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On the Water: Good fishing over full moon

By Capt. Bill Russell - | Sep 29, 2021

Eddie and Amy Stress with Pat O'Connor brought home their limit of snapper and sea trout for a family dinner get together over a morning of fishing. They were fishing in Charlotte Harbor with Captain Bill Russell. PHOTO PROVIDED

Over the past week anglers experienced great weather and full moon tides to welcome the beginning of Fall.  

Anglers looking for a sea trout dinner found success throughout Pine Island Sound and the northern end of Matlacha Pass. Over early morning hours trout up to 21 inches were hooked on top water lures over shallow grass flats south of Pineland. Trout up to 22 inches went for live pilchards, shrimp, Gulp baits and a variety of soft plastic lures in the Sound between the fish shacks and red-light shoals. Trout up to eighteen inches were caught along with Spanish mackerel and ladyfish at the north end of Matlacha Pass near the S curve. 

Again, over the past week the mangrove snapper bite was strong across the inshore waters. Keeper size fish are averaging 11 to 13 inches and were hooked on both cut and live bait. Sapper were caught in Matlacha Pass, Charlotte Harbor, Pine Island Sound, and around the gulf passes. The larger inshore snapper will very soon make their way offshore, if you haven’t had a chance to catch some, do it soon. 

Redfish schools were reported around Charlotte Harbor, the Sound, and the gulf passes. Often there were a dozen or better boats working a school, especially over the weekend. Most fish are averaging 28 inches and larger and were often located along bar edges around the Harbor and Sound, docks around the gulf passes, and inside Redfish Pass. It’s possible to run across a school of big reds inshore until our first cool front arrives sometime next month.  

Catch and release snook fishing was good in many of the same areas the redfish frequented, including around the passes and Charlotte Harbor. In Pine Island Sound snook were caught around island points and sand depressions from Rocky Channel south to Demere Key and around oyster bars and shorelines around Buck Key. 

Tarpon up to 120 pounds took baits in Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound. In the Harbor schooling poons were located between Cape Haze Point and Pirates Harbor and in the Sound, between Redfish and Captiva Passes near Foster’s Point. Hook-ups were reported on live and cut ladyfish, large thread herring, pinfish, and Hogy lures. Sharks from three to six feet were hooked from the same areas as well. 

A fast retrieve with small shiny spoons and mylar jigs turned up Spanish mackerel to 24-inches in Matlacha Pass from the draw bridge north to marker 76. Mackerel were also caught between Patricio Island and Cayo Costa State Park and along bar drop offs just outside the gulf passes. 

With a cool front expected to arrive to close out the month, good fishing should get even better. With water temperatures slowing dropping, look for a good inshore bite and it’s time to start looking for those migratory species moving south off our coast. 

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.