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ON THE WATER: Heading into the holiday, fishing getting back on track

By Staff | Dec 22, 2010

Look for good sheepsheads fishing through the holidays. This bunch was caught fishing with Captain Bill Russell in Matlacha Pass.

It’s been quite a week on the water with the ever-changing weather conditions. We had it all… well, everything except warm weather. There was rainy days, foggy days, very windy days and extremely cold days — not a good week for fishing. Not many anglers ventured out in those conditions, but there were a few fish caught.

On the days with minimal winds. anglers aboard shallow water skiffs located decent concentrations of redfish in Pine Island Sound. Fish from 17 to 26 inches were caught around potholes on shallow turtle grass flats near mid Sound. Many of the fish were caught sight casting with a variety of artificials including DOA shrimp, DOA CAL jigs and Berkley Gulps. The best action came in the early afternoon.

Redfish were also reported in Matlacha Pass, but with a smaller average. Fish up to 20 inches were caught in the deeper water around oyster bars and oyster bottomed creeks. Guests at the Bridgewater Inn had steady action on redfish up to 20 inches right outside their room. Live shrimp with a medium split-shot weight to keep it near the bottom or shrimp and jig combos were a good bet in the colder water.

Now that the weather has somewhat stabilized and the fish have adapted, look for the sheepsheads bite to really heat up. It’s that time of year to catch the big fish as they move inshore and along the beaches. I did not hear any reports over the past week, but I am sure that was due to the weather not the lack of fish.

Remember with the colder weather, to catch fish, it’s imperative to slow down your bait and keep it on or near the bottom. This is especially true if using artificials. A slow retrieve can be the difference between fishing and catching. With cold water, the metabolism of our sub tropical fish slows way down. They tend to stay on or near the bottom in holes due to the water there is generally warmer. On a sunny day, they tend to move up into shallower water to warm up when the sun is high. Either way, if you remember to keep that bait moving slow, it will improve your odds.

I hope we get a break in the weather so you can get those visiting family members and friends on the water over the holidays. Even if the fish aren’t biting, it’s still great to get out there and watch a school of dolphin play, see how many different species of birds you can spot, pick up a few shells on the beach or maybe gather some oyster for a oyster roast. If you catch a few fish, that’s an added bonus.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

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’.