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On the Water: Hot days on the water make fishing a challenge

By Staff | Jul 20, 2016

With the summer heat, look for redfish under the shade of the mangroves on high water. Tom Fritz from the east coast of Florida caught this one on a live pinfish under the mangroves while fishing with Capt. Bill Russell. PHOTO PROVIDED

Extreme heat kept many anglers off the water over the past week. The few that did venture out found fishing wasn’t too bad at times.

If you just want to have fun and maybe do a little fishing while relaxing, then the beaches are the place to be. Good numbers of snook are roaming the surf feeding on schools of bait and are a sight fishermen’s dream. The waters from Blind Pass north to Boca Grande are relatively clear and at times the fish are so focused on the bait pods it’s been pretty easy to get close enough to make an easy presentation. Most snook are running 22 to 26 inches, but there are much bigger ones. Free-lined pilchards, small pinfish, 1/8-ounce white bucktail jigs and a variety of small white flies all got action. Look for the fish right off the edge of the beach in the surf or near any type submerged structure.

Remember, snook are catch-and-release only. Trout to 20 inches and mangrove snapper were also hooked with the same baits along the beach.

Bait balls further off the beaches are attracting Spanish mackerel; look for birds and rocketing mackerel from a few hundred feet off the beach out several miles. Further offshore, king mackerel to 30 pounds were hooked on live baits over structure, plus a few nice cobias to 20 pounds. Anglers are reporting plenty of sharks offshore including a couple large tiger sharks over structure in deeper water.

Red grouper of legal size were found in depths beginning at 70 feet out to 100 feet-plus. Live pinfish, grunts and squirrelfish work best for the reds, plus a few big gags. Lane and mangrove snapper were also hooked from the same depths, but the daytime bite was a little slow.

Inshore, the mangrove snapper bite was consistent throughout the area with widespread reports of limits of the tasty fish. Look for them around oyster bars, creek mouths, Island points, rocks, docks and bridges. The best bite is when the tide movement is good, with the exception of the Passes. Generally, fishing the Passes, anglers prefer fishing the last stage of a tide, through slack, and the beginning of the next stage. Why? Because with the strong tides in the passes, it’s nearly impossible to keep a bait near the bottom without getting snagged. The water movement is much slower during this time allowing for controlled drifts to keep baits near the bottom where the fish are.

A few redfish reports came from Pine Island Sound, with fish to 26 inches reported around islands near the fish shacks, and fish to 25 inches in Charlotte Harbor near Burnt Store Marina. Cut ladyfish or mullet, live pinfish with the tail clipped off, and Berkley Gulp baits were the best bet.

Trout reports were off and on; plenty of undersized fish but larger ones in any numbers were often a challenge. Some of the better action came from grass flats and points inside the Gulf Passes, and grass/sand areas over the northwest side of Pine Island Sound. Look for clean water for the best results.

We all know it’s hot and if you are working too hard to catch fish it’s just not enjoyable. A great option over the summer is to load up the family and head to one of the beaches. Fish a little, swim a little, but basically take it easy and relax. There are plenty of fish along the beaches to keep the anglers busy and a beautiful beach and water for everyone else. Need I say more!

If you have a fishing report or for charter information, contact us at 239-283-7960, on the Web at www.fishpine-island.com or email: gcl2-fish@live.com

Have a safe week and good fishin’.