On the Water: Storms and rain challenge fishermen
Much of the past week gave us morning thunderstorms building off the coast and moving onshore. Some days it stormed much of the day with plenty of dangerous lightning and other days there were fishable breaks in the weather.
Offshore, boats working around the storms found good bottom fishing in depths from 70 to 150 feet. Decent numbers of red grouper were hooked beginning around the 80-foot mark, plus a few gags along with yellowtail and mangrove snapper. Red snapper were caught in depths of 100 feet and deeper.
A little closer to the coast, a mix of bottom fish, including lane, vermilion and mangrove snapper, plus grunts, porgies and a few keeper-size red grouper were caught over hard or coral bottom Southwest of Sanibel in depths from 50 to 70 feet.
Inshore, fishing reports were pretty good for the few anglers that worked around the storms. Overcast rainy days with strong tides can make for some good fishing. Redfish in the upper slot or near 27 inches were caught in mid-Pine Island Sound around oyster bars and along shorelines north of Demere Key. Several reds, plus a few snook were hooked in the Indian Fields area of Matlacha in the morning hours while casting top-water lures or fishing live pinfish under a cork. Snook were also caught and released in good numbers along the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor, on the beaches from Cayo Costa to Sanibel, around Blind Pass and inside Redfish and Captiva passes.
Just as they have been all summer, mangrove snapper were caught in good numbers and size throughout the inshore waters and in the Gulf passes. It’s best to use a small hook and light leader; shrimp, small pilchards and pinfish all work great, at times live bait works best and other times cut bait is the ticket.
Tarpon were scattered with hook-ups coming along the beaches of Cayo Costa and Boca Grande as well as Charlotte Harbor, plus a few smaller fish from Matlacha Pass and southern Pine Island Sound.
A positive from the cloudy, rainy days is cooler water temperatures. There will be a significant drop and this is good for two reasons. First, with cooler water it is a little more difficult for a tropical storm to gain strength in the Gulf waters. Not that there are any out there but it is the height of hurricane season and cooler water, even if it’s just a few degrees, can’t hurt. And second, a drop in temperature can really get the fish active and feeding, especially inshore. No doubt the sun will return and quickly warm things back up, so get out there soon.
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 email@example.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.