On the Water: Strong winds turned good week of fishing into a tough one
Early in the week, the weather cooperated with sunny skies and light winds, however as we progressed into the weekend, strong northeasterly winds made fishing a challenge.
Cobia catches were reported from inshore and offshore as more fish are migrating south down the coast and into our area. Cobia to 40 pounds was caught around structure offshore while fishing depths from 40 to 90 feet. Inshore fish to 18 pounds were caught while fishing shorelines for snook and while targeting trout over grass flats along eastern Charlotte Harbor and mid-Pine Island Sound near Captiva.
A slow grouper bite was reported by anglers fishing offshore with a few good size gags nailing big diving lures trolled in 30 to 40-foot depths and in 75 to 90-foot depths while dropping live pinfish. Anglers fishing offshore often were harassed with concentrations of sharks averaging 3 to 6 feet.
Fishing inshore, redfish varied in size with fish caught as small as 15 inches to large fish well over 30 inches. The smaller fish were caught around creeks and oyster bars in Matlacha Pass and Sanibel’s “Ding” Darling Refuge, schools of large fish were reported in north Pine Island Sound, around Charlotte Harbor, and Captiva Pass. Often the best bite was over the final couple hours of the rising tide and early stages of the falling; around Captiva and other passes the best action often came at the tail end of the falling tide.
Snook fishing fell into two categories: more anglers that targeted them, plenty of little fish biting, but not so much with the larger fish.
Good action with fish from 20 to 26 inches was noted around oyster bars, shoreline overhangs, creeks and potholes throughout the south end of Matlacha Pass, the sound near the gulf passes, and the perimeter of Charlotte Harbor. Bigger fish were hooked while fishing under docks in Pine Island Sound and around the gulf passes.
Sea trout reports were all over the place from good to bad, with a common thread of a large percentage of fish caught running around 14 inches, just shy of the 15-inch minimum size. With that said, a few nice trout to 21 inches were boated in north Matlacha Pass and west of the Flamingo Bay channel.
Large schools of ladyfish gave steady action throughout north Matlacha Pass, the harbor and sound. Watch for surface activity and birds as they aggressively feed on large schools of small bait fish. This is a good area to target larger fish, including tarpon, cobia, big jack crevalle and sharks.
Start of by catching some of the smaller ladyfish, then fish them live under a large bobber or small balloon allowing them to drift through the feeding activity. Make sure to use a heavier rig that is up to the task.
Most of the better fishing reports came ahead of the weekend then the windy days made it challenging. Along with the northeasterly winds came some very low mid-day tides. While fishing over the weekend I watched more than one boat getting pulled off an oyster or sand bar by the tow companies. From the amount of rain we had in September, inshore waters are still very dark, especially Matlacha Pass, Charlotte Harbor and San Carlos Bay, making it extremely difficult to distinguish shallower depths. If you do not know the waters very well, this is not the time to learn it, especially if you have a larger boat with a deeper draft. We are getting into that time of year when you can expect very low tides, add a north or east wind and they often become extreme lows. Pay attention and you won’t be that boat sitting high and dry.
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’.