On the Water: Fishing against the wind
It would be really nice to have one solid week that we could talk about fishing without weather concerns. Once again over the past week the wind blew on most days and yet another late season front dropped down to end the weekend. Generally speaking, the month of April brings us relatively stable weather, that has not held true this year. With that said, anglers still hit the water and fish were caught, plus there was a couple good weather days mixed in.
Inshore, sea trout and Spanish mackerel were the best thing going for action and putting food on the table. Often, they were both hooked from the same areas. Both were caught while drifting three to six-foot grass flats in Pine Island Sound from the powerlines north to Redfish Pass, between Rocky Channel and the fish shacks, and between Cabbage Key and Captiva Pass. Both species were also hooked from the Bokeelia Fishing Pier. Spanish mackerel were also found west of Bokeelia and across
While some anglers are consistently having success with snook many are finding it difficult and just not seeing any numbers of fish. Back in February it was unusually warm and snook were showing in great numbers then March turned cold and numbers just have not returned as of yet. I know on my boat we are just not locating or hooking the numbers of decent size fish we have come to expect for this month. It could just be me and not fishing the right areas, but at least I know I am not alone. Hopefully we will see improvement moving forward.
Areas that did yield some good fish up to 36 inches included the mouth of the Caloosahatchee near the miserable mile, structure inside the gulf passes, Bokeelia’s Jug Creek, the east side of Charlotte Harbor near Pirate Harbor, and south Matlacha Pass near the Manatee Bay Channel. Redfish were also reported from the same area of Charlotte Harbor and south Matlacha Pass.
Mangrove snapper numbers continue to improve inshore and around the passes. Many are running under the 10-inch minimum but with a little effort its possible to get a limit of tasty filets for dinner. They are running larger in and around the gulf passes, both the Bokeelia and Sanibel fishing piers, plus the Matlacha Draw Bridge are great places to target snapper without a boat.
Conditions haven’t been ideal for tarpon, but they are around and hooked daily. On the windy days the best bet was at anchor while soaking cut mullet, ladyfish, and catfish tails on bottom. If the wind wasn’t blowing, they often could be sighted rolling or free jumping, this was the best time to fish a large live threadfin, big pinfish, or small crab under a float. Offshore, fish were reported in the mornings off Sanibel’s Knapp’s Point. Inshore, fish were targeted between Picnic Island and the Sanibel Causeway in San Carlos Bay, in Pine Island Sound between Captiva Rocks and Captiva Pass, and in Charlotte Harbor near Burnt Store Marina. The best time to fish was over the incoming tide, once the tide turned out it created large amounts of floating grass that made keeping a bait clean near impossible inshore.
Offshore, boats that pick the right day or have the capability to handle rough conditions are returning with good catches of red grouper, plus a mix of snapper, grunts, and porgy. Eighty to 120 feet continues to be the best depth to catch the bigger grouper. King Mackerel up to 25 pounds were also caught from that depth while flat-lining live blue runners.
Consistent weather generally translates to consistent fishing. Nothing about our weather or fishing has showed any consistency for the better part of two months. I’m hoping that changes soon and we see a stretch of good weather to put our April fishing where it should be.
If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact us at: Gulf Coast Guide Service, 239-283-7960 or visit “http://www.fishpineisland.com”>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.