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On the Water: An up and down week on the water

By Staff | Apr 23, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Asger Hansen, visiting Southwest Florida from Denmark, caught and released this blacktip shark in Pine Island Sound. Asger and his father were fishing with Capt. Tony Price.

For a good part of the past week, anglers dealt with windy conditions and days with slow tides at times. As expected, fishing reports were all over the place, from good to terrible, and everywhere in between.

Good reports and consistent action with Spanish mackerel came from areas around the C-span of the Sanibel Causeway, plus both Redfish and Captiva passes. Best bite was over the incoming tide while casting silver spoons or free-lining live pilchards or shrimp. Ladyfish and bluefish were also caught with the mackerel.

Even on the windy days the snook bite stayed consistent throughout the inshore waters. Fish up to 37 inches were caught and released throughout Pine Island Sound, Matlacha Pass and Charlotte Harbor. As with the mackerel, the best action often came over the incoming tide. Bait of choice included live pilchards, thread herring, pinfish and a variety of lures.

I did not hear of a lot of big trout over 20 inches hooked over the week, however most of the larger fish were mixed in with snook along shorelines and oyster bars, including a few big gators up to 25 inches. Sea trout averaging 13 to 17 inches were hooked over grassy bottom off the west side of Bokeelia, between Cabbage Key and Captiva Pass and in north Matlacha Pass. Trout were also caught along the beach at Cayo Costa State Park. Live bait fish, shrimp, Zoom jerk baits and Mirrolure Mirrodines were top baits.

Redfish were similar to the bigger trout, most of the larger fish were hooked while targeting snook. A few fish up to 30 inches were caught around islands on the eastern side of Pine Island Sound and around oyster bars up the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor. Smaller reds with most under 20 inches were caught around creeks and under mangrove shorelines in and around “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel. Jack crevalle up to 10 pounds was another by-catch for many anglers while targeting snook.

Capt. Bill Russell

For hard pulling action, sharks often cooperated on most days along with big stingrays. Best areas included sandy bottom in 5 to 10-foot depths adjacent to grass flats and shallower areas in Pine Island Sound. Most sharks reported were hooked on cut ladyfish, mullet and jack crevalle, plus a few bonnet heads that went for live shrimp. A few tarpon were also jumped from the same areas. Early in the week tarpon were reported in decent numbers near Redfish Pass, however once the wind settled in locating fish became difficult.

I’m not sure what this week brings, but hopefully a little less wind. Our water looks good, bait schools are plentiful inshore and off the beaches, as well as a variety of game fish including tarpon. Just give us some consistent good weather and calm seas so the offshore boats can do their thing and inshore fishing is more enjoyable.

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.