Slow tides and hot summer weather made for some challenging days of fishing much of the past week. The bite was best early in the day, from sun up until about noon, then again late in the afternoon until dusk. As we headed through the weekend, the tides strengthened — and so did the bite
Redfish are under the mangrove shorelines if you are willing to put in the time, most are singles or pairs averaging 20 to 27 inches. Captain Dick May of Bokeelia reports upper slot fish taken on shrimp fished under the bushes in mid-Pine Island Sound. On my boat, we are catching one or two redfish here and there while targeting Islands in Buzzard Bay of Matlacha Pass. Live silver dollar-size pinfish or pilchards tail hooked on a circle hook and floated under a popping cork gave us the best results.
If you don't get any takers in five minutes make a move, many time just a short move can make all the difference. The best chance to hook a red was over the last hour of the rising and first hour of the falling tide. Several snook were also caught and released and a few larger ones were lost under the mangroves while looking for redfish.
Trout and Spanish mackerel are in Charlotte Harbor near Bokeelia, and Pine Island Sound from Cayo Costa south to the Sanibel Causeway. Look for the clearest water possible for the best action — at times, that's easier said than done.
Captain Gary Clark found action with trout, mackerel and small sharks on the Gulf Side of the Sanibel Causeway near marker 6. Captain Dick May reports a good trout bite in the northern Sound on the western side from Captiva Pass to the north entrance to Pelican Bay on Cayo Costa. North of Bokeelia over deeper grass flats, Captain Cliff Simer found scattered trout to 20 inches, big Spanish mackerel and small sharks. On my boat, we found trout and mackerel over grass flats near Smokehouse Bay and along the eastern shore of the Harbor near Burnt Store Marina.
Tarpon are still around the Harbor, off the beaches and in the Passes. Many of the out of town guides and anglers have went back home — this should put a lot less pressure on the tarpon remaining in our waters. We hooked several tarpon in Charlotte Harbor over the week, both on live pilchards and on cut ladyfish. Our most exciting was about a 90-pound fish hooked on a small trout rod rigged with a live pilchard. It was the anglers first time fishing Florida; he got a good six jumps before it parted the 30-pound leader. Thank God... that would have been a long fight on a very hot day!
Sharks are plentiful anywhere you choose to fish and are often a good option on the hot days. Hammerheads and blacktips were hooked off the beaches by anglers chasing tarpon. Inshore, lemon sharks to seven feet were caught and released from areas near the power lines on the Sanibel side in the southern Sound and Punta Blanca Island in the upper Sound. Lemons, blacktip and bulls were found in the Harbor in five to eight foot depths along the outside of the many sand bars that border the Harbor.
Fishing should be good for the upcoming week, especially during the strong incoming tides. Our water was really getting warm, or should I say HOT, but we are finally getting some rain and that has helped a lot to cool the temperature down. Cooler water and strong new moon tides should equate into some good fishing as we head into the new month.
If you have a fishing story or for charter information, please contact us at 239-283-7960 or www.fishpineisland.com. Have a safe week and good fishin'.
While visiting from Cincinnati, Ohio, Jerry Baldwin started the day of right with this fat redfish just shy of 27 inches. He was fishing Buzzard Bay in Matlacha Pass on a charter with Captain Bill Russell.