Get ready for springtime fishing
We had a good thing going this week – then came the wind and rain… followed by more rain! Fishing was getting better each day as we hit our first 80 degree day in a long time. The rain and wind put a halt on fishing for a couple days, but the skies cleared going into the weekend and fishing looks promising with the arrival of spring this week.
Redfish reports were good in Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass, with an increase in both numbers sighted and hooked. In the Sound, fish were holding in sand potholes on the morning low water from Pineland to Demere Key and a little further south near Forty Acre Bay. Anglers with shallow draft skiffs or kayaks had the most success getting over the skinny water to fish the holes.
For baits, live shrimp rigged with a small split-shot, Berkley Gulp shad and small top water lures worked. The key was keeping as far away as possible from the fish and making long cast.
Over a couple days, the tide rose enough to fish reds under the mangroves in the same areas. Fish were caught on live or dead shrimp and a variety of scented soft plastics. About half the fish reported were below the 18-inch slot and the other half were in the slot averaging 20 to 24 inches.
In Matlacha Pass, there were more redfish sighted than caught – at least the bigger fish. Myself and several other anglers noted good numbers of fish in the Pass; the smaller fish ate readily but the bigger fish not so much. The morning low water gave good chances for sight casting to reds in the areas of Indian Fields and Smokehouse Bay to the north and near the Mud hole in the southern Pass. They were found scattered as they worked their way onto the flats with the rising water.
Our best redfish action came on the upper stages of the tide working oyster bars in the Pass. Live shrimp worked for redfish up to 21 inches early in the week. We also lucked into one nice pompano while catching reds. As the water continues to warm, we can expect the larger fish to feed more actively.
Trout fishing was also improved; again early in the week before strong winds was the best fishing. It wasn’t red hot, but better with each warming day. A few big trout up to 24 inches were caught in the same potholes in the Sound holding redfish, they went for live shrimp and top water lures. Fish from 14 to 17 inches were also found in the Sound near the power lines at the southern end and up north on the west side of Cabbage Key and near the Broken Islands west of Pineland. Baits included shrimp under a popping cork, Gulp scented soft plastics under a popping cork and various colors of shad tail soft plastics with a slow to moderate retrieve.
Same for Matlacha Pass – you can feel the trout fishing improving with each warming day. We found our best trout fishing in the deeper cuts between islands on the morning low water. The fish we caught had a good average size from 16 to 18 inches… and we had a few at 22 inches. We were fishing live shrimp either under a popping cork or free lined and white shad tail soft plastics on a quarter ounce head. Our best bite was over the incoming tide. The water was still a little cool for them to move out over the grass flats, but they should begin their move this week.
I believe we are almost there – the water temp is slowly rising and fish are beginning to respond. Bait fish should begin to arrive very soon and fishing should really improve just in time for the arrival of spring. We had our cold, we had our rain and we had our wind. Now give us some beautiful spring weather… PLEASE!
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 online at www.fishpineisland.com. Have a safe week and good fishin’.