ON THE WATER: Bundle up, here comes the cold!
It sure was a nice change to open up the windows and turn off the air conditioners as the first cold air of the season pushed down into Southwest Florida. If you were on land, all was good. However for the angler, weather conditions made for a tough week of fishing. A rainy day followed by several cold windy days that also included extreme low tides kept all but the most hardcore fishermen at the dock.
Early in the week before the weather change, anglers reported a pretty good bite. Hot spots included redfish in the potholes in the Sound, continued fast action with mackerel, bluefish and sharks in Charlotte Harbor and gag grouper close to shore.
Captain Joe Harley found mid to upper slot redfish on the eastern side of the Sound, both tailer’s on the skinny flats and reds mixed with a few big trout in potholes. All fish were caught on artificial and fly south of Demere Key on the lower stages of the tide.
Fishing shorelines near St. James City, Captain Gary Clark found redfish up to 32 inches. The fish were schooled in bunches of up to 50 fish and were caught on top water Skitterwalks near mullet schools on the rising tides. Captain Clark also reported good action with bluefish and Spanish mackerel near the Sanibel Causeway.
In Charlotte Harbor, Captain Ken Honc is catching a decent number of pompano. Drifting parallel to sand bars on the Harbor side in four to six feet of water has given the best results on either the incoming or falling tide. The key to success, according to Capt. Honc, is to watch for pompano skipping in your boats wake then drifting that area while slowly bouncing a small quarter ounce nylon jig tipped with a small piece of shrimp.
Before the weather change kept us out of the Harbor, on my boat we found steady action with mackerel, bluefish, trout, huge ladyfish and lots of small sharks, all a blast with small kids onboard. We were fishing north of Shell Cut over mottled bottom in six to eight foot depths.
Most anglers that have put in time trolling near shore in depths from 25 to 40 feet were rewarded with gag grouper with about half of legal size. Large Spanish mackerel, several king mackerel and one cobia over 30 pounds were also caught while trolling deep diving lures.
Every report this week came before the weather went south and fishing conditions deteriorated. As we look ahead to the upcoming week, fishing should quickly get back on track and might be really good. No doubt the water temperature has dropped several degrees; this will push more migrating fish from the north down to our area and should be the trigger for our fish to feed heavily before the water cools down more. Flocks off white pelicans are back — that’s always a sign that the warm season is over.
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’.