On the Water: Fishing’s good despite unsettled weather
Despite heavy rain showers that were likely to appear any time of day, fishing wasn’t too bad for those who ventured out over the week.
For table fare, it’s been hard to beat mangrove snapper throughout the summer. They were caught inshore under mangrove overhangs, around oyster bars and under docks, piers and bridges. Rock ledges in the gulf passes, offshore ledges and artificial reefs also produced well. Best baits included live shrimp, pilchards, small pinfish and cut ballyhoo or sardines.
With strong tides, reports of good snook action came from gulf passes including Blind, Captiva and Redfish. Over the incoming water, snook were caught and released in Charlotte Harbor between Burnt Store Marina and Pirates Harbor, plus around the entrance to Bull Bay. Redfish reports are on the rise, with fish to 29 inches hooked from the same areas with the snook, plus under the mangroves on high water in Matlacha Pass and northern Pine Island Sound. Redfish should become more abundant as the larger fish begin to school up in the coming weeks.
Several anglers report a good number of tarpon, with multiple hook-ups and plenty of fish sighted rolling early in the mornings. Fish to 90 pounds were put in the air off the western side of the intracoastal waterway from Redfish Pass north to Boca Grande. Tarpon hook-ups also came from the north end of Charlotte Harbor near the U.S. 41 bridge. Bull and blacktip sharks were also hooked while targeting tarpon. Kayak anglers noted good numbers of juvenile tarpon while fishing in and around Sanibel’s “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge.
Charlotte Harbor and north Pine Island Sound provided hot action with a variety of fish in depths from 5-8 feet. Sea trout, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, snapper, jack crevalle, small sharks, plus a few cobia were hooked from the same areas. Some of these areas held good numbers of smaller trout — a good sign for the future. Often the bite started slow, but once the action got going, it continually attracted more fish into the activity. Kids love this type of fishing with lots of action and a different fish every cast. The possibility of hooking a shark is icing on the cake for the kids.
The few days weather allowed boats offshore, the better reports came from depths between 80 and 120 feet. Limits of red grouper to 30 inches, plus a variety of snapper including mangrove, lane, yellowtail, and vermilion were boxed. Permit, sharks to 7 feet, and goliath grouper were also hooked.
It’s hard to believe, but summer is almost over for the kids as they will soon return to school. Fishing is pretty good and as of now so is the water quality, a big difference from a year ago. Get those kids on the water and let them bend some rods at least one more time before they head back to school.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.