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On the Water: October fishing is off to a good start

By Staff | Oct 15, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Jeanne Arnette is all smiles after landing and releasing one of many redfish during a morning of fishing. She was fishing Charlotte Harbor with Capt. Bill Russell.

Despite days with extreme high tides and a brisk breeze, fishing reports were still good on the waters around Southwest Florida.

Anglers fishing Pine Island Sound report that bait fish are plentiful on grass flats and fishing was good for a mixed variety. Several boats located pods of hungry, juvenile tarpon, and boated snook, redfish and sea trout to complete a Southwest Florida grand slam.

Snook were caught around the Gulf passes, plus keys and islands throughout the sound. Most snook went from 18 to 30 inches with a few larger fish reported. Baits of choice included pinfish, pigfish, pilchards, large shrimp, cut ladyfish and top water lures. Redfish were scattered across the Sound, with the largest fish hooked near the Gulf passes and fish measuring 18 to 28 inches around mangrove shorelines and oyster bars. Same baits mentioned for snook also worked great for reds, plus live pinfish with the tail clipped off worked well. Drifting clear water from mid to northern Pine Island Sound resulted in good trout action. Fish averaging 12 to 18 inches were hooked, along with ladyfish, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, pompano, snapper and sharks. Various baits worked, including live shrimp, pilchards, small pinfish and Berkley Gulps under a popping cork, plus chartreuse or pearl soft jerk baits. Best action came from 4 to 7-foot depths with a grass or mottled bottom.

Fishing remained steady across Matlacha Pass and Charlotte Harbor despite extremely high tides and easterly winds. Targeting shorelines in the northern pass and the eastern side of the harbor yielded good action with snook and redfish, plus big jack crevalle and a few mangrove snapper. Large schooling redfish were also reported working along bars and shorelines around Charlotte Harbor. Trout up to 18 inches were caught off the north side of Bokeelia in 4 to 6-foot depths near the channel. Pompano, bluefish, ladyfish and Spanish mackerel were also in the mix. A few cobia and tripletail were sighted in Charlotte Harbor — it’s getting to be that time of year, be on the lookout.

From shore, a host of species including mangrove snapper, redfish, snook, trout, pompano, black drum, sharks and jack crevalle were hooked from either the Matlacha Draw Bridge or Sanibel and Bokeelia fishing piers.

Capt. Bill Russell

With a brisk wind much of the week, offshore reports were sparse. If conditions allow, wreck fishing in depths from 80 feet and deeper should give anglers an opportunity to battle with some big amberjack, barracuda, goliath grouper and sharks. Bottom fishing the same depth should yield grouper, plus mangrove and lane snapper. Nearshore reefs should hold good concentrations of Spanish mackerel plus a few kings in the upcoming weeks

Please keep updated on current fishing regulations. Redfish, snook and sea trout remained closed for harvest, however you can still enjoy catch-and-release fishing for all three species. Visit to get the latest rules and regulations.

As days continue to get shorter and become a little cooler, fishing will continue to improve. A lot of different fish are making their migration down our coast giving us a host of possibilities. It’s a great time to be on the water, get out there!

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.