On the Water: Fishing is good despite unsettled weather
Wind, storms and rain over the past week helped to drop our water temperature that, in turn, improved fishing. Anglers found fish more active with the cooler water than previous weeks and it was much easier to keep baits alive and frisky.
Strong tides brought reports of good snook fishing from in and around the gulf passes, including Blind, Captiva and Redfish. Many snook over 30 inches were also released between the mouth of the Caloosa-hatchee River and Tarpon Point.
Over the incoming water snook were caught and released in Charlotte Harbor between Two Pines and Pirates Harbor, plus in and around Turtle Bay. Redfish to 31 inches were hooked from many of the same areas as snook, plus under the mangroves on high water across Pine Island Sound.
For table fare, it has been hard to beat mangrove snapper. Snapper were reported inshore under mangrove overhangs, around oyster bars and under docks, piers and bridges. Rock ledges in the gulf passes, offshore ledges and artificial reefs also produced. Best baits included shrimp, pilchards, small pinfish and cut bait, including pinfish, ballyhoo and sardines.
A few anglers found a good number of tarpon, with multiple hook-ups and fish sighted, rolling early in the mornings. They were located off the beach and from the north end of Charlotte Harbor from the Cape Haze point to the US 41 bridge. Bull and blacktip sharks were hooked while targeting tarpon.
Charlotte Harbor and north Pine Island Sound yielded steady action with a variety of fish in depths from 5 to 8 feet. Sea trout, grey trout ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, snapper, jack crevalle and small sharks were often hooked together over bottom with a grass and sand mix.
Anglers are reporting an increasing number of sea trout, a good sign for the future. Often the bite started slow, but once the action got going, it continually attracted more fish into the activity. Kids love this type of fishing with lots of action and possibly a different species every cast. Plus, the possibility of hooking a shark is icing on the cake for kids.
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. You can visit www.myfwc.com for all current regulations.
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 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.