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On the Water: It was a windy week out on the water

By Capt. Bill Russell - | Oct 28, 2020

Darcy and David Conner of Bokeelia with a pair of redfish that were caught and released together near Cayo Costa State Park while fishing with Capt. Bill Russell. PHOTO PROVIDED

Strong winds for the better part of the week often made fishing difficult inshore and near impossible offshore. With that said, anglers found success for a variety of fish.

Spanish mackerel were caught from the Matlacha Drawbridge and in Matlacha Pass north of marker 72. Also, mackerel were found off Bokeelia Shoals and between the fish shacks and Cabbage Key. Ladyfish, bluefish and jack crevalle were also in the mix. Fish were targeted around bait schools or channel edges and bar drops-offs while casting spoons, mylar jigs or live pilchards and shrimp.

Redfish were hooked along mangrove edges and oyster bars over the morning falling tides. Fish ranging from 20 to 32 inches were caught and released from the Sword’s Point area of Matlacha Pass, Northern Buzzard Bay, shorelines around Bokeelia and keys and oyster bars from Regla Island north to Demere Key. Baits varied from soft plastics and suspended twitch bait to live pinfish, pilchards and shrimp, plus cut mullet, ladyfish and pinfish.

Snook up to 37 inches were caught and released while casting live bait along shorelines off Charlotte Harbors eastern shore near Pirates Harbor, and in Pine Island Sound around Buck Key. Snook were also hooked around oyster bars in Matlacha Pass and around the gulf passes. Sea trout up to 23 inches were boated by snook anglers as well.

Season remains closed with catch-and-release only 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.

Due to wind and stirred up water, the pompano action over previous weeks slowed. Pompano generally prefer clear water, with the wind backing off this week expect the bite to ramp up again. Look for pompano along the gulf beaches and passes, and bar drop-offs throughout Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor.

Barrier Islands blocked the strong east winds and made fishing possible for near-shore areas off the beaches. Tarpon pods were sight fished from Blind Pass north to Stump Pass. King and Spanish mackerel, plus bonito were running in numbers around bait pods in 20 to 30-foot depths, with one king weighing 30 pounds reported north of Boca Grande Pass. Large jack crevalle and bull sharks were also found hooked.

After a windy warm week, I hope we close out the month with calmer seas, and a slight drop in temperature would be nice. Fishing should be good until the next bout of unsettled weather, get out there and take advantage of it!  

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.fish pineisland.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.