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On the Water: It was a great weekend out on the water

By Staff | Sep 11, 2019

Kim Larsen visiting from Denmark with one of many redfish caught and released from Charlotte Harbor. He was fishing with Capt. Bill Russell. PHOTO PROVIDED

After Hurricane Dorian gave us a week or so of unsettled weather and windy days, the weather was beautiful as we headed into the weekend.

Schooling redfish were reported on the eastern side of Pine Island Sound, inside the gulf passes and across Charlotte Harbor. Reds are running from 17 to well over 30 inches. Most are schooling in size within four or five inches of each other. Best baits included live and cut pinfish, pigfish, pilchards, plus cut mullet and ladyfish. Several were also hooked on flies early and late in the day along the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor. Snook up to 34 inches were hooked around the reds inside the gulf passes and Charlotte Harbor. In Matlacha Pass, redfish were caught and released over the early stages of the incoming tide in the Smokehouse Bay area and Buzzard Bay. Cut bait, including mullet and ladyfish, were the top baits. A few snook were also caught along with small sharks.

Steady action with a variety including sea trout, mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and sharks were caught in mid-Pine Island Sound between the fish shacks and Captiva Pass. The best bet was either drifting in 4 to 8-foot depths with live shrimp under a bobber or casting small spoons or soft plastics or anchoring up and soaking a chum block in the current. Chumming worked best for snapper, as a few boats found easy limits of fish up to 16 inches. Mangrove snapper were also caught from Boca Grande Pass while bottom fishing depths from 34 to 40 feet.

Boats fishing around Charlotte Harbor found action with sea trout, ladyfish and Spanish mackerel. Most trout are running on the small side from 11 to 13 inches, but the numbers caught are on the rise. The harbor is holding a lot of bait schools with the action coming while fishing around the schools. Live shrimp, small pilchards or thread herring, and spoons or small shiny lures were the best baits. Sharks from 2 to 4 feet were hooked around the harbor, plus several anglers found tarpon in good numbers over the early mornings with calm water. Fishing from the Bokeelia Fishing Pier, anglers scored with redfish, mangrove snapper, sharks and Spanish mackerel, plus a few catch and release snook.

Pompano averaging a pound to pound and a half were caught while drifting breaks between shallow bars inside north Captiva Island. Most were hooked while slow bouncing Silly Willy or similar style jigs in a variety of colors. A few pompano were also caught north of Boca Grande Pass in Charlotte Harbor.

Conditions were good for offshore over the weekend, with boats fishing depths from 60 to 90 feet. Red Grouper to 28 inches plus a variety of snapper and grunts were boxed while fishing live and cut bait. Spanish mackerel schools were located in depths from 30 to 60 feet by searching for birds and surface activity.

As summer winds down our water temperature is slowly dropping and we should see a decrease in daily thunderstorms. This is a great time to get on the water and have some fun! Remember to keep updated on current fishing regulations for our area. Redfish, snook and sea trout remain closed for harvest. Visit for information, I also like to use the Fish Rules app on my phone.

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.