On the Water: It was a wet week, but fishing was good
Well, we needed rain and we got it. Despite such a wet week and thunderstorms popping in at any time, fishing reports were good.
Gag grouper seasons opened for all anglers on the first of the month and American red snapper season opened for federally permitted for-hire vessels. Red snapper season for private recreational vessels opens on June 11. You can visit www.myfwc.com for all state or federal grouper and snapper regulations.
It is a long run west into gulf waters to get to depths that red snapper call home, but conditions early in the week allowed anglers to box their limits of snapper. Red snapper, mixed with a few gag and red grouper, plus mangrove and vermilion snapper were brought up from depths ranging from 120 to 150 feet.
Tarpon fishing was at full speed with full moon tides despite less than desirable weather. The best fishing was along the beaches from Sanibel up to Venice, and in or around Boca Grande Pass. Beach fishing was best early and late in the day, with tarpon eating crabs, thread herring, pinfish and squirrelfish. Fly anglers reports hook-ups while casting black and red or dark brown fly patterns.
In Boca Grande Pass the action came during the afternoon crab flush. As small crabs rode the strong falling tides out of Charlotte Harbor, tarpon were at the pass to head them off. Captains report the best bite came on days with overcast skies and light rain.
Snook action was steady along the gulf beaches and passes as well as keys in Pine Island Sound and shorelines around Charlotte Harbor. Again, strong full moon tides put them on a good bite at times throughout the day. Redfish were caught and released as well near the passes and throughout Pine Island Sound and the Harbor.
Mottled bottom with a sand/grass mixture throughout Pine Island Sound held a good mix of fish including seatrout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, jack crevalle and a variety of sharks. A few of the better areas were a short distance off the intracoastal waterway between Captiva Pass and the powerlines to the south.
Snook, sea trout, and redfish remains closed with catch and release only. Visit www.myfwc for all current fishing regulations.
Also, in Pine Island Sound, sharks up to 6 feet and large stingrays were hooked while soaking cut bait on bottom from areas near the fish shacks south to Chino Island.
Each day the mangrove snapper action is improving inshore. For anglers that enjoy catching a fresh fish dinner, they are our staple throughout the summer months. Snapper were caught in the gulf passes, under piers and bridges, and under mangrove overhangs. Snapper fishing should only get better as we move forward.
Now that we received our much-needed rain, let us hope we return to a normal weather pattern. Plan on getting on the water early, keep an eye on the sky and return to port ahead of a possible afternoon thunderstorm.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.