Fishing has been ‘hot’ across the region
In one word, “HOT” was how anglers described fishing over the week. And not so much the fish bite but the heat.
Flat calm days with little or no breeze and the lack of our daily thunderstorms have really heated things up during the mid day. Fishing during the mid-day heat a few better options were fishing depths where the water was a little cooler, such as the Gulf Passes and near shore reefs or head out late in the afternoon after the sea breeze kicked in and the sun was less intense.
Again this week, mangrove snapper were the go to fish for many anglers. They don’t seem to mind the warm water temperatures as they were caught throughout the inshore waters. However, the best action and largest fish came from water 10 feet and deeper in and around Captiva and Boca Grande Passes and over reefs a short distance offshore. Live shrimp, pilchards and small pinfish on hooks fished just off bottom worked for snapper and lots of undersize grouper around the Passes. The same baits or jig heads with a live bait attached worked for snapper and a host of other fish including undersize grouper, grunts and mackerel over artificial reefs in 20 to 50 feet of water.
Spanish mackerel continue to be plentiful over the deeper flats and along the beaches. A summer spawn with lots of small baitfish occurred over the last few weeks and the macks are foraging heavy on them. The size of the macks can be anywhere from 12 to 30 inches, with the average size about 18 inches. About any small lure with lots of flash reeled fast or live pilchards or shrimp will get their attention. Trout going anywhere from 11 to 20 inches were also caught with the macks over grass flats in six to 12 feet of water around Bokeelia and on the western side of the Sound.
A good amount of tarpon are still hanging around Boca Grande Pass, but the bite has been difficult during the heat of the day. Unlike last month, there are not many boats competing for the fish, early morning, late afternoon and evening times should give the best chance at hooking a late season poon.
We have been doing a good bit of family fishing lately and waiting until late afternoon to head out when it’s not so hot. My family enjoys shark fishing and catching the bait to catch the sharks. So we start by catching a well of live shiners, then we try to convert them into bigger baits like ladyfish and jacks. Once we get a few baits we anchor up, set out a couple shark lines then continue to catch more baits while waiting for the “big one” to bite.
Lately, there has been a lot of Bull sharks, most are running from four to six feet and a few lemon sharks. The best bite is generally the hour before sunset. With the use of a circle hook, the hook-up ratio is high for the kids – all they have to do is reel tight and hang on.
I have been shark fishing this same area of the Harbor since I was a kid and one of my favorite challenges over all these years is tail roping a shark. If you know what you are doing and pay attention, it is safe and fun. If you are careless and don’t respect the sharks abilities, the end result might not be good. You can definitely expect to get soaked, which feels pretty refreshing in the summer.
Once on the rope, it’s easy to remove the circle hook from the corner of the mouth where it almost always ends up. We often pull the shark on deck to do this safely and get a quick picture and measurement before returning to water. These sharks always swim away strong after giving them a minute or two in the water to recover from the fight. The good thing with the tail rope is you kind of have them on a leash and don’t have to worry about them slipping away before they are ready to swim away.
No, I don’t recommend everybody tail roping sharks – it can be dangerous to yourself and the shark if not done properly. My daughter Shelby who has taken an interest in learning the technique asked “Why don’t we buy one of those tail snares they make for sharks?” The only answer I could think of: “Until I get too old or slow, I enjoy the challenge and it’s safely worked for me and the sharks for a long time.”
If you have a fishing story or photo that you would like to share or for charter information, please contact us at 239-283-7960 or visit us at www.fishpineisland.com. Have a safe week and good fishin’.