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On the Water: Fishing is good around full moon tides

By Staff | Oct 22, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED John Lambrecht of Pine Island scored with this tasty 27-inch gag grouper. It was caught on a live pinfish near Captiva Pass while fishing with Capt. Bill Russell.

Days leading up to the full moon brought good water movement and extremely high tides. With a week of good weather to go with the tides, fishing reports were on point for the most part.

Good action with Spanish mackerel was found in north Matlacha Pass, throughout Charlotte Harbor, in Pine Island Sound near the Gulf passes and near the Sanibel Causeway. Often the schooling macks were located by watching for birds. Jack crevalle, ladyfish, sea trout and sharks were often caught as well. Silver spoons, jerk baits, live pilchards and shrimp were the favored baits.

Redfish numbers were good over the week, although the average size dropped. Most fish averaged 20 to 25 inches and were targeted along shoreline and around the perimeter of oyster bars. For baits, live shrimp, fresh cut pinfish and ladyfish, plus Berkley Gulp shrimp were top choices.

Snook were caught and released in the same areas as redfish. A few areas worth noting included the western wall of Charlotte Harbor near Turtle Bay, islands adjacent to Rocky Channel and areas around Buck Key. Snook were also hooked inside Blind Pass as well as Captiva and Redfish Passes.

For those lucky enough to locate a school, pompano were hooked in Charlotte Harbor off the eastern shore, and in Pine Island Sound between Boca Grande and Captiva Passes. Most were caught circling back and drifting an area after a fish or two skipped in the boats wake while under way. Live shrimp under a float, plus small pompano jigs got their attention.

Capt. Bill Russell

Mangrove snapper up to 14 inches were found throughout Pine Island Sound and the Gulf passes. They were targeted in all sorts of areas including sand holes, mangrove shorelines and points, underwater structure, docks and piers, plus hard bottom in the passes. Best baits included shrimp, pilchards, small pinfish, plus small white jigs tipped with shrimp.

Offshore, wrecks in 80-foot depths or more are holding large predator fish in good numbers, including barracuda, amberjack, goliath grouper and sharks. Snapper fishing was also good over the wrecks, but most anglers found it near impossible to get a hooked fish of any size past the bigger predators.

Getting away from the wrecks and fishing hard bottom turned up a mix of red grouper, plus lane, mangrove snapper and a few porgies. Several large cobia were also hanging over wrecks.

It’s that time of year for gag grouper to move to shallower depths. A few boats trolled up gags to 28 inches over depths less that 40 feet west of Blind Pass. Deep diving lures mentioned included Mann’s Stretch 25 and 30 and Rapala’s. Spanish mackerel schools were also noted around the same depths.

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.

With the slightly cooler days and lower humidity, it’s really comfortable on the water right now. Also, with the lack of rain over recent months, our water clarity has remained good. If you catch a fish or not, this is a great time to get on the water just to relax and explore.

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.