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On the Water: It was a cool week out on the water

By Staff | Jan 24, 2019

Despite cool weather, members of The Brooks Fishing Club put the smack down on a mess of tasty sheepshead. They were fishing near Captiva Island with Capt. Bill Russell and Capt. Jason Ramer. PHOTO PROVIDED

It was a cool week on the water with a mixture of calm and windy days. Offshore fishing was good if the weather allowed and inshore was good at times and slow at others.

Inshore and nearshore, sheepshead are the main target with fish up to 8 pounds recorded. As we mention often, they don’t mind the cold. The bite often slows after a few warm days then picks right back up when a cold front arrives. Most were caught on live or fresh cut shrimp rigged on a small hook or jig head on the many nearshore artificial reefs and structure along the barrier islands.

Snapper and grunts were also caught off the reefs, plus pompano and a few permit were hooked along the islands near the passes. Whiting were caught around Captiva Pass near the beach on the incoming tide.

Red grouper up to 30 inches came from depths between 75 and 120 feet of water. Large mangrove snapper to 6 pounds, plus lanes, yellowtail and muttons were boated from the same depths. A few big cobia were hooked over wrecks from the same depths, plus amberjack and goliath grouper.

Seatrout catches were sparse with many anglers striking out and others only catching a few. The best bet is to work artificials and cover lots of ground until you hook a fish. Then slow down and fish the area, if you find one there are generally more. A few areas were fish were reported included Pine Island Sound south of Cabbage Key, across Charlotte Harbor around Bull Bay and in southern Matlacha Pass.

Good numbers of small or “rat” reds came from hard bottom creeks in southern Matlacha Pass, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge and areas near Blind Pass. Larger redfish up to 28 inches were hooked in sand holes on low water on the eastern side of Pine Island Sound and in Matlacha Pass near the powerlines. Cut ladyfish, live shrimp and gold spoons were the top baits.

Despite cool water temperatures, snook were caught and released along deep shorelines and under docks from Captiva’s Roosevelt Channel, St. James City and the Caloosahatchee River. Large shrimp and slow moving soft artificials, like Hogy, DOA and Berkley Gulps, worked well.

From land, reports of sheepshead, black drum, pompano and small sharks came from the Bokeelia and Sanibel fishing piers. The Matlacha Drawbridge held sheepshead and black drum during the day and snook after dark. Both snook and redfish are out of season and must be quickly released to fight another day.

Strong wind and another cold front dropped down over the weekend. By the time this goes to press, the weather should be settled down and fishing will resume.

If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact us Gulf Coast Guide Service at 239-283-7960, via the Website www.fishpineisland.com or email gcl2fish@live.com.

Have a safe week and good fishin’.

As a native of Pine Island, Capt. 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.