On the Water: It’s a good time to fish, despite the heat
Once remnants of Tropical Storm Erika moved off, the sunshine returned just in time for the opening of snook season. Days were filled with blue skies and barely a breeze, making it very hot, but giving anglers plenty of chances to target a range of fish, either inshore or offshore.
Despite the opening of snook season, redfish was the dominate target inshore. Reds were found under the mangrove shorelines on the morning and late afternoon high water, around oyster bars, and schooling fish (with a few schools holding a hundred or better) were reported Pine Island Sound, Matlacha Pass and Charlotte Harbor. Most of the schooling reds are running from 27 to 30 inches. Best baits included live and dead pilchards, pinfish and herrings, cut mullet or ladyfish, gold spoons, top water lures and various flies. If you get a hook into the path of a school, I don’t think what bait is that important, they seem to vacuum up anything that resembles food.
Look for schools in 2 to 4 feet of water, especially moving parallel to shallower bars throughout Pine Island Sound, the perimeter of Charlotte Harbor and Matlacha Pass. These big fish fight hard and a large percentage are oversized; please make sure to land them quickly and get them back in the water to ensure their survival.
For lots of bites and continuous action, most of the grass flats throughout Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor are loaded with schools of small bait. Look for gulls and terns working the water in 4 to 8-foot depths. Trout, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jack crevalle and an occasional shark, cobia or tarpon could be expected to quickly jump on live or artificial bait. Trout are mixed in size, averaging anywhere from 13 to 21 inches.
Snook ranging in size from 22 to 34 inches were reported from Blind, Redfish and Captiva passes, plus shorelines, oyster bars and docks on the western side of the Sound. Best baits included live pilchards, pinfish and pigfish, plus top water lures early and late in the day. A few snook running between 25 and 28 inches were caught after midnight from the Matlacha Drawbridge, and one angler reported catching and releasing an over-slot snook from the Sanibel Fishing Pier during the early morning hours just before sunrise.
Red grouper were reported in depths between 65 and 90 feet. Hand-size pinfish and jigs tipped with sardines or squid were the best baits. Grunts and lane snapper were also caught on smaller tackle rigged with live shrimp and pilchards.
Despite the heat as summer winds down, it’s a great time to get on the water. The waters are alive with fish and bait of all sizes, and best of all, there just aren’t many anglers this month (except on tournament weekends). Take a day or two and take advantage of it, it won’t be long before season is here and the crowds return.
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’.