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On the Water: Fewer anglers means good fishing

September 24, 2014
By Capt. Bill Russell , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

As typical for the month of September, it's been very slow on the water. Fishing is good but it's one of if not the slowest month of the year for anglers fishing. That's great news for those taking advantage and fishing without much competition.

With snook in season, anglers are catching good numbers, but boating one of keeper size was a different story. With the size-slot (28 to 33 inches) that only leave 5 inches to work with. But snook of all sizes are a blast to catch and if luck is on your side, you may just catch one in that legal slot if a fresh snook dinner is on your mind. A few anglers report landing snook to 29 inches at or just after sunrise while casting top water Skitter Walks and Spooks along mangrove shorelines. With plenty of live bait around, many are targeting snook with live pilchards, thread herring, pinfish and pigfish. Please make sure and carefully release snook to keep those numbers growing.

Those who are lucky enough to get on a school of big redfish were rewarded with bent rods and good action. In the southern sound, schools of fish running between 27 and 32 inches were located in sand trenches along the shallower grass flats on the lower tides. To the north, schooling fish were sighted pushing water off bar edges in the upper sound off both the east and west side. Anglers targeting redfish with the proven method of fishing under or along shorelines report catching fish ranging in size from 17 to 30 inches. The best bet was to locate mullet schools - it's not hard just watch for them jumping and waking, there are plenty around. Areas that held fish included south Matlacha Pass near the Mud Hole, the eastern shore of the pass north of McCardles Island, in Pine Island Sound from Buck Key to Redfish Pass and around many of the islands and keys in the northern sound near Pineland.

Article Photos

Capt. Bill Russell

While mangrove snapper fishing was good, sea trout was inconsistent. Snapper to 15 inches were caught in the same areas where snook or reds were targeted. Also, good sized snapper were caught in Captiva Pass on the slower tides. A few trout to 20 inches were caught on top-water lures early in the morning around Pineland, but most fish reported around the islands were undersized. Look for the best action around bait schools over grass bottom in 4 to 8-foot depths. Good action with trout, ladyfish, good sized Spanish mackerel and small sharks was reported over these depths in Pine Island Sound between the channel and Redfish or Captiva passes.

Off the beaches out to about 30 feet, a mix of Spanish mackerel and ladyfish were caught while casting silver spoons around bait pods. A few tripletail were sighted swimming on their side just under the surface in the same area. Further west, gag grouper were caught in depths from 75 to 100 feet plus big mangrove snapper.

As we push into the second half of the month, fishing will only get better as the temperatures drop ever so slightly.

Comfortable weather, good fishing and not much competition, that's a recipe for a fun day on the water. Get out there!

If you have fishing report or for charter information, please contact us at 239-283-7960, on the Web at or email

Have a safe week and good fishin'.



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