On the Water: A cool start to the month
We generally do not associate cool weather with the month of May. However, that’s just what we got to begin the month as north winds stirred up the waters along with lower temperatures. Of course, the drop in the thermometer and humidity was a welcome change for most, but for the serious angler it was an unwanted setback.
With many gearing up and targeting tarpon, much of the past week was a challenge. Strong northwest winds for many days made it near impossible to fish the beaches and to locate concentrations of fish inshore.
Eventually the winds turned out of the east, again making beach fishing possible, but a few days of light wind is needed to get the inshore fishing where it needs to be. Most of Pine Island Sound’s water was very dirty, plus lots of floating grass – not the best scenario for tarpon fishing.
The best bet inshore was to go to a favorite or known tarpon area, drop the anchor and fish cut bait on the bottom, and maybe a live pinfish or crab under a float. Along with tarpon hook-ups, sharks from 3 to 7 feet were brought boat side, including blacktip, spinner, lemon, sand and bonnethead. Best baits included mullet and ladyfish. We hooked a few big blacktip and spinner sharks. My anglers quickly realized they will give a tarpon a run for their money for speed, power and stamina.
Off the beaches the best bite was early in the morning then sporadic throughout the day. Small live crabs, pinfish and squirrel fish were top baits.
Snook and red fishing was decent as the front approached as southwest winds brought strong tides and high water, then dropped off with the north winds and low water. Snook to 36 inches were reported around the Gulf passes including Blind, Redfish and Captiva. Best baits were pilchards, pinfish and grunts. Good snook action was also found along the east and west walls of Charlotte Harbor over the higher tides around oyster bars and sand trenches along shorelines.
Snook season is closed, make sure you safely and quickly release all fish, and please do not feed them to Flipper.
A few redfish to 30 inches were hooked in mid-Pine Island Sound while casting gold spoons and live pinfish near and under mangrove shorelines on the higher water. During the low water brought on by the strong north or easterly winds, a few anglers in shallow water skiffs found redfish in sand holes between islands south of Pineland. Mostly undersized redfish, snook and a few “keeper” size trout were caught over the windy days from creeks in “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge.
Trout fishing was tough for many with the water very stirred up and dirty. A few limits of fish were reported over flats inside of Redfish Pass and near the channel leading into Blind Pass. Pelican Bay off the east side of Cayo Costa State Park also held a number of trout. Look for water clarity to improve and the bite to get back on track over the upcoming days.
While it felt nice to open up the windows, I really hope that was the last cool front of the season. The slight drop in temperature isn’t the problem, the strong winds that always accompany a front is. It takes several days for the winds to die down and everything on the water to get back on track. We should be getting into our prime tarpon fishing, we just need the weather to cooperate.
If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact us at 239-283-7960 on the Web at www.fishpineisland.com or email email@example.com
Have a safe week and good fishin’.