ON THE WATER: Mixed action with larger fish arriving daily
Offshore fishing picked up this week with reports of king mackerel, cobia and mangrove snapper and inshore despite unfavorable tides much of the week anglers caught trout, mackerel and a mixed bag of other species.
Near shore artificial reefs gave up good action for a mixed bag including snapper, grouper, mackerel, cobia, permit and sharks. At time, anglers found a different species taking the bait on each drop, leaving lots of anticipation of what would be on the end of the line next.
For bait, live pilchards and pinfish or shrimp tipped buck tail jigs were hard to beat. Hanging a chum bag off the boat also helped to raise the snapper and attract mackerel and other fish. King mackerel up to 20 pounds and cobia were also caught on larger pinfish and blue runners free lined behind the boat on heavier tackle. There were a few reports of tarpon showing up off the beaches of Sanibel, not in big numbers, but more should begin showing up any day.
From 60 to 70 foot depths, there was good fishing for mangrove snapper. Anchoring and chumming over structure raised the fish with mangs up to seven pounds reported. Depths from 70 to 100 feet are holding good numbers of amberjacks. Fish averaging 20 to 40 pounds were caught over structure on both live bait and butterfly jigs white in color.
Back in on the beaches, pompano were caught along the surf of Cayo Costa and in two to six feet of water inside the Gulf Passes. They averaged one to three pounds and were caught on live shrimp and quarter ounce white nylon jigs with a chrome head. The best bite was over the morning incoming tide.
Inshore, the Spanish mackerel bite was good from the flats on either side of the Sanibel Causeway, off the flats adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway in the Sound and throughout Charlotte Harbor. Bluefish, jack crevalle and small sharks were also mixed with the macks. The mackerel are averaging two to four pounds and baits included Clark Spoons, white Bucktail Jigs and live pilchards.
Trout averaging from 14 to 18 inches were caught in Rocky Channel and near Cabbage Key in the Sound and along the bar edges in the Harbor. They are schooling up preparing for their spawn, if you fished around a little and located a few, chances were good that many more would move in to eat for the angler with a little patience. An occasional larger trout up to 22 inches were mixed in and a few large trout were also caught by those targeting redfish and snook.
Tides were not favorable for red fishing the bushes as we never had any good daytime highs. A few fish were caught along oyster bars in Matlacha Pass and in potholes in Pine Island Sound south of Pineland. Low morning tides gave good opportunities for tailing redfish, with a few reports of fish on fly from Matlacha Pass in Smokehouse Bay and near Buck Key in the Sound. This week, we have some great afternoon high tides and should turn up some good fishing under the mangroves.
I am beginning to see tarpon showing up in their annual haunts in the Sound, not in great numbers but they are arriving. The water is still a little cool as a result most of the fish are laid up in sand holes just below the surface absorbing the bright sun. On a day with a light breeze and no clouds, this could present the perfect fly fishing or sight casting opportunity. We also caught sharks up to four feet this week while mackerel fishing in the Harbor and broke off two cobia. Schools of large jack crevalle are also working along bars and shorelines – hook into one of these bruisers and you can test your tackle and muscles in a hurry.
This has all the making for a great week of fishing, if the weather allows. We are on strong full moon tides with really good afternoon highs; our weather pattern is finally getting somewhat normal with light winds giving way to afternoon sea breezes. And best of all, with every warming day, more and bigger fish are moving into our waters. When you go fishing, make sure you bring along the heavier tackle – the big boys are arriving!
If you have a fishing report or for charter information, contact us by phone at 239-283-7960, online at www.fishpineisland.com or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a safe week and good fishin’.