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On the Water: Make time for some holiday fishing

December 30, 2015
By Capt. Bill Russell , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

You have to love fishing and boating the waters of Southwest Florida in December, heading into Christmas and our daytime highs are well above 80 degrees. When we do get a cold front, as was the scenario this past weekend, it generally only last a day or two then the bright sunny skies are back.

After the recent cool down, the waters quickly warmed up with reports of good Spanish mackerel action. Look for them a short distance off the beaches (watch for birds), in Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound over grass/sand bottom from 6 to 10 feet in depth, and in the passes or around the Sanibel Causeway. Live pilchards or shrimp, silver spoons and white jigs should give plenty of action. The biggest problem is keeping the ladyfish off the baits. They have been very abundant and big, if you just want to have fun fighting fish then ladyfish are the ticket.

Anglers report hooking into a few redfish in Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass. Fish ranging from a small of 13 inches to larger fish pushing 28 inches were caught in sand potholes on the lowest of tides, tailing over the shallows on the rising water, and on oyster bars, creeks and mangroves shorelines on the higher water. Baits for catching the reds included shrimp, cut mullet, ladyfish and pinfish on the natural side, and weedless gold spoons, suspended twitch baits, Berkley Gulps and flies for artificial. On the mild days, snook are roaming the shallower water where fish up to 30 inches were caught and released. While targeting reds, look for snook in areas not too far from deeper protected water.

Trout reports were scarce for larger fish in Matlacha Pass, with a higher percentage of keeper-size fish caught from Pine Island Sound and the perimeter of Charlotte Harbor. Fish up to 20 inches were caught on top water lures in the skinny water around mullet schools, and concentrations of fish from 13 to 19 inches were found in sand potholes and over mottled grass/sand bottom in four to seven foot depths. Shrimp under a popping cork, white swim baits and Mirrolure MirrOminnows were a few of the effective baits used.

Sheepshead up to 4 pounds were caught around structure at the various Gulf passes and around the Blind Pass rocks and the Bokeelia and Sanibel piers. Cut fresh shrimp fished on a small J or circle hook with enough weight to keep it on bottom was the preferred rig. Whiting, snapper, flounder and pompano were also caught.

If it remains warm and the wind is light, look to the nearshore reefs in the Gulf of Mexico for a variety of fish and expect anything from small grunts to large cobia.

It's a good idea to have the proper rod and reel rigged for any opportunity that may present itself.

The holiday season is here and many of us have friends or family visiting from out of state where they just don't have the beautiful holiday weather we come to expect in southwest Florida. Make sure you take some time and treat them to a day on the water and show them what a paradise we live in.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas.

Holiday gift certificates are available

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: gcl2-fish@live.com

Have a safe week and good fishin'.

 
 

 

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