On The Water: Another week of up and down weather
Finally, the wind settled over the week giving us some great days to fish, especially for those targeting tarpon, then along came the weekend and everything changed. Strong winds and thunderstorms crippled angler¹s chances for good fishing both Saturday and Sunday.
During the week, tarpon fishing was inconsistent; they cooperated great on some days and were difficult on others. Fish were found off the beaches from Cayo Costa to the southern end of Sanibel; one day they were showing good, rolling and free-jumping everywhere, then the next day not so much. No real pattern from day-to-day. They are averaging from 70 to about 120 pounds. For bait, most anglers are using large Atlantic thread herrings, pinfish and crabs for live bait.
Schools of bait have really made a push into our waters this week with large schools showing in Charlotte Harbor and off the beaches, they are easy to locate on the calm days. If you don¹t have a big, heavy, fast sinking cast net to catch them with, remember, small Sabiki rigs work great for catching threads and other desirable bait fish. Plus they live better and are friskier than those cast netted. Tarpon were also reported in Charlotte Harbor near Boca Grande Pass in the morning hours in small schools.
Big Spanish mackerel and a variety of sharks including blacktips, hammerheads and dusky sharks were also common catches on the tarpon baits.
Before the winds picked up, there were good reports of late afternoon and night time snapper fishing west of Captiva Pass in 55 to 70 foot depths. Anchoring up and hanging a chum bag over the side resulted in limits of mangrove snapper to twenty inches. Pilchard, both live and dead, and frozen Spanish sardines dropped back into the chum took most of the snapper.
Inshore we are still catching a good number of big trout both on the deeper grass flats and in potholes or around oyster bars. Captain Gary Clark reports several days with non-stop action on the flats off the gulf side of the Sanibel Causeway, with lots of big trout to 23 inches taken on live shiners. Captain Cliff Simer also reports similar action with trout on the incoming tide north of Bokeelia.
Redfish seem to be getting a little more consistent with fish reported on Captiva¹s east side, north of Charlie Pass, near Demere Key on the east side of the Sound, and both north and south Matlacha Pass. Fish are averaging 17 to 25 inches and baits varied from live shrimp, pilchards, and pinfish to cut ladyfish, pinfish and scented artificials. The best fishing was during the highest portion of the tide.
Snook are making a push to the beaches for the summer as shore-bound anglers report catch and releasing fish up to 42 inches on Sanibel between the lighthouse and Knapp’s Point. Snook were also reported on Bowman’s Beach and Captiva Pass.
Tarpon fishing should continue to improve and become more consistent. Fish are moving into Boca Grande and the other Passes, along with the Harbor and Sound. There have been a good number off the beaches for a while, we just need a steady dose of good weather with light winds for a stretch for them to get right. When they do, look out!
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’.