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

By Capt. Bill Russell - | May 26, 2021

Michelle Barrette with a big redfish she caught and released on a recent windy day. It was hooked on a live pinfish in Pine Island Sound fishing with Capt. Bill Russell. PHOTO PROVIDED

Due to strong winds throughout the past week, this report is short as most anglers smartly chose to stay off the water given the choice.  

Snook and redfish were caught and released in areas semi-protected from the wind including bays, creeks and docks on the Pine Island Sound side of Sanibel and Captiva islands. Cayo Costa’s Pelican Bay also produced a few fish along with Charlotte Harbors eastern shore. Beaches were often protected from the gusty east winds allowing anglers to fish in the surf. Snook and seatrout were caught within a few feet of the beach and a couple pompano jumped on small pink jigs bounced across the sand. 

Season remains closed for trout, snook and redfish in the waters of Southwest Florida from the Hernando/Pasco county line south through Gordon Pass in Collier County. However, changes are coming, and seatrout is set to reopen across our waters on June 1. Visit www.myfwc.com for all current fishing regulations.

As we are in prime tarpon season, they were the intended target for many. However, conditions were not favorable at all, especially around the gulf passes including Boca Grande. A couple area with tarpon present and hook-ups reported were in Pine Island Sound between Demere Key and Captiva Pass, plus Charlotte Harbor between Patricio Island and Boca Grande Pass. Ladyfish and small pass crabs were the baits of choice. Sharks were hooked in both areas on bottom soaked cut bait. 

Maybe, just maybe, conditions will improve, and we can salvage the last week of the month. It’s been a brutal spring on the water from a wind standpoint. May is generally a fairly predictable month of light winds and good fishing conditions. Let’s hope we can close out the month on a positive note.

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.