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On the Water: Slightly cooler days heat up fishing

By Staff | Jul 27, 2016

Big barracuda are always a fun battle. David Neilson, vacationing from Demark, hooked this one on a live ladyfish while fishing with Capt. Bill Russell. PHOTO PROVIDED

A slight breeze in the mornings and afternoon thunderstorms gave us a little relief from the scorching heat the previous week. Inshore water temperatures actually dropped about 5 degrees over the week and combined with good tides often resulted in decent fishing.

Many anglers are reporting easy limits of tasty mangrove snapper both inshore and off. Inshore, fish are averaging 10 to 14 inches with a few larger and offshore snapper are running larger, averaging from 13 to 20 inches. Inshore reports were widespread with snapper caught around the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River; the Sanibel and Bokeelia piers; Blind Pass Bridge; Redfish, Captiva and Boca Grande Passes; various docks, oyster bars, and shorelines throughout Matlacha Pass; and Pine Island Sound. Shrimp, pilchards, and small pinfish were the go-to bait with the best bite coinciding with good tide movement.

Offshore, snapper were boated in depths from 20 to 90 feet over natural and manmade reefs

Catch-and-release snook fishing was good along Captiva and Cayo Costa beaches where often the best option was walking the beach and sight fishing the surf. Fish are feeding on schools of small sardines, and the best baits were either flies like a Clouser or Deceiver that mimicked the bait or actually cast netting and baiting up with the small sardines. Several tarpon were also hooked off the beaches between Blind and Redfish Pass on cut bait, live thread herring or small crabs.

During the falling tide, snook were caught and released at Blind, Redfish and Captiva passes. Many are smaller males, but a few over 40 inches were also hooked while drifting pigfish, pinfish and slippery dicks. Remember, snook season is closed, return them to the water quickly, hold and support the larger fish properly, or better yet, do not remove them from the water.

Redfish running in size from 19 to 23 inches were found along island points and oyster bars in Matlacha Pass and on the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor. A few reds to 25 inches were taken around oyster bars and under mangroves in and near Sanibel’s “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge. Shrimp, pinfish, and cut ladyfish worked best.

Fishing over grass flats in 5 to 8-foot depths, a mixed bag consisting of trout, jacks, ladyfish, bluefish and blacktip sharks were caught around Chino and Regla Island at the southern end of the Sound, the western end of Rocky Channel to the north and off Bokeeiia Shoals. Also, despite water quality concerns from Lake Okeechobee, good action on trout, bluefish and some really big mackerel came from grass flats along the gulf side of the Sanibel Causeway. These fish are feeding heavily on schools of small baitfish, either netting and using the real thing or small lures or spoons that imitate them is the best bet for action.

Although it was slightly cooler on the water this past week, it’s summer and it’s still hot. Shade is at a premium on a boat under sunny summer conditions. It doesn’t take much, just the shade of a small T-top or bikini can make all the difference. And make sure to bring along a lot more drinking water than you think you will need and drink often. Fishing can be good, and fun when it’s hot, just make sure you take the proper measure to enjoy it.

If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please 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’.