Offshore, boats report consistent red grouper fishing in depths from 50 to 70 feet over live coral or swiss cheese bottom. Live pinfish, squirrelfish, frozen sardines and 10-inch Hogy lures were baits of choice for grouper up to 27 inches. Smaller rigs also produced lane snapper, porgies and grunts from the same bottom.
Farther offshore, amberjacks up to 40 pounds were caught over wrecks while deploying live pigfish for bait. Lots of nuisance goliath grouper, barracuda and sharks are also devouring any food they can catch over the deeper structures. Schoolie size dolphins to five pounds were also caught inside of a 100 feet.
Inshore, the weather was hot, but nut not so much the bite. Actually, early in the week - when the tide movement was strong - the bite was decent; then as the week progressed with midday low tides, the bite slowed. Fishing grass flats in three to seven feet of water is producing lots of action on trout but the majority are running small at 12 to 15 inches with a few larger to 18 inches. DOA shrimp, live shrimp, pinfish and pilchards all under a popping cork worked well for hooking trout plus a mix of ladyfish, jack crevalle and Spanish mackerel.
Jacob Russell, 13, of Matlacha finished of his summer vacation catching and releasing this six-foot Bull Shark. He was fishing in Charlotte Harbor with his family, Laurie, Shelby, Ryan and dad, Captain Bill Russell. Beginning this week, it's back to the classroom.
Fishy areas included the flats between the Picnic Islands and the Sanibel Causeway, the flats off Chino and York Island in the southern Sound and flats between Cabbage Key and Captiva Pass. Small blacktip sharks to three feet were also abundant in these areas.
On the high water, redfish were caught under the shade of the mangroves in Foster Bayou on Captiva Island, Bull and Turtle Bays across Charlotte Harbor and Indian Fields and Smokehouse Bay in Matlacha Pass. Fish are averaging 20 to 23 inches with cut ladyfish, pinfish, and shrimp the best baits. Fishermen hitting the water at first light also report action on reds on top water lures and flies.
Most of our snook are in or near the Gulf Passes or the beaches in their summer spawn cycle. Linesides to 35 inches were caught and released at Captiva and Redfish Passes on the outgoing tides. Schools of fish averaging 20 to 26 inches were also found patrolling pods of small baitfish along the beach from Bowman's on Sanibel north to Cayo Costa Island. Trout and mangrove snapper were also caught around submerged structure long the beaches.
This is really the dog days of summer. It's HOT, but I'm sure you already knew that. The kids are back in school and most everybody's vacation or staycations have come to an end. Put it together and it's pretty slow on the water, not necessarily the fishing, but the traffic or anglers on the water. That's not a bad thing, if you want to know what it was like around here before our population explosion (the good ol' days) or for us old timers that like a chance to reflect back, then this is the time to plan a midweek day of fishing. Even if the fish aren't biting, it's really nice to have the water to yourself for a change. But don't wait long - the dog days will be over before you know it!
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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'.