On the Water: Rain brings some cooler temperatures
Weather was unsettled for much of the past week leaving anglers dodging the possibility of rain at any time throughout the day. The trade-off for the weather was often cooler days and a drop in water temperatures.
Offshore, good reports of grouper and snapper came from areas 30 to 55 miles in the Gulf. A long run, but the reward was grouper to 15 pounds, mangrove and lane snapper, plus schoolie-size dolphin, and a few blackfin tuna. The best grouper bait was live pinfish; snapper were hooked on shrimp, squid and pilchards; as were the dolphin; and the tuna were caught while on the troll.
Closer to shore, a few keeper-size gag grouper and mangrove snapper were caught within sight of land. Sharks and barracuda were reported in good numbers cruising over artificial reefs and wrecks.
Large snook were caught and released in and around the Gulf passes with the best bite over the falling tide. Drifting live baits across the bottom worked for snook to 40 inches. Best baits included pinfish, pigfish, slippery dicks and squirrel fish. Good catch-and-release action with smaller snook was found at Blind Pass, on the Sanibel beaches from Bowman’s to Blind Pass, and Cayo Costa State Park. Baits included white flies in a pilchard pattern, small silver spoons and live pilchards or small pinfish. Several trout to 18 inches, mangrove snapper, and flounder were also caught with the snook along the beach.
It appears that maybe the redfish bite is beginning to pick up. Good numbers of fish were reported in south Matlacha Pass near Manatee Bay, across Charlotte Harbor in Turtle Bay, and in Pine Island Sound near Captiva Pass. Many of the fish are running oversize but there are slot fish mixed in. Best baits included gold spoons, live pinfish, shrimp, and cut mullet or ladyfish. Smaller reds, mostly undersize, were caught while targeting snapper around creeks and Island points in south Matlacha Pass and Ding Darling of Sanibel.
Speaking of snapper, it was another good week. Limits of tasty mangrove snapper were caught throughout the inshore waters and over rocky bottom in Captiva and Boca Grande passes. Live or fresh shrimp is the top bait, followed with small pilchards and pinfish. The bite is generally best when the tide is moving strong inshore around creeks, shorelines and oyster bars, however when targeting the passes, a slower tide is your friend. A strong tide in the passes just moves too much water and makes it very difficult to keep a bait near the bottom in the their feeding zone without getting snagged on bottom. Fish the slower tides, or the last hour before a tide change, through the slack and the beginning of the next tide until it becomes too swift.
Summer is a great time for sharks, especially if you are entertaining little ones. There are a good number of smaller blacktip, sharp nose and bonnet head sharks cruising flats in depths ranging from 3 to 8 feet. If you are only interested in catching the little guys, you can have a blast on light spinning gear, just make sure and use a foot or so of light wire leader. When you’re in a fishy area, toss out a decent size live pinfish a couple feet under a bobber, cut strips of bait also work well. For larger sharks obviously you want heavier tackle, 30 to 50-pound class tackle is what most prefer for inshore. Some prefer to fish large chunks of bait on bottom, some prefer fishing baits under balloons, some drift while others anchor. There really is no right or wrong way, just a matter of what works best for you and the area you are fishing. For me, I prefer to anchor up and fish baits on bottom and under a balloon.
If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact us at 238-283-7960, on the Web at www.fishpineisland.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a safe week and good fishin’.