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On the Water: A cool start to the month of May

By Staff | May 17, 2017

We generally do not associate cool weather with the month of May, however that’s just what we got heading into the weekend as north winds stirred up the waters and brought a drop in temperature. Of course, the drop in the thermometer and humidity was a welcome change for most, but for the serious angler it was an unwanted setback. Good news, by Sunday the wind was down and a warming trend should follow.

With many gearing up and targeting tarpon, many days over the past week were a challenge. Strong winds for many days made it nearly impossible to fish the beaches and to locate concentrations of fish inshore. There were reports of good tarpon action off Sanibel’s Knapp’s Point and off the beach of Cayo Costa early in the week on the calm mornings.

The best bet inshore was to go to a favorite or known tarpon area, drop the anchor and fish cut bait on bottom, and maybe a live pinfish or crab under a float. Along with tarpon hook-ups, sharks from 3 to 7 feet were brought boat-side, including blacktip, spinner, lemon, sand and bonnet head. Best baits included mullet and ladyfish. Off the beaches, the best bite was early in the morning then sporadic throughout the day. Small live crabs, thread herring, pinfish and squirrel fish were top baits.

Snook and redfish fishing was decent as the front approached as pre-front conditions brought strong tides and high water, then dropped off with the north winds. Snook to 35 inches were reported around the Gulf passes including Blind, Redfish and Captiva. Best baits were pilchards, pinfish and grunts. Good snook action was also found along the east and west walls of Charlotte Harbor over the higher tides around oyster bars and sand trenches along shorelines. Snook season is closed, make sure you safely and quickly release all fish.

A few redfish to 28 inches were hooked in mid-Pine Island Sound while casting gold spoons and live or cut pinfish near and under mangrove shorelines on the higher water. During the low water brought on by the strong north or easterly winds, a few anglers in shallow water skiffs found redfish in sand holes between Islands south of Pineland. Mostly undersized redfish, snook and a few “keeper” size trout were caught over the windy days from creeks in “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge.

Trout fishing was tough for many with the water very stirred up and dirty. A few limits of fish were reported over flats inside of Redfish Pass and near the channel leading into Blind Pass. Pelican Bay off the east side of Cayo Costa State Park also held a number of trout. Northern Matlacha Pass yielded good action with mostly undersized trout in 3 to 5-foot depths east of the channel, plus a few larger trout over sand holes between Buzzard Bay and Two Pines. Look for water clarity to improve and the bite to get back on track over the upcoming days.

While it felt nice to open up the windows, I really hope that was the last cool front of the season. The slight drop in temperature isn’t the problem, the strong winds that always accompany a front is. It takes several days for the winds to die down and everything on the water to get back on track. We should be getting into our prime tarpon fishing, we just need the weather to cooperate.

If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact us at Gulf Coast Guide Service at 239-283-7960, on the Web at www.fishpineisland.com or email gcl2fish@live.com

Have a safe week and good fishin’.

As a native of Pine Island, Bill Russell has spent his entire life fishing and learning the waters surrounding Pine Island and as a professional fishing guide for the past 18 years.