ON THE WATER: Lack of storms and strong tides a good combination
The summer heat was there all week, however, the thunderstorms were absent. An unlikely weather pattern kept skies clear and thunderstorms at bay most of week. This allowed plenty of fishing time despite very hot days.
The lack of afternoon storms and relatively calm seas gave offshore fishermen plenty of day light hours to fish the far reaches of the Gulf. Red snapper and gag grouper were caught over ledges beginning at about the 150-foot mark west of Boca Grande. Scamp and some really nice mangrove snapper were also caught over the same bottom, all caught on live pinfish, pigfish and frozen herring or sardines for bait.
A few blackfin tuna up to 20 pounds were also trolled up in the same depths on Cedar lures and a few small dolphin (mahi-mahi) were also put in the cooler. Gag grouper and mangrove snapper were also caught in depths from ninety to 120 feet along with amberjacks up to 40 pounds.
Unusual for this late in the summer anglers are still catching plenty of king mackerel. They usually are long gone to our north by now, but for whatever reason they have been hanging around through the warm months the last couple summers.
Kings were caught trolling, dropping live baits down for grouper and flat lining live baits over structure. They ranged in size from eight to 30 pounds and were found in depths beginning at about fifty feet. The larger fish were singles caught while trolling for grouper with large diving lures like the Bomber CD 30 and the smaller fish were caught over manmade structure like the Arc and Box Car Reefs.
Red grouper were caught over swiss cheese bottom in depths from 60 to 90 feet. Drifting to cover bottom put grouper up to 28 inches on ice. Grunts, porgies and triggerfish were also caught from the same bottom.
Large schools of thread herring were thick just of the beaches and there was plenty of Spanish mackerel and sharks following the schools. The mackerel were running two to four pounds and the sharks from three to five feet. On the calm mornings, it was easy to locate the bait schools moving down the beach, with lots of explosions from the predators busting them at the surface. Sparse tarpon pods were also noted moving parallel to the beach.
The snook bite was good along the beach as well. Captain Ken Honc reports non-stop action over the morning incoming tide on Captiva and Cayo Costa beaches. Fish averaging 24 inches were schooled up feeding on small bait fish in the trough just off the surf.
The best bite was the last couple hours of the incoming tide, several good size trout were also caught with the snook. Snook and trout were also caught from Sanibel Rocks near Bowman¹s Beach on Sanibel. Snook were also caught on the afternoon falling tides off the wall on the southern side of Redfish Pass and the docks inside Captiva Pass.
Despite good strong high tides, there weren’t that many redfish reports for the week. Captain Gary Clark reports catching a half dozen fish up to 27 inches near the mangroves in Southern Matlacha Pass on small live pinfish. Anglers on his boat also caught trout and boated a 70-pound tarpon near Picnic Island that took a bait intended for trout.
In the Sound, a few redfish were caught near Regla Island over the incoming tide. Cut Atlantic thread herring and ballyhoo worked for fish up to 30 inches. Redfish up to 23 inches were also reported farther north in the Sound around Coon and Wood Keys.
We still have a couple days left with strong high incoming tides followed by strong falling water in the late afternoon and evenings. Fish on the beach and inshore will be most active with the fast rising water. This is the best time to target snook on the beach, trout on the flats or redfish under the mangroves. The late afternoon falling tide sets up the perfect scenario for targeting big snook in the Passes as they are in their summer spawn pattern.
Although tarpon aren’t in their tight pre-spawn schools anymore, there will still be plenty slurping crabs around the Passes during these conditions. If the thunderstorms allow, you can pick and choose if you want to fish early, fish late… or both!
If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact us by calling 239-283-7960 or visit www.fishpineisland.com. Have a safe week and good fishin’.