Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

On the Water: An up and down week of fishing in the area

June 20, 2018
By BILL RUSSELL , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Fishing inshore and offshore was up and own for anglers for a variety of reasons this past week.

Fishing was slow for many inshore anglers possibly due to a number of reasons. Slow tides, with not much water moving for hours at a time, sure didn't help. Also, reports of red tide came from areas around the gulf islands and passes from Captiva north to Gasparilla Island. And at the southern end, fresh water releases down the Caloosahatchee River from Lake Okeechobee is never good for our fishing or marine life. With that said, inshore fishing wasn't all bad.

Good numbers of catch-and-release snook came from areas around Redfish and Captiva passes, plus the eastern and western wall of Charlotte Harbor offered good action. Around the passes the best action came on the outgoing, while in the Harbor the upper stages of the rising tide produced best.

Article Photos

Bill Schmidt and his buddies filled the cooler with a variety of fish including limits of red snapper and red grouper, plus a dolphin or mahi, 28-pound carbo or black grouper and a 20-pound gag grouper. They were fishing west of Boca Grande Pass with Capt. Sean McQuade on the Nikki's Way Too.

Fishing in 5 to 8-foot depths over mottled bottom with a sand/grass mix yielded a variety of fish, including sea trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish. ladyfish and sharks averaging 3 to 4 feet. With the slower tides, some of the better areas were near the Gulf passes and west of the intercoastal waterway in Pine Island Sound. Areas between Bokeelia and Cayo Costa State Park also produced similar results. For baits, live pilchards, shrimp and silver spoons were the top choices.

Redfish continue to be hit or miss, with many anglers finding the misses outnumbering the hits. Several upper slot fish came from across Charlotte Harbor around the entrance to Bull and Turtle bays over the incoming tides. Look for them along the shorelines mixed with snook, with pilchards and pinfish the top baits. In Pine Island Sound, reds were sight-fished in sand holes on the lower stages of tide along the eastern wall on the calm mornings.

Mangrove snapper reports were good around inshore waters with an increase in size over previous weeks. Fishing around oyster bars, shorelines and structure, snapper up to 14 inches were caught on a variety of baits including shrimp, small pinfish and cut sardines. Again, the best bite came during times of good tide movement.

All the tarpon that invaded Boca Grande Pass last week were nowhere to be found this week. Actually, there were reports that the large schools were 8-12 miles offshore. They should start filtering back into the Pass this week. A few tarpon were hooked inshore between Captiva and Boca Grande passes and in the Gulf just off the beach of Cayo Costa State Park.

Early in the week we had a pretty good west wind, once it settled anglers found a variety around nearshore reefs. Lots of Spanish mackerel, plus snapper, grouper, snook and a few cobia and permit kept rods bent. Barracuda, goliath grouper and sharks were also present around the reefs.

Further offshore, beginning around the hundred feet mark, some big red grouper, plus a few gags and black grouper were boxed. Good numbers of American red snapper were also present along with mangrove and yellowtail snapper. A few dolphin or mahi-mahi were also caught.

As we enter summer, things on the water are changing. With rainy season, the inshore gin clear water will give way to dark tannin stained water and the salinity level will drop. If it's gradual from a natural flow, it generally does not affect fishing. When it's large amounts in a short time as we experience when they start dumping Lake Okeechobee, it can't help but have a negative effect. Generally Pine Island Sound from Redfish Pass and to the north is the least effected and often has the fishiest water through the rainy season.

If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact us at: Gulf Coast Guide Service, 239-283-7960 or visit or email

Have a safe week and good fishin'.

As a native of Pine Island, Bill Russell has spent his entire life fishing and learning the waters surrounding Pine Island and as a professional fishing guide for the past 18 years.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web