in 70 to 90-foot depths, red and gag grouper were hooked but not in any great numbers. Several boats report landing a couple good fish then the bite slowing, moving to another spot and repeating, and so on.

Yellowtail and mangrove snapper were hooked from these depths as well.

Early in the week the water was still pretty rough making it tough to anchor; for some trolling was a better choice. Working parallel to the coast with deep diving lures from 40 to 60 feet of water yielded a few gag grouper near 30 inches, plus several king mackerel.

As we move ahead this month we should begin to see less thunderstorms and more predictable weather. If you're heading offshore you might not need to run as far as the summer months, with the gulf temperatures cooling fish should be moving in a little shallower.

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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