On the Water: Hot days on the water
Very hot days and not a lot of competition is what most anglers that hit the water experienced over the past week. Plus strong tides gave some good fishing opportunities.
Inshore, snapper, redfish and trout were the main targets. Many anglers reported filling their coolers with limits of tasty mangrove snapper up to 15 inches. Any type of structure, including docks, oyster bars, mangrove shorelines and artificial reefs, in 5 to 15 feet of water, held good numbers of fish. Look for these types of areas coupled with a good tide flow. Small pinfish, pilchards and herrings about 2 inches in length, and live shrimp, were top baits. The preferred rigging included small circle hooks and 10 to 20-pound fluorocarbon leader, with the baits either free-lined or just enough weight to get it to the bottom. South Matlacha Pass, areas around the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River,n inside Redfish and Captiva passes, and Charlotte Harbor were proven areas for snapper over the week.
Strong tides and high water made a good combination for hooking into redfish. Cut bait, including pinfish and ladyfish, often out-fished both live bait and artificial. In mid-Pine Island Sound reds up to 30 inches were taken from sand holes and shoreline overhangs over the rising tide. Live pinfish cut in half or ladyfish chunks fished on bottom worked best for the reds and also took a few flounder and trout. From mid- through late-morning, the best fishing came from cut baits fished as far under the shade of the mangroves as possible. Reds up to 29 inches were reported under the bushes in Smokehouse Bay in northern Matlacha Pass, near Masters Landing at the south end of the Pass, the Two Pines area of Charlotte Harbor, and along the keys in the northeastern Sound. Mangrove snapper and a few snook were also caught from these areas.
With the excess rain and warm water, the flats are shedding a lot of grass. The mass of floating weeds has made it difficult for fishing artificials, especially on the afternoon falling tides.
Several anglers report good action with a mix of fish, including, trout, mackerel, bluefish, sharks, jacks and ladyfish. A steady bite was found In the Sound over the deeper grass flats off the east side of the intracoastal from Red Light Shoals north to the fish shacks. Similar action was found over grass flats off the gulf side off the Sanibel Causeway and south of St. James City between Marker 13 and the mouth of Tarpon Bay. Fish were caught on live baits, including shrimp, pinfish and pilchards; Gulp shad tails under a rattling cork; and also fresh ladyfish strips under a rattling cork. A few of the trout measured up to 20 inches and many of the sharks were hard-fighting blacktips or bonnet heads averaging about 3 feet.
Offshore, mangrove snapper up to 18 inches were caught over nearshore reefs in 20 to 40 feet of water, plus undersizes grouper, grunts, porgies, a few sharks and goliath grouper. A little deeper found good numbers of lane snapper mixed with mostly undersized red grouper. Larger grouper, with gags 28 inches and reds to 26 were boated in 80 to 120-foot depths. Live pinfish and jig/Spanish sardine or jig/squid combos were the top baits for grouper.
Pinfish was best for gags and the combos for the reds.
Most days it’s been brutally hot on the water after mid-morning. If there is any type of breeze, it’s not too bad but with no air movement it’s very easy to get overheated. I can’t stress enough to bring lots of drinking water and stay hydrated, drink often even if you think you don’t need to.
A little shade can go along ways to make the day tolerable. If you do not have a top of any type on your boat, something as simple as a beach umbrella can give you a shade and make a huge difference.
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.