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On the Water: Mixed variety of fish caught in inshore waters

By Capt. Bill Russell - | Sep 8, 2021

September is a month for redfish. Making memories, Capt. Jason Ramer with his two happy kids, Lauren and Cole, with a big redfish they teamed up to catch and release in Pine Island Sound. PHOTO PROVIDED

While Southwest Florida was not directly impacted from Hurricane Ida, she churned up Gulf waters off our coast with large swells keeping most anglers inshore and brought unsettled weather over several days.

A few schools of redfish were reported between keys on the eastern side of Pine Island Sound, inside the Gulf passes and along the perimeter of Charlotte Harbor. Best baits included live and cut pinfish, pigfish, pilchards, plus cut mullet and ladyfish. Top water lures and gold spoons also got their attention. A few were also hooked on fly early and late in the day along the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor. In Matlacha Pass redfish were caught and released over the early stages of the incoming tide in the Smokehouse Bay.  

Catch-and-release snook reports came from areas around Blind, Redfish and Captiva passes, plus islands in mid-Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor near Pirates Harbor.Large snook were hooked around docks and creek mouths around Matlacha, St. James and Punta Rassa. 

Steady action with a variety of fish, including seatrout, mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and sharks, were caught in Pine Island Sound between the fish shacks and Flamingo Bay channel. The best bet was either drifting in 4 to 7-foot depths with live shrimp or gulp shrimp under a popping cork or casting small spoons and soft plastics. Mangrove snapper up to 15 inches were caught around Captiva Pass while bouncing baits off the hard bottom along with small grouper.

Boats fishing around Charlotte Harbor found action with seatrout, ladyfish, and Spanish mackerel. Trout measured from 13 to 21 inches. Some of the better areas reported were from Bokeelia into north Matlacha Pass. Live shrimp, pilchards or thread herring, and spoons or small shiny lures, were the best baits. Sharks from 2-5 feet were hooked around the harbor, plus anglers found a few hungry tarpon over the early mornings with calm water. Fishing from the Bokeelia Fishing Pier, anglers hooked into redfish, mangrove snapper, sharks, jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, cobia and snook. Fishing around the Gulf passes varies day to day, possibly due to red tide levels. Not many dead gamefish were reported, however anglers noted that at times the bite was good for snook and redfish, yet it was difficult to keep bait fish alive in the well while fishing. A fairly low concentration of red tide can quickly affect a live well crowded with bait, but not have much of an effect on the bigger fish.   

Stay up to date with fishing regulations by visiting www.myfwc.com. Also, upload the Fish Rules app on your phone. It has current regulations with pictures to help identify fish.  

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.