On the Water: With picture perfect weather, it’s great to be outdoors
Our weather was just about perfect over the past week – sunny skies, low humidity and a cool breeze. If you were lucky enough to spend some time on the water, it wasn’t really important if you were catching fish or not, it was just great to be outdoors.
Inshore, mangrove snapper fishing is good with lots of quality fish of 12 inches and larger. Most were caught on shrimp or pilchards around structure. From land, snapper were caught from the Matlacha Bridge, Bokeelia Pier and around the bridge and rocks at Blind Pass. By boat, they were caught inshore under mangrove shorelines, off oyster bars, under docks and in the passes on the slower or changing tides.
Mangrove snapper are some of the tastiest fish in the water. If you haven’t done so already, get out there and catch a mess for dinner before the larger fish head offshore for winter.
Redfish really varied in size with fishing caught as small as 15 inches to large fish well over 30 inches. The smaller fish were caught around creeks and oyster bars in Matlacha Pass and Sanibel’s “Ding” Darling Refuge, while schools of large fish were reported in north Pine Island Sound and off the western wall of Charlotte Harbor. The best bite was over the final couple hours of the rising tide and early stages of the falling.
Snook fishing fell into two categories: plenty of little fish biting, but not so much with the larger fish. Good action with fish from 18 to 24 inches was noted around oyster bars, shoreline overhangs, creeks and potholes throughout Matlacha Pass, the sound and the walls of Charlotte Harbor. Bigger fish were hooked but most broke off under docks in Pine Island Sound, and a few between 30 and 33 inches were weighed in at Sunday’s Pine Island Elementary Fishing Tournament that were hooked over the incoming tide.
Many shorelines and oyster bars in Matlacha Pass and the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River are holding jack crevalle, bluefish and a few flounder, along with snook and an occasional redfish. In the open water of Pine Island Sound, Charlotte Harbor and near the Sanibel Causeway, look for Spanish mackerel, plus big ladyfish and scattered trout in 4 to 8-foot depths. Pompano to 3 pounds were hooked off the A Span of the Sanibel Causeway, off the beach of Cayo Costa and off the Burnt Store Bar near Two-Pines.
Offshore, despite beautiful weather the stiff breeze made it tough for smaller vessels to venture out. A few reports worth noting included cobia from 40 feet off Captiva Pass, plus snapper and a few keeper size red grouper in 50 to 60-foot depths. A couple gag grouper between 22 and 26 inches were caught trolling deep diving lures in 30 feet of water west of Upper Captiva.
More than one nice cobia were caught inshore over the week with fish to 60 pounds reported. It pays to keep your eyes open, we were fishing an oyster bar in 3 feet of water and noticed a large stingray cruising along and low and behold there was a rather nice cobia on its back. We flipped a pinfish just ahead and the strike was instant – fish on!
After quite the battle on light tackle in shallow water we had a nice 38-inch cobia in the boat, completely unexpected. Unexpected, but not really – I always talk about watching you surroundings and being prepared for just when such an opportunity presents itself, and we were ready.
So my advice: get out there and enjoy the great weather, expect the unexpected, and be prepared when it happens.
If you have a fishing report or for charter information, call 239-283-7960, www.fishpine-island.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a safe week and good fishin’.