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On the Water: Weather dictating fishing right now

By Staff | Oct 24, 2018

Capt. Bill Russell

Weather dictated the fishing over the past week as conditions were all over the place. Early in the week as Hurricane Michael was churning in the Gulf of Mexico to our west, we felt outer bands with gusty winds and rain, plus some very high tides. Then as the weekend rolled in, we were greeted with our first cool front of the season. It wasn’t much and only lasted one day, but it did bring a stiff northerly breeze on Saturday that resulted in lower than normal tides.

Offshore, the seas were high and unsettled most of the week with a few reports coming in before the storm reached gulf waters. Hard-fighting fish including amberjack, sharks and king mackerel were hooked while dropping live bait over wrecks in depths beginning around 100 feet. Also, out past a hundred feet, the bottom fishing bite was somewhat slow with several red grouper up to 27 inches, plus lane, vermilion and mangrove snapper.

Inshore, fishing was good early in the week as the southwest wind begun. Good numbers of catch-and-release snook and redfish were found throughout Pine Island Sound. The wind pushing the incoming tide moved a lot of water and bait, and shoreline points and oyster bars yielded good action on both if you were at the right place at the right time. A few large schools of redfish were also working the Sound with most fish running over 30 inches.

Similar reports with snook and redfish also came from the east and western shores of Charlotte Harbor and the Boca Grande side of Boca Grande Pass. From land, both snook and redfish were caught and released from the Bokeelia Fishing Pier along with many other species.

In Matlacha Pass, anglers report catching a snook or redfish here or there, plus plenty of jack crevalle and mangrove snappers. A few sea trout up to 20 inches were also reported south of the bridge east of marker 33 and at the north end near the resume normal speed sign.

Mangrove snapper and sea trout were in good numbers across many areas of Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor. Look for the snapper around the deeper shorelines and oyster bars, plus any type of structure. Trout were found over grass bottom in 3 to 8-foot depths. Both fish respond well to chum and activity. Once you get them feeding, there is a great chance that more and more will move in for a meal.

Fishing reports have been pretty silent to the south end with the water quality issues in recent months. I did here of a report of some good action on lemon and bull sharks between St. James City and Punta Rassa. That’s a good sign and hope to here some more reports from that area.

Again, this week the inshore waters of Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor looked good. The water in many areas is very clear with great visibility and bait has been plentiful. Looking for action with some young kids the other day we anchored in about 5 feet of water over a grassy bottom in Charlotte Harbor. About five minutes and a little chumming, we had non-stop action with sea trout, plus jacks, blue and ladyfish. Something was on the bait every cast. We should be past the rainy season and hopefully conditions remain on the upward trend.

If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact us at: Gulf Coast Guide Service, 239-283-7960 or visit www.fishpineisland.com or email gcl2fish@live.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.