On the Water: Fall fishing begins
With waters cooling down ever so slightly, fish are becoming more active throughout the day. As we exit summer and roll into the first week of fall, anglers should find good fishing for trout and redfish inshore, plus grouper and mackerel in the Gulf.
Sea trout, with a few over 20 inches were caught in various areas around the Island including north Matlacha Pass, the perimeter of Charlotte Harbor and the northeast corner of Pine Island Sound. The larger fish were busting top-water lures including Zara Spooks and Mirrolures around oyster bars over the early morning high tides and caught later in the day in shallow channels and potholes using pinfish under a rattling cork. Redfish were also caught with the same baits from these locations.
School-size trout running from 14 to 16 inches were caught over 3 to 6-foot grass flats between Useppa Island and the fish shacks, between Cabbage Key and Cayo Costa State Park, east of marker 74 in Matlacha Pass, and over the same type bottom between Redfish Pass and Roosevelt Channel. Live shrimp, pilchards, pinfish and pigfish under popping corks, plus Gulp shad and DOA shrimp were the reported baits of choice.
Snook to 36 inches were caught and released around Captiva Island on various live baits and good action with mostly undersized snook was reported from anglers wade fishing along the east and west walls of Charlotte Harbor.
Oversized reds were found along Charlotte Harbors eastern shore, northern Pine Island Sound and the Gulf Passes. Most of the fish are averaging near 30 inches and were found in schools from a dozen to a hundred or better. On my boat, we got into a couple of these schools over the week and they all measured from a small of 28 inches up to 32 inches and are very fat, healthy, and incredibly strong fighters. Lots of fun!
Offshore, red grouper catches were reported anywhere from 60 to 120 feet out from Redfish Pass and north to Boca Grande. Live pinfish, thread herring and heavy jigs tipped with whole Spanish sardines took fish to 34. Mangrove snapper to 5 pounds and lane snapper were also caught. Schools of Spanish mackerel and bonito were sighted surface feeding anywhere from 5 to 30 miles offshore also.
Finally summer is over, I can feel the change and I believe the fish feel it, too. The water is cooling down, it’s a lot easier to keep a mess of bait alive in the well and the fish can be active any time of day. Unlike summer where it was just too darn hot for fish and anglers in the middle of the day, now is a good time to catch fish the entire day and often the best bite well be smack in the middle of the day.
If you have a fishing report or for charter information, 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’.