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On the Water: Fishing rebounds after cold front passes

November 8, 2017
By Capt. Bill Russell , Pine Island Eagle

Water temperatures fell into the mid-60s inshore after the cold front early last week but quickly rebounded above 70 degrees by the weekend.

Reports of scattered redfish came in from all around the islands and size varied from 16 to 30 inches. With lower tides, more redfish were hooked while targeting oyster bars, drop-offs and sand potholes than under the mangroves. Reds were caught off both the east side of Charlotte Harbor and around Bull and Turtle bays, in Pine Island Sound east of Panther Key and further south near Regla Island. Also, reds were caught outside creek mouths in southern Matlacha Pass and to the north around Buzzard Bay.

Over the falling tide, snook to 37 inches were reported from sand drop-offs, docks and submerged structure around the Gulf passes from Redfish up to Boca Grande. Decent numbers of mostly undersized snook were caught and released along shorelines on the eastern side of Pine Island Sound, around Cabbage Key, creek mouths and sand holes around "Ding" Darling Wildlife Refuge, and throughout Matlacha Pass. A few fish up to 31 inches were boated but most were running 20-26 inches.

Article Photos

Boone Scheer escaped the cold weather of Alaska to get in a day of warm Florida fishing. He was rewarded with this 29-inch gag grouper that was caught near Captiva on a live pinfish while fishing with Capt. Bill Russell.


Trout up to 3 pounds were taken from grass flats near Part Island in the upper Sound and around oyster bars in south Matlacha Pass near St James. Smaller, but keeper-size fish were caught between Galt and Chino islands, and near Buck Key in the southern Sound, plus off Bokeelia Shoals west of Bokeelia. Lots of ladyfish are showing in the same areas and anglers casting small jigs or fishing live shrimp hooked into good numbers of pompano. A few cobia were also reported near Bokeelia.

Anglers offshore found mixed results once the strong winds settled down. A couple boats reported Spanish and king mackerel, plus false albacore busting up bait pods from 6 to 12 miles offshore. Further offshore around the hundred-foot mark, a mix of grouper including gags, reds and black, plus big snapper, including mangrove and yellowtail were put in the box.

It was really nice on the water for the majority of the week with sunny skies, a light breeze and comfortable temperatures. If you made it on the water you no doubt noticed an increase in the number of birds of all types. Large flocks of white American pelicans returned to our waters for the winter. Even if the fish aren't always biting, nature is giving us plenty to enjoy on the water this month.

If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact us at Gulf Coast Guide Service 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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