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On the Water: Good fishing around the full moon

By Staff | Sep 18, 2019

Father and son Paul and Josh Mecke of Pine Island with a huge redfish and sea trout they caught and released while fishing Pine Island Sound. PHOTOS PROVIDED

There might be fewer anglers on the water in the middle of September that any other time of year. Plus, a steady dose of wind also kept boats at home. With that said, a full moon brought strong tides and those fishermen that ventured out, often found good fishing.

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 thirty inches were hooked in sand holes near islands on low water and along the mangrove edges on the high tide. 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.

Mangrove snapper continue to bite in large numbers inshore. They appear to be on the move as a location that was good recently may be dead now, but with a little searching you should be able to put together a nice mess of snapper. Target them in the Gulf Passes on the slower and slack tides, around any type structure inside the Passes, and throughout the inshore waters. A small live pilchard or pinfish is deadly when rigged with a small hook (1/0 or smaller) attached to 20 pound or lighter fluorocarbon leader. Shrimp/jig combinations and live shrimp also worked great.

Snook action was good along the beaches and around the gulf passes. Schooling fish were found hammering bait schools around jetties on the falling tide. Most were under twenty-six inches with a few big females also. Snook reports also came from Blind Pass, the back side of Cayo Costa State Park, and north of Boca Grande Pass. Snook were also caught and released on white and red bucktail jigs and flies worked around docks and piers during low light and after dark.

Catching sea trout of any size was hit or miss, some areas are holding plenty of small ones, but finding any number of bigger fish was a chore. Several larger trout over twenty inches and up to twenty-four were caught and released around Charlotte Harbor while targeting redfish on bar edges and in Pine Island Sound between Redfish and Captiva Passes.

Redfish, snook, and sea trout remained closed with catch and release only. Visit www.myfwc.com for current fishing regulations.

Offshore, seas were high much of the week with windy days. Nearshore reefs continue to hold mangrove snapper, a few snook, Spanish mackerel, plus the occasional cobia or permit. Further offshore in seventy to ninety-foot depths, red grouper were boxed, but the full moon often made for a slow bite. 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.

Slowly but surely you can fell the seasons changing. Days are getting shorter and you can feel a difference first thing in the mornings. Of course, by 9 a.m. its hot, but cooler days are ahead. In my opinion, we are getting into some of the best fishing of the year. Take advantage of it before the northern crowds arrive.

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.