homepage logo

On the Water: Good week on the water despite the heat

By Staff | Jul 30, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED On a family vacation to Upper Captiva Island, Hannibal Henriksen, visiting from Denmark, was all smiles after out dueling this big barracuda. The barracuda was caught and released in near-shore gulf waters while fishing with Capt. Bill Russell.

Overall the weather was great on the water over the past week. Of course, it is summer, so it was hot as expected. However, after watching the heat wave across much of the country, we have it pretty good. Fishing was slow at times and unpredictable from day to day, but that’s normal for the heat of summer.

Light winds allowed boats to trek out into gulf waters. Red grouper with a few pushing 30 inches were caught over hard bottom in depths from 85 to 110 feet. Mangrove, lane and vermilion snapper, plus a few porgies and African pompano, were also boated from the same bottom.

Public or man-made wrecks and reefs in around the same depths yielded hard fighting fish including amberjack, goliath grouper, barracuda and sharks. A few boats found night fishing these areas over the full moon a success for yellowtail and other snapper. Fishing nearshore artificial reefs within sight of land, anglers report a variety including mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, barracuda, sharks, goliath grouper and permit.

The Spanish mackerel bite was off and on around the gulf passes and the south side of the Sanibel causeway. Small silver spoons with a fast retrieve was the top method while on the drift, and freelining live pilchards, herring or shrimp worked well. Ladyfish were numerous in these areas – if the mackerel weren’t around the ladyfish picked up the slack.

With snook in their summer spawn pattern, the best action came from areas around the gulf passes. Several fish up to 40 inches were caught and released from Blind Pass north to Boca Grande Pass. Best baits included live pinfish, pigfish and large pilchards or thread herring. Good numbers of smaller male snook up to 26 inches were sighted along the surf of Sanibel and Captiva islands. Small white jigs and flies, plus live shrimp and pilchards, were top baits.

Capt. Bill Russell

Week after week the mangrove snapper bite has remained consistent. Fish up to 15 inches were boxed around the gulf passes and nearby mangrove shorelines. From land, anglers hooked snapper from Blind Pass, the Sanibel and Bokeelia fishing piers and the Matlacha Bridge. Bait of choice include live shrimp, pilchards dead or alive, and frozen sardines.

A few anglers found success while targeting catch-and-release redfish. Most are running in singles or pairs as fish up to 30 inches took live and cut bait under mangrove shorelines and points across the eastern and western walls of Pine Island Sound. On the lower stages of the tide similar size fish were found along drop-offs and troughs around sand bars and shorelines along the eastern side of Charlotte Harbor. A few big redfish were also reported around the old phosphate dock at Boca Grande Pass.

We are at that time of summer with the potential for nasty thunderstorms to appear daily and often rather quick. It still amazes me how quick a small cloud can blow up into a massive thunderhead. If you are on the water, pay close attention to the sky and cloud formations. Keep an exit strategy so you have a path to your home port or dock without a storm in between. If the lightning starts popping nearby, if possible, get to a sheltered or protected area. Pulling up against a mangrove island is far safer than remaining over open water. While rain is just an inconvenience, lightning is deadly, please take it seriously.

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 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.