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

By Capt. Bill Russell - | Feb 24, 2021

Despite the wind, Randy Compton, visiting from Ohio, hooked into some good fish, including this big redfish that was caught and released in Matlacha Pass fishing with Capt. Bill Russell. PHOTO PROVIDED

Between the tides, wind, low water and a drop in temperature heading into the weekend, it was a tough week of fishing for many.  

Early through mid-week, fishing was decent inshore for snook, seatrout and redfish. Redfish and snook were caught around islands and oyster bars with wind and water moving in the same direction. Reports came from mid to northern Pine Island Sound, Bull and Turtle bays and Buzzard Bay in Matlacha Pass. Baits included live shrimp, pilchards, pinfish, Gulp shrimp and Berkley X-Raps.

Seatrout up to 25 inches were found over grass bottom and sand holes in 4 to 7-foot depths south of Useppa Island, around Rocky Channel and Charlotte Harbor near Bokeelia. The largest seatrout were caught while fishing snook and redfish.

Season remains closed for snook, spotted seatrout 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.

Anglers following birds caught a host of species including seatrout, ladyfish, jack crevalle and Spanish mackerel. A few areas mentioned include off the channel in Matlacha Pass north of the bridge, west of Bokeelia and in the sound, between Redfish and Captiva passes. Terns, gulls and cormorants were often active in these areas, plus pelicans. Baits included shrimp and soft shad tails suspended under a popping cork, small white jigs and silver spoons.

As the water warmed last week, shark reports were on the rise. Bonnethead, black tip, bulls and sand bar sharks were hooked throughout Pine Island Sound and around the Gulf passes. Ladyfish, mullet and jack crevalle were baits of choice.

Reports of sheepshead and pompano came from around the Gulf passes. Sheepshead were caught around structure with shrimp and small crabs the top baits, and pompano were fooled bouncing pink or white crazy jigs along channel edges and bar drop-offs.

After a windy week with low tides, and often very little water movement, let’s hope this week we get back on track with favorable fishing conditions.  

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.