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On the Water: Fishing up and down over the last week

By Staff | Apr 18, 2018

PHOTO PROVIDED Bob Schulenberg and his fishing buddies from the Brooks Fishing Club teamed up for their limit of big trout over the weekend. They were fishing in Charlotte Harbor with Capt. Bill Russell.

Over the past week on the water we experienced days with very strong winds, flat calm days, good strong tides followed by days with little or no tide. Needless to say, fishing was all over the place, from great to bad and everywhere in between.

Tarpon reports were on the rise both inshore and offshore over the days the winds cooperated. Schooling fish were located in 20 to 30-foot depths west of Fort Myers Beach and off Sanibel’s Knapp’s Point. Inshore, fish were located in San Carlos Bay between St. James City and the C-span of the Sanibel Causeway, and mid-Pine Island Sound west of Demere Key.

Good numbers of king and Spanish mackerel were harassing baits around the artificial reefs in 30 to 50-foot depths. Trolling silver spoons and freelining live pilchards worked best. Watch for birds working the water to help locate the schooling macks.

Grouper reports came from depths from 80 to 125 feet with red grouper up to 31 inches boxed. The larger fish were in the deeper water. A few boats also put a mess of big yellowtail snapper in the fish box. Lane snapper were caught in good size and numbers in depths from 50-90 feet. Big sharks also harassed anglers while targeting grouper and snapper.

Fishing inshore over the week left many anglers feeling really good one day and scratching their head the next. Trout gave the most consistent bite including some big gator trout up to 26 inches. Most of the larger fish were caught while targeting snook along shorelines and sand or pot holes in Pine Island Sound with live bait. Bottom mixed with grass and sandy areas held good numbers of fish running from 13 to 18 inches. A few areas mentioned included areas off the east shore of north Captiva Island, south of Useppa Island and Cabbage Key, and outside Sanibel’s Tarpon Bay, near the idle buoys.

Bill Russell

Like the wind, snook reports were up and down all week. The little guys were often willing to bend a rod, but as usual the big girls weren’t as cooperative day to day. A few snook to 30 inches were reported from south Matlacha Pass that were hooked on either live pilchards or cut mullet. In Pine Island Sound a few big snook and plenty of undersized fish were hooked around the gulf passes and around the islands off the eastern shore.

With the rising water temperature, Spanish mackerel and bluefish are making their way into local waters. Both were reported inshore with some of the mackerel running large. Reports came from areas including Rocky Channel and east of Part Island in Pine Island Sound and in Charlotte Harbor outside Bull Bay and north of Bokeelia.

Fishing with live shrimp around docks, piers, bridges and oyster bars in Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass worked for a mix of mangrove snapper and black drum, plus a few big sheepshead.

The fishing wasn’t always great over the past week, and often the wind was gusting, but on a good note, the temperature was consistent. No cool fronts allowed the water temperature to climb up to 80 degrees. This week we should get on favorable tides with moving the water, let’s hope that’s results in good fishing.

If you have a fishing report of for charter information, please contact us at: Gulf Coast Guide Service, phone: 239-283-7960, Website: “http://www.fishpineisland.com”>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.