On the Water: It was good week on the water
The first week of June brought good weather and opportunities for the offshore angler plus lots of tarpon action.
With both gag grouper and American red snapper season open (ARS only a couple days for recreational anglers), boats made the long run to deeper waters to target both species. For many, the larger snapper were found in depths from 120 to 180 feet, a pretty long ride from our coast. Some boats limited out on good sized ARS while others found it difficult to find fish of keeper size. A few big black and gag grouper plus scamp and large mangrove snapper were caught from these depths.
Anglers not interested in making the long run found a good bite with red grouper and snapper in depths from 70 to 120 feet. Red grouper to 30 inches were hooked on both live and cut bait along with good numbers of lane, vermilion and mangrove snapper. Hard fighting goliath grouper, barracuda and amberjack were found over wrecks in the same depths.
With tarpon season in full swing and a string of days with light winds, fish were jumped all around local waters. Off the beaches, tarpon pods were sight-fished off Sanibel’s Knapp’s Point and from Redfish Pass north to Stump Pass in depths from 9 to 20 feet. The best bite was near dusk and dawn, and sporadically throughout the day. Good numbers of fish were in and around Boca Grande Pass and tarpon sightings and hook-ups were reported throughout Pine Island Sound. Many of these fish are on the move and you never know where they may show up from day to day.
Inshore snapper fishing is on the rise with good numbers of fish to 14 inches reported. Most were caught while targeting island points, overhangs and blow downs on the higher stages of tide. Live shrimp and cut sardines or pinfish worked best with a small (1/0) hook and light (12-20lb) fluorocarbon leader. A few redfish and snook were also caught while targeting snapper.
Catch-and-release snook fishing was good around the gulf passes, beaches and the east and west wall of Charlotte Harbor. Many of the fish are running 22 to 25 inches with some larger fish in the mix. As always, please release them quickly and please do not feed them to flipper. Many times when the dolphin move in, it’s best to put the rods up for a bit or move on all together. Believe me; they are more than capable of catching their own fish.
Reports of sea trout varied day to day throughout inshore waters. Anglers found plenty of undersized fish but often a chore locating larger fish. A few trout to 18 inches were caught north of Bokeelia and around the piers. Fish were scattered off the east side of Punta Blanca Island, over grass flats between Captiva and Redfish Pass, and in 4 to 5-foot depths west of Regla Island. Bluefish, small sharks, ladyfish and an occasional mackerel were also hooked from these areas.
We finally had consecutive days without the strong winds, overcast at times but good fishing weather. It’s so much easier to pattern fish and put a plan together with consistent weather, especially targeting tarpon or running offshore. Hopefully the winds are over for a while and more good days on the water are ahead.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.