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On the Water: Full moon brings some good fishing in area

By Staff | Jul 19, 2017

While working the morning incoming tide, father and son, Marty and Jack Stepanian of Fort Myers, teamed up for a couple good redfish. They were fishing near Bokeelia with Capt. Bill Russell. PHOTO PROVIDED

On the water over the past week, anglers experienced calm seas and scorching heat to go along with great full moon tides.

Offshore, reports of grouper and snapper came from areas 25 to 50 miles in the Gulf. A long run, but the reward was some big grouper and red snapper, plus mangrove, yellowtail and lane snapper, and a couple blackfin tuna.

Closer to shore, a few keeper-size gag grouper and good numbers mangrove snapper and grunts were caught within sight of land. Sharks and barracuda were reported in good numbers cruising over artificial reefs and wrecks along with Spanish mackerel and cobia or two.

Large snook were caught and released in and around the Gulf passes with the best bite over the falling tide. Drifting live baits across the bottom worked for snook to 40 inches. Best baits included pinfish, pigfish, slippery dicks and squirrel fish. Good catch-and-release action with smaller snook was found at Blind Pass, on the Sanibel Beach from Bowman’s to Blind Pass, and Cayo Costa State Park. Baits included white flies in a pilchard pattern, small silver spoons and live pilchards or small pinfish. Several trout to 18 inches, mangrove snapper and flounder were also caught with the snook along the beach.

Over the strong incoming tide, redfish were reported in south Matlacha Pass near Manatee Bay, across Charlotte Harbor in Turtle and Bull Bay, and in Pine Island Sound near north of Demere Key. Redfish to 28 inches were caught on various baits including gold spoons, live pinfish, shrimp and cut mullet or ladyfish. Smaller reds, mostly undersize, were caught while targeting snapper around creeks and island points in south Matlacha Pass and “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel.

It was another good week for snapper. Limits of tasty mangrove snapper were caught throughout the inshore waters and over rocky bottom in Captiva and Boca Grande Passes. Live or fresh shrimp is the top bait, followed with small pilchards and pinfish. The bite is generally best when the tide is moving strong inshore around creeks, shorelines and oyster bars, however when targeting the Passes, a slower tide is often your friend. A strong tide in the Passes just moves too much water and makes it very difficult to keep bait near the bottom in their feeding zone without getting snagged on bottom.

Fish the slower tides, or the last hour before a tide change, through the slack and the beginning of the next tide until it becomes too swift. Good numbers of snapper to 15 inches were reported over the week.

Summer is a great time for shark,s especially if you are entertaining little ones. There are a good number of smaller blacktip, sharp nose and bonnet head sharks cruising flats in depths ranging from 3 to 8 feet. If you are only interested in catching the little guys you can have a blast on light spinning gear, just make sure and use a foot or so of light wire leader. When you’re in a fishy area, toss out a decent size live pinfish a couple feet under a bobber; cut strips of bait also work well. For larger sharks obviously you want heavier tackle, 30 to 50 lb class tackle is what most prefer for inshore. Some prefer to fish large chunks of bait on bottom; some prefer fishing baits under balloons, some drift while others anchor. There really is no right or wrong way, just a matter of what works best for you and the area you are fishing.

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.