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On the Water: Dealing with hot days out on the water

By Staff | Jul 15, 2020

Look for summer snook action around the barrier islands. Pat Renfroe caught and released his first snook near Redfish Pass while fishing with Capt. Bill Russell. PHOTO PROVIDED

With a lack of rain and hot sunny days, area water temperatures soared to 90 degrees and above. The added heat can make for tough mid-day fishing as both anglers and fish are in no mood to exert energy, plus keeping bait alive for the day is challenging.

Offshore, early last week anglers continued to catch big snapper and grouper 30 to 60 miles west in the Gulf of Mexico. Heading into the weekend winds picked up and offshore reports became sparse. Anglers fishing nearshore wrecks in state waters found action with hard fighting barracuda and sharks, plus mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel and false albacore.

Inshore and around the beaches the bite was best early to mid-morning ahead of the afternoon heat. Snook, redfish and mangrove snapper were caught in and around Blind, Redfish and Captiva passes. Anglers reports decent catch-and-release snook and red action on the eastern side of mid-Pine Island Sound and in Bokeelia’s Jug Creek.

Anglers fishing from the Sanibel and Bokeelia fishing piers hooked into snook, mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel and sharks over the week. This is a great option to fish if you do not have access to a boat or just want to wet a line for a few hours.

Sea trout mixed with Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish and small sharks continue to be targeted in depths from 5 to 8 feet in Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor. Lately in a few of these areas we are catching sand trout. If you are not familiar, they look very similar to a spotted sea trout without the spots. The good news, they are very good eating plus have no size limit or season. They do have a 100-pound bag limit, but I do not think we have to worry about exceeding that. I have the Fish Rules app installed on my phone to identify lesser known fish and learn the seasons or restrictions.

Season remains closed for snook, spotted sea trout and redfish in waters of Southwest Florida from the Hernando/Pasco county line south through Gordon Pass in Collier County. With the closure and catch and release only, stocks appear to be rebounding nicely. You can visit www.myfwc.com for all current regulations.

Mangrove snapper fishing is good throughout the inshore waters with the average size growing weekly. Look for them in all the usual places including oyster bars, docks, piers, bridges, jetties, island points and overhangs. About anywhere that has an ambush point and good tide flow to wash in food is a potential area for snapper. There is a lot of small baitfish around including pilchards, herring and pinfish throughout the inshore waters. Fished either live or dead, this is the best bait to catch a mess of tasty snapper.

We could use several overcast rainy days to bring down the water temperature. After several weeks of hot sunny days with little to no wind or rain, our inshore water feels like a sauna. Summer storms that generally bring us daily thunderstorms also play a role in cooling our water temperature. I hope this week we get back to our typical summer pattern, I would appreciate it and I am sure fish would too.

If you have a fishing report or for charter information, contact Gulf Coast Guide Service at 239-410-8576 (call or text); on the web at www.fishpineisland.com; or via email at gcl2fish@live.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.