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On the Water: Good results fishing the full moon

By Staff | May 25, 2017

While many anglers focused on tarpon, full moon tides also brought good action for other species over the week.

Full moon tides put anglers on the chase for tarpon through the week. Over early morning hours, tarpon were hooked off the Sanibel Beach near Knapp’s Point out to several miles in the gulf and to the north near Helen’s Reef southwest of Cayo Costa State Park. By the end of the week, many of the gulf fish moved into Boca Grande Pass. During the afternoon / evening falling or hill tides, tarpon were targeted in Boca Grande and Captiva passes. Baits of choice included small live crabs, thread herring, pilchards, pinfish and squirrelfish. Strong winds over the weekend made fishing difficult after a near perfect week.

Nearshore reefs and ledges, often not too far from the tarpon, gave up a variety of fish including permit, snook, snapper, grouper, cobia, Spanish mackerel, plus big sharks and goliath grouper. Most of the reefs are public numbers available on local charts or online.

Catch-and-release snook fishing was reported from the Gulf passes, including Blind and Redfish. Either anchoring or drifting along docks or structure with a variety of live baits or white bucktail jigs got the most action. Good numbers of snook also came from Charlotte Harbor near Burnt Store Marina, where live pilchards, thread herring and white Clouser Minnow flies worked best. Remember, snook season is closed, please handle them with care and quickly return them to the water.

Redfish were also found on the eastern side of the Harbor on the top of the tide and along oyster shorelines outside Bull and Turtle bays. In Matlacha Pass, redfish were hooked along shorelines south of the bridge from the powerlines south to Sword’s Point. In the Sound, fish were reported scattered on various islands and keys near Flamingo Bay and in creeks and along shorelines and oyster bars in the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge.

While live baits are a lot more fun to fish with, dead or cut bait appears to get better results. Shrimp, cut crab, cut grunts, pinfish, sardines, mullet and ladyfish all are good dead bait choices. Be prepared to catch a few catfish while waiting for those reds to pick up on the scent. Tossing out handfuls of fish or shrimp cut into small pieces also helps get the scent out and bring in the reds faster

Anglers targeting trout often found decent action over areas including San Carlos Bay along the bar near Marker 13 and from Tarpon Bay to the powerlines while drifting 3 to 6-foot grass flats. In the Pine Island Sound, fish to 20 inches were hooked along bar drop-offs and grass flats in 4 to 6-foot depths from Blind Pass channel north to Captiva Pass and from the fish shacks south to Hemp Key. In Matlacha Pass, trout were caught along the channel edges north of the bridge often near schooling threadfins, and scattered trout were caught from Marker 74 up to Two-Pines on either side of the bar.

As summer nears, we are experiencing a lot of floating grass and algae, often making it difficult to fish. The incoming tide is generally more fishable as the floating grasses are usually far worse on the falling tide.

Keep an eye out for those schooling threadfins. At times they are everywhere both inshore and offshore. Large schools can often be seen dimpling the surface, especially on the flat calm days. This can be a smorgasbord for a variety of fish. Large mackerel, bluefish, trout, sharks, jacks, tarpon and cobia are likely lurking under the schools. Drifting a live thread or long cast with a lure, spoon or fly can often lead to something good.

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.