On the Water: Local anglers enjoy another warm week
Despite a northeasterly breeze, the weather was pleasant and sunny over most days this past week. With the continued mild weather, fishing was pretty good, a little rough for the offshore boats but not too bad inshore.
Sea trout were reported throughout the inshore waters primarily over grassy bottom in 3 to 6-foot depths. Most were running in size from 13 to 17 inches. The best bet is to look for clean or clear water and work the area drifting while casting soft plastic artificials or live shrimp under popping corks. If the wind is pushing the boat at a good clip, it’s a good strategy to mark the spot where you hook a couple and circle back around, anchor up and fish the area.
Several big trout to 25 inches were reported around the islands including sand or potholes between the power lines and Blind Pass around northeast Sanibel, potholes near Demere Key, the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor and around oyster bars in south Matlacha Pass. Look for them in the deeper holes and trenches on the low water then moving on the flats and oyster bars with the rising water. Each angler is allowed only one fish exceeding 20 inches.
It’s that time of year to start thinking about sheepshead as the bigger fish make their way inshore and nearshore. Target them around structure, including artificial reefs, docks, shorelines, oyster bars and creeks. From land, the Matlacha Bridge, Sanibel and Bokeelia piers are great places to hook into some big sheepshead, plus lots of other species.
Over the days the wind cooperated, anglers fishing open waters of Charlotte Harbor and areas near the Sanibel Causeway and Gulf passes hooked into Spanish mackerel, bluefish, trout and big ladyfish. Again this week, pompano were caught along the edges of sand bars in 4 to 6 feet of water while bouncing small jigs along the bottom. A few nice flounder were also caught.
Offshore, large schools of Spanish mackerel, plus king mackerel, cobia, tripletail, false albacore and large redfish were found in depths from 20 to 50 feet. Most of the week strong winds kept boats within sight of land.
Anglers often found snook and redfish challenging over the week. Snook, with the exception of a few, were running on the small side and most reds caught measured in the 18 top 27-inch slot. Snook are on the move heading to their winter homes and are likely to appear on most shorelines, cuts, holes, oyster bars and hanging around structure such as docks and piers. Reds were found scattered around oyster bars in the southern Sound and Matlacha Pass on the higher water. Small schools were sight fished over the eastern Sound on low water behind islands in sand holes protected from the wind.
We are at that time of year when conditions are going to change considerably over a week’s time. So far it’s remained relatively warm for this time of the year; by the time you read this it should be slightly cooler. If it doesn’t cool down too much too quick, fishing opportunities should remain good. I hope this scenario continues at least through the remainder of the month, it should offer some good fishing through the upcoming holidays.
Wishing everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving and hope everyone can spend some time on the water with family and friends.
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.