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On the Water: Typical summer weather, typical summer fishing

By Staff | Jul 26, 2017

Over the past week we settled into a typical summer weather pattern with light winds, blue skies, very hot and sticky, followed by some wicked afternoon thunderstorms. All in all a good week of fishing, as long as you prepared for the heat and kept an eye on the sky.

Anglers continue to report limits of tasty mangrove snapper both inshore and off. Often the bite was a little slower than in recent weeks but still pretty good. Inshore, fish are averaging 10 to 14 inches with a few larger and offshore are running bigger, averaging from 15 to 20 inches. Inshore reports were widespread with snapper reported around the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River; the Sanibel and Bokeelia piers; Blind Pass Bridge; Redfish, Captiva and Boca Grande passes; and 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 from 30 out past 100 feet while fishing over ledges and reefs.

Also offshore, grouper were caught but action was slower than expected. Reds up to 26 inches were caught in depths from 50 to 90 feet while dropping live pinfish or squid. Further out, past 100 feet a few big gags were reported along with a couple carbo or black grouper. Sharks of all sizes including a few 10 feet or better were also plentiful offshore.

Catch-and-release snook fishing was good along Sanibel beach where often the best option was walking the beach and sight fishing the surf. Fish are feeding on schools of small sardines; the best baits were ether flies like a Clouser or Deceiver that imitated the bait, or actually cast netting and baiting up with the small sardines. Several tarpon were also hooked off the beaches early or late in the day on live thread herring or small crabs.

Over the days with long hours of 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 other live baits. 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, and please, do not feed them to Flipper.

Fishing over grass flats in 4 to 8-foot depths, a mixed bag consisting of trout, jacks, ladyfish, bluefish, snapper and sharks were caught around Chino Island at the southern end of the Sound, the western end of Rocky Channel and to the north off Bokeelia Shoals. These fish are feeding heavily on schools of small baitfish, either netting and using the real thing or small lures that imitate them is the best bet for action.

On the days with no threat of rain, meaning no cloud cover, it is very hot. Shade is at a premium on a boat under those conditions, it doesn’t take much, just the shade of a small T-top or bimini, or even a beach umbrella 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 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.