On the Water: Getting back to fishing — good and bad
This week we are getting back to fishing reports, good or bad. Yes, red tide is still affecting many areas, but there are also unaffected waters and anglers bending a rod.
Offshore, in Gulf waters, anglers bottom fishing found a bite beginning around 40 to 50 feet deep, and it got better as you went deeper. A mix of lane and mangrove snapper, plus mostly undersized grouper, were caught in depths 60 feet and less. From 80 to 100 feet, the snapper were bigger and a few grouper to 30 inches were boated. Deeper water out to 140 feet turned up bigger grouper, plus snapper and porgy. Best baits were squid or sardines either on a knocker rig or a heavy jig. Dead fish were reported floating from just off the beaches out to 5 or 10 miles.
Many anglers are reporting an unusual number of sharks along the eastern side of Pine Island Sound. Blacktip, spinners, hammerheads, lemons and bulls, running in size from 2 to 5 feet were concentrated in 2 to 6-foot depths. Cut mullet or ladyfish, either fished under a float or on bottom, were the best bet to hook-up.
Anglers targeting tarpon found success in Charlotte Harbor from the point of Cape Haze to the Peace River Bridge. They could often be sighted rolling on the surface on calm mornings. Live ladyfish and mullet, plus DOA Bait Busters and spoons were the top baits. Also, in Charlotte Harbor, fishing along bar edges near Bokeelia resulted in a mix of undersized trout, jack crevalle, mangrove snapper, lady and bluefish. Similar catches were also reported from the Bokeelia Fishing Pier.
Oversized redfish were hooked in Matlacha Pass and off the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor near Two-Pines. Cut bait, including mullet and ladyfish, worked well along mangrove points on the morning incoming tides, and the late afternoon gave anglers low water opportunities to chase tailing reds with flies or lures. Snook and snapper were also hooked along the islands on the higher water.
Pompano, with a few permit mixed in, were caught just of the channel edges in north Matlacha Pass and off the north side of Bokeelia.
The best action came on the falling water while fishing shrimp under a bobber or bouncing various brands of pompano-style jigs.
While much of the area is still under the spell of bad water, there are fishy areas and hopefully we will see more moving forward. It’s been great the past couple weeks to see all the communities and concerned citizens unite to fight for change. Many anglers and guides have adopted to catch-and-release only for inshore game fish moving forward. At least until a stock assessment can be made.
There are a lot of little things each of us can do moving forward to help offset the damage. It may be releasing a fish, holding off on the fertilizer or not blowing yard clippings into the canal or waterway. I know when you look at the big picture these seem minor, but it is a step in the right direction and a direction we need to move towards.
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 email@example.com.
Have a safe week and good fishin’.
As a native of Pine Island, Capt. 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.