On the Water: Fishing up and down with the weather
Weather and fishing reports were all over the place this past week. We experienced some beautiful days, windy days and much needed rain at times. On the weekend the water was very crowded, at times it looked as though every boat in the county was on the water.
Despite some windy days, the snook bite remained strong throughout our inshore waters. Snook up to 36 inches were caught and released along the eastern side of Cayo Costa State Park and Captiva Island, plus islands points off the eastern side of Pine Island Sound. Despite heavy boat traffic, reports were good around the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River near the miserable mile. Snook were hooked in good numbers off shorelines around Charlotte Harbor and near docks on Gasparilla Island. Also, snook were caught and released after sunset fishing live shrimp from the Matlacha Drawbridge.
Good reports of big redfish came from Pine Island Sound, Charlotte Harbor and Matlacha Pass. The best bite was over the strong incoming tide while working shorelines and oyster bars. Live and cut bait plus a variety of jerk and twitch baits worked to fool redfish up to 35 inches. Often redfish and snook were found and caught together.
Casting spoons, small lures and live bait around bait schools often kept a rod bent with ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and a few trout. Most of the action came from areas in Pine Island Sound between Captiva Pass and Bokeelia, and in northern Matlacha Pass up through Charlotte Harbor. The best bet is to look for pelicans diving and make a drift through the area. Sharks from 3 to 5 feet were common, and often hooked while soaking a chunk of fresh ladyfish. Several tripletail and cobia were reported across Charlotte Harbor over the week as well.
Snook, seatrout and redfish remains closed with catch-and-release only. Visit www.myfwc for all current fishing regulations.
It was another tough week offshore as many days brought steady winds and rough conditions. Early in the week a few boats found king mackerel up to 20 pounds in depths between 35 and 45 feet. The kings were hooked along weed lines and bait pods. Lane snapper and grunts were caught over hard bottom and reefs over depths between50 and 70 feet. Spanish mackerel were abundant in 20 to 40-foot depths over artificial reefs.
Tarpon reports came from mid to lower Pine Island Sound, around the Sanibel Causeway, off the beach from Knapp’s Point to Blind Pass, Redfish and Captiva passes on the falling tide, and Charlotte Harbor. A few baits mentioned included cut mullet, live pinfish and Atlantic thread herring, plus small live crabs.
We are heading into prime tarpon time. If you want to tangle with one, make sure your tackle is up to the task and get out there. If you have the option, fishing mid-week well reduce the boat traffic and increase your odds of success significantly.
If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact Gulf Coast Guide Service at 239-410-8576 (call or text); on the web at www.fishpineisland.com; or via email at email@example.com.
Have a safe week and good fishin’.
As a lifetime resident of Matlacha and Pine Island, Capt. Bill Russell has spent his life fishing and learning the waters around Pine Island and Southwest Florida, and as a professional fishing guide for the past 23 years.