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On the Water: Another good week of fishing

By Staff | Dec 23, 2015

Another week of warm weather and, for a change, light winds, allowed anglers to target a host of species inshore and safely venture to offshore waters.

Anglers hooked up with schooling Spanish mackerel throughout the inshore waters and off the beaches. Best baits included live shrimp, thread herring and small spoons. The spoons caught fish either casting while adrift or trolling.

Areas worth noting included the Sanibel Causeway, Pine Island Sound west of the fish shacks, Charlotte Harbor from Bokeelia to Bull Bay and around the Belton Johnson Reef near Blind Pass. Lots of big ladyfish were often mixed with mackerel inshore and false albacore or bonito offshore.

With water temperatures way above average, snook fishing was good and should continue until the next drop in temperature. Fish to 36 inches were hooked inside the gulf passes and near keys and islands in mid Pine Island Sound. Live pinfish, pilchards and pigfish worked best. A variety of soft plastics and top water lures also enticed some strikes early and late in the day.

Snook season is closed; catch-and-release only. Have fun with them but return them to the water quickly.

Sea trout numbers were good giving plenty of action, however it was often difficult catching a limit of fish over the 15-inch minimum size. Good action was reported near Marker 13 between St. James and Sanibel, the grass flats from the Flamingo Bay channel south to Chino Island and near Useppa Island. Top baits included live shrimp and DOA shrimp under popping or rattling corks, plus a variety of soft plastics with new penny, pearl and chartreuse the popular colors. A few pompano, flounder, bluefish and lots of lizard fish were also caught while targeting trout.

Morning low and afternoon high tides allowed skinny water anglers to sight fish the flats on the morning low and bush busters to target redfish under the mangrove shorelines on high water. Reds were sighted either tailing or pushing wake in south Matlacha Pass near the powerlines and Pine Island Sound near Demere Key. The best bet on the morning lows was precise casting with various fly patterns and small top-waters lures. On high water, natural baits, including shrimp, cut ladyfish, and pinfish, worked best. Look for schooling mullet and target those areas to increase your odds.

Light winds made for comfortable days offshore over most days. Mutton, mangrove and yellowtail snapper were caught over natural structure west of Captiva in depths from 80 to 120 feet. Cobia, snapper, grunts, porgies, Spanish mackerel, and sharks were reported around natural and artificial reefs from 30 to 50-foot depths. Several tripletails were also caught while targeting them around floating debris.

Tarpon sightings were common in 20 to 40-foot depths from Sanibel north to Cayo Costa as schooling fish were rolling on the surface.

Sure doesn’t feel like Christmas is almost here, the weather was great and fishing good.

The water temperature is way above its normal range. If you want to target a fun fish that fights really hard and is actually very good eating, go chase some Spanish mackerel while they are around in good numbers. The key to mackerel is to eat them fresh, they are really good and one of my favorites, but you need to eat them fresh not frozen.

Holiday gift certificates are available.

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: gcl2-fish@live.com

Have a safe week and good fishin’.