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On the Water: Weather has been great for fishing

July 15, 2015
By Capt. Bill Russell , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

It's been a great week for offshore anglers for the fact the weather has cooperated and many of the targeted species are in season. Inshore anglers also benefited from great weather and strong full moon tides despite some hot days and afternoon thunderstorms.

Offshore, gag and red grouper were caught from depths between 65 and 110 feet. Some days live bait worked best and others, cut bait was the ticket. If you make the trip, it's a good idea to take a variety of bait choices. A few boats also caught gag grouper while trolling Bomber and Mirrolure deep diving lures in depths from 40 to 60 feet from Blind Pass north to Boca Grande.

Plenty of larger sharks were reported, with a good number of bulls, blacktip and spinners offshore hanging around feeding mackerel schools and around reefs. Also around wrecks or reefs, barracuda were plentiful and those anglers that brought small crabs scored with permit.

Catch and release snook fishing continues strong near the Gulf passes and on the beaches. Fish averaging 24 to 26 inches were caught on live pilchards and pilchard imitating flies around downed trees and rock piles from Sanibel north to Cayo Costa. Larger snook, with some over 30 inches, were also caught and released in and around the Gulf passes, with pinfish, pigfish and slippery dicks the best baits.

Trout fishing was hit or miss - it's been pretty easy to catch a bunch but more difficult to catch a bunch of legal size. A few notable areas where decent numbers of keeper sized fish were reported included the grass flats surrounding Captiva Rocks, grass flats on the Gulf side of the Sanibel Causeway, and grass/sand bottom around the perimeter of Charlotte Harbor. Favorite baits included small live pilchards and pinfish, plus Berkley Gulp Shad - all suspended under rattling or popping corks. With the numbers of 14-inch fish we are catching, the near future for trout fishing looks really good.

The mid-morning incoming tide brought good action with Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and small sharks near Bokeelia in Charlotte Harbor, in north Matlacha Pass between markers 72 and 76, and off the eastern side of Useppa Island. Most sharks hooked on light tackle are averaging 2 to 4 feet and are a mix of bonnet head, blacktip and sharp nose. Sharks this size on light tackle and are a ton of fun if you have kids on board.

Mangrove snapper fishing remains consistently good inshore with fish to 15 inches caught around the Sanibel Causeway, the Matlacha Drawbridge, and oyster bars or mangrove shorelines throughout the Sound, San Carlos Bay and Matlacha Pass. Baits varied from live or dead shrimp, small live pilchards or pinfish and a variety of fresh cut baits.

While snapper fishing is consistent, red fishing is anything but. The better reports came from southern Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass. Fish to 31 inches were hooked soaking either dead cut pinfish or ladyfish around the perimeter of oyster bars or drifting small live pinfish under a float along the shadow line of mangrove shorelines. The incoming tide gave the best bite.

Plenty of larger sharks were also reported, with a good number of bulls, blacktip and spinners offshore hanging around feeding mackerel schools and around reefs. Also around wrecks or reefs, barracuda were plentiful and those anglers that brought small crabs scored with permit.

When we get into this weather pattern with calm sunny mornings followed by afternoon thunderstorms, it's best to get out early and take advantage of it. Most days you can count on flat seas in the morning, making for an easy offshore run. No doubt it can get hot, bring plenty of drinking water and shade if you can. Watch the sky and plan on being back at the dock ahead of the afternoon thunderstorms. If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact us at 238-283-7960, on the Web at www.fishpineisland.com or email: gcl2fish@live.com

Have a safe week and good fishin'.

 
 

 

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