On the Water: Easter weekend brought good fishing
Fishing gained momentum with each passing day over the week while rebounding from a recent cold front that blew through, dropping temperatures and bring plenty of wind As Easter weekend approached, we were greeted with great weather and fishing wasn’t too bad either.
With spring break in full swing it was hard to beat targeting Spanish mackerel for young anglers that wanted fast paced action. Mackerel action was hot in reported areas that included Jug Creek Shoals, inside Captiva Pass, Red Light Shoals, south of St. James City near marker #13, and either side of the Sanibel Causeway. Many of the near-shore artificial reefs also held fish and schools were found feeding under bait pods a short distance off the Sanibel and Captiva beaches. Blacktip or spinner sharks to 5 feet were also hooked while fishing around mackerel in many of these areas.
Sea trout to 27 inches were found throughout the inshore areas, including oyster bars between St. James City and Sword’s Point, Indian Fields in Matlacha Pass, between Pineland and Demere Key and near Foster’s Point off Captiva. Many of the larger fish came from anglers targeting snook along shorelines, potholes and depressions. Smaller, school-size trout with a good number in the keeper slot were caught over grassy bottoms near the fish shacks in the Sound, east of Buck Key and between the power lines and Sanibel’s Tarpon Bay.
Snook fishing was decent with many anglers reporting that most fish they are catching are running several inches under the 28-33-inch size slot, or well over it. Pretty much any shoreline or structure throughout the inshore waters with a decent tide flow is a good bet to hold at least a couple snook. Large snook were also caught and released from near shore artificial reefs.
A few are finding consistent catches of redfish, but most honest anglers are not catching many, or for that matter, not even locating many. On my boat we only caught one redfish over the past week. It was a big one at 32 inches, but the only one. It was hooked in north Matlacha Pass. Ed Zee, reports that 9-year-old Oliver Zema landed an 18-inch keeper red in Matlacha Pass and father Andrew caught and released a 24-inch snook, both on artificials. I expect and hope we will see a big jump in redfish catches in the coming weeks.
A few tarpon hook-ups were reported off Sanibel’s Knapp’s Point and in mid-Pine Island Sound near Demere Key. Off the beach, live thread herring was the best bait and inshore, cut mullet soaked on the bottom worked for both tarpon and shark hook-ups.
Moving offshore, wrecks and artificial reefs produced rod bending excitement with barracuda, a variety of sharks, amberjacks, cobia and goliath grouper. A few large kingfish or king mackerel were also hooked while flat lining live blue runners over structure. Red grouper were caught in depths between 80 and 110 feet along with a mixed bag of snapper, grunts and porgies.
Also, fishing in and around the Gulf passes, anglers report good action with mangrove snapper to 15 inches, plus a few pompano, flounder, sheepshead and snook.
The past week leading up to Easter was one of, if not the busiest weeks on the water I can remember. Even during mid-week there were boats everywhere. Between the amount of traffic and discourteous captains, it was hard to fish with a smile on your face. Hopefully that was the grand finale for many, as Easter generally signals the end to our busy season. With boat traffic dropping off and the water warming up, this should give us great fishing for the upcoming weeks.
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Have a safe week and good fishin’.