On The Water: Fishing good, then cools down for the weekend
Weather again played a key factor on the water over the past week — anglers encountered a stiff breeze, much needed rain and a cold front heading into the weekend. Fishing was pretty good during the week, but despite a beautiful weekend, cooler temperatures and slow twelve hour or two a day tides put a damper on the bite.
Captain Ken Honc reports big sheepsheads schooling near the Gulf passes, small live shrimp fished around pilings and structure yielded fish up to 20 inches. Spanish mackerel and bluefish action was good over grass flats inside Redfish and Captiva Pass over the incoming tides and redfish were caught in the Sound near Cayo Costa State Park.
Although the action was good with plenty of redfish, Captain Honc reports they are still running slightly below the eighteen inch minimum size, but lots of fun to catch and release.
Spanish mackerel are getting bigger and more plentiful in Charlotte Harbor, according to Captain Cliff Simer. Action was good before the rain and cold front arrived fishing live pilchards on the incoming tide over grass bottom in six to 10 foot depths off Bokeelia. Captain Simer also reports scattered trout up to 19 inches over the same grass bottom and a few large trout from north Matlacha Pass. Flounder and snook were also caught on the eastern shore of the Harbor near Two-pines.
From Bokeelia, Captain Dick May reports the trout continue to get bigger each week. There are redfish around but keepers are hard to come by. His clients did catch one 27-inch red last week, Spanish mackerel size is improving and his boat is catching a few Flounder. Captain May advised wade fishermen to beware as he has had two Sharks over seven feet come right up to his boat in three feet of water. It might be a good idea to have a lookout in the boat while wade fishing.
On my boat we caught trout, snook, redfish, mackerel and bluefish. Some days, the bite was better than others. Our best bite came on Thursday afternoon after the thunderstorms cleared just ahead of the arriving cold front. First, we found a real good bite on large Spanish mackerel and bluefish in open waters on Charlotte Harbor. After an hour or so of non-stop action, the west wind picked up with the approaching front to the point where it just became too rough on the open waters of the Harbor.
We relocated to a shoreline on the eastern shore of the Harbor with the stiff breeze at our back hoping for redfish; instead we found a steady snook bite. Free lining live shiners worked for snook up to 29 inches, we only caught one redfish and it was small, but the catch and release snook action more than made up for it. Plus, I think we were the only boat on the water.
Our largest snook of the week measured 32 inches and it also was caught while looking for redfish around an oyster bar near Bokeelia. We had to work and move often to catch a limit of fat trout each day with most of the larger fish coming from potholes between Pineland and Part Island in the Sound.
If you haven’t already done so, mark your calendars for Saturday, March 26. That’s the date for the 13th Annual Bobby Holloway Memorial Fishing Tournament. It’s the longest running tournament on Pine Island and all proceeds go to a great cause, to benefit our children right here on Pine Island and surrounding communities. Little Bobby was a very special person on Pine Island and this annual event has grown over the years to far more than just a fishing tournament in his memory. This tournament has a tremendous amount of support from both Island and off Island businesses and individuals, there is always lots of great stuff in raffles and prizes, not to mention an Island style fish fry and barbeque. It’s the place to be on March 26.
You can still sign up to fish the tournament and maybe win some cash or you can just come out for some good food, Island atmosphere and take a chance at winning one of the great raffles and prizes. Either way, you will be supporting a great Island cause and I promise you will be glad you came.
You can find more information on the tournament online at www.hollowaytourney.org. The event is located at the end of Maria Drive west of Stringfellow Blvd at the Lee County Fishermen’s Co-op south of the center. March 26 is approaching fast, so sign up and fish the tournament, come and watch the weigh in at 3 p.m. Or just come out and relax with some good food and island atmosphere.
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’.