On the Water: Strong winds disrupt some good fishing
It feels like we are in a pattern where every two weeks a cool front drops down to end the week and gives us strong gusty winds and chilly days for the weekend. This past week was more of the same — good weather and fishing, followed with unfavorable conditions that kept all but the true hard-core anglers off the water over the Easter weekend.
Tarpon reports were on the rise inshore and offshore ahead of the cold windy days. Tarpon were located in 18 to 30-foot depths off Sanibel’s Knapp’s Point offshore, and inshore, fish were sighted or jumped in San Carlos Bay between St. James and the C-span of the Sanibel Causeway, and throughout Pine Island Sound in 6 to 10-foot depths. Baits included small crabs, thread herring and various cut baits, plus several were hooked on fly.
Anglers hooked into king and Spanish mackerel fishing artificial reefs in 30 to 60-foot depths. Silver spoons, thread herring and pilchards were favored baits. Bonito, cobia and several large blackfin tuna also took the live baits. Watch for birds working the water to help locate the bait schools and feeding fish.
Grouper reports came from depths from 75 to 110 feet with red grouper up to 29 inches. The larger fish were in the deeper water. Lane and mangrove snapper, plus porgy, grunts and a few triggerfish were caught in depths beginning at 50 feet. Mangrove snapper and grunts, plus catch-and-release gag grouper were caught over shallower reefs and ledges from 30 to 50-foot depths
Fishing inshore over the week left many anglers feeling good one day and scratching their head the next. Fish are on the move and a hot spot one day could be a dud the next day. Spotted seatrout gave the most consistent bite, including some big gator trout up to 27 inches. The larger fish were caught while targeting snook along shorelines and sand or potholes in Pine Island Sound with live bait and in Pine Island Sound over a grass/sand mix bottom in 5 to 8-foot depths.
Like the wind, snook reports were up and down all week. The little guys were often willing to bend a rod, but as usual the big girls weren’t as cooperative day to day. A few snook to 30 inches were reported from Matlacha Pass that were hooked on either live pilchards or shrimp. In Pine Island Sound a few big snook and plenty of undersized fish were hooked around the gulf passes and around the islands and keys. Kayak anglers report hooking into snook and redfish between Pineland and Demere Key while casting Bass Assassin Jigs and Gulp shrimp and various other soft plastics in pearl and new penny colors.
Season remains closed for trout, snook and redfish on waters of Southwest Florida from the Hernando/Pasco County line south through Gordon Pass in Collier County. Visit (http://www.myfwc.com)www.myfwc,com for all our current fishing regulations.
Spanish mackerel and bluefish are making their way inshore. Numbers were increasing ahead of the cool down and should resume by mid-week. Open water areas in mid-Pine Island Sound and in Charlotte Harbor at times gave non-stop action with Spanish mackerel, bluefish, seatrout, big ladyfish, jack crevalle and sharks. As mentioned, the fish are often on the move from day to day.
The fishing wasn’t always great over the past week, it started out good, then the wind picked up and cool weather dropped in. Low tides and a strong cool north wind dropped inshore water temperatures dramatically. I recorded 66 degrees near Bokeelia Sunday morning. It was in the low eighties ahead of the front. Water temperatures should rebound quickly with a warm sunny week in the forecast.
Have a safe week and good fission’.
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 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.