ON THE WATER: Last call for trout fishing this year
A full moon combined with gusty winds upset fishing over the weekend, but the days leading up to the big moon led to consistent action inshore and in the gulf waters.
Same old story again this week. If you want action, look for the birds feeding off the beaches or fish the deeper open water grass flats inshore. Spanish mackerel averaging eighteen to twenty-four inches were caught in good numbers less than a mile off the beach between Blind Pass and Knapp’s Point on Sanibel. Bluefish and a few king mackerel up to 30 inches were also caught in the area.
Captain Gary Clark reports while catching mackerel his clients hooked up with a hundred pound plus tarpon and a large blacktip shark on light spinning gear. The tarpon inhaled a four inch live shiner while the shark ambushed a hooked bluefish during the fight. The tarpon jumped free after two close to the boat jumps and the shark, after eating the bluefish boat side, broke free of the light tackle very quick.
Similar action with Spanish mackerel and bluefish was found around Charlotte Harbor in six to eight foot depths just off the bars along the eastern side near Two-Pines, north of Bokeelia and across the Harbor near the entrance to Bull and Turtle Bays. We fished near Oyster Shoals off of Bokeelia several days over the week and found great action with big, fat mackerel. The only problem was keeping the bluefish and big ladyfish off the baits long enough for the macks to get them.
We also caught a couple cobia, just undersize, a few big flounder, sharks and sea trout from the same areas. Look for a mottled grass/sand bottom mix in six to 10 foot depths. Our best action came over the incoming tide.
In Pine Island Sound, Captain Cliff Simer found Spanish mackerel in the mid Sound near the channel between Redfish and Captiva Passes. The fish could be seen rocketing from the water over the deeper grass flats while chasing baitfish. Bluefish and lots of trout were also caught from the area.
While the trout bite was often non-stop, Captain Simer reports a large percentage was undersize. He also reports a few redfish and snook under the mangroves on high water between the narrows on Captiva Island and Safety Harbor. Redfish from 22 to 29 inches were also reported in south Matlacha Pass from anglers fishing the afternoon falling tide with artificials. Working mullet pods off the shoreline near the power lines with DOA Cal weedless baits worked for the reds and also a few nice trout.
Anglers are hooking into gag grouper with an occasional keeper and lots of break-offs under the bridges of the Sanibel causeway. Three to six inch pinfish or large thread herring have been the bait of choice, rigged with enough weight to get them to the bottom. Several big cobia were also sighted cruising around the pilings, but were finicky when offered a free meal. A few keeper size gag and red grouper and plenty of undersize fish were caught over structure from six to 11 miles offshore. Large triggerfish, grunts and snapper also helped fill out the fish box.
It’s almost over — trout season, that is. If you enjoy fresh sea trout, you better get busy. After this week, they will be catch and release only until the first of the year. Sea trout is a Florida favorite to catch and eat. This has been one of the better years that I can remember for both size and numbers.
With all the bait in our waters, there is little doubt that our trout population is eating well and growing fast and if we continue with no red tide outbreaks the near future should only get better. Do yourself a favor, grab a fishing buddy and get out there and catch a few for a fish fry before season comes to an end. Don’t wait too long, season closes on the first of November and will remained closed for a long two months.
If you have a fishing story or for charter information, please contact us at 239-283-7960 or www.fishpineisland.com. Have a safe week and good fishin’.