Windy days for most of the week plus a rainy weekend were a distraction for anglers. While making an offshore trip of any distance was out of the question, Inshore, despite gusty breezes fishing from boar and shore produced some decent catches.
Conditions weren't too bad for boats not venturing to far from the beaches. With a northeast wind, the near shore waters were protected and conditions weren't too bad... as long as you didn't venture to far. Spanish mackerel were found a short distance off the beach from Knapp's Point on Sanibel north to Boca Grande feeding under bait pods.
Looking for birds then getting in position while making a long cast with a fast retrieves using a small silver spoons connected with mackerel up to 24 inches. Ladyfish and small sharks were also found with the mackerel. A few king mackerel up to 12 pounds were reported a few miles west of Captiva Pass; they were taken on large live thread herring slow trolled.
George Riser (pictured) and his brother David did not let the windy weather distract them from fishing. On a short visit from Virginia they caught redfish, snook and trout while fishing with Captain Bill Russell last week.
Fishing from shore wasn't a bad idea with the gusty winds - many areas including the beaches were protected from the wind and offered good fishing. Pompano, Spanish mackerel, snook and sheepsheads were reported at Blind Pass on Sanibel and along the surf on Cayo Costa State Park. Short quarter ounce white jigs tipped with a small trace of fresh shrimp was deadly bounced along the sandy bottom near anything submerged under water.
Anglers also found hungry fish from bridges and piers both day and night. Pompano, mackerel and large, oversize redfish plus snook were caught from the Sanibel Pier. During the day, live shrimp was a good bet for bait. Then after dark, a one ounce red and white bucktail jig was the ticket for catch and release snook.
Despite the distraction of the construction of a new bridge anglers are still pulling in fish from the Matlacha Pass draw bridge. Trout, mackerel, snapper, sheepsheads and all the ladyfish you want were reported from the old structure, Fishing is pretty much limited to the north side due to the new bridge being erected on the south side, but it still offers a good chance to wet a line and hook into a fish for those anglers that prefer to fish from land. Plus when the weather turns and the rain comes, shelter is nearby.
Patience was the key to inshore fishing success. We started off with some very low tides at midday early in the week, and that brisk northeast wind kept the water fairly low on most days. What worked on my boat was picking a semi-protected area with potholes or troths between bars and slowly working the area with the falling tide. As the tide drops, more fish as well as bait fall into the holes. About the time you think nothing is left in the hole, more fish drop in and the bite is on again.
The wind stirred up lots of grass, casting artificials was a losing proposition making live bait the best option. Working such areas along Charlotte Harbor and Matlacha Pass we found steady action with snook, redfish and trout. Captain Gary Clark reports similar results around the keys and Islands in south Pine Island Sound, where potholes produced trout and redfish.
When the wind is gusting like it was much of the past week, I like to just pick an area to target and settle in and work the area with patience. This is even more true with the extra low tide days. Most often, you have to run from one area to another in open water as its too shallow on the flats and it's just no fun and usually counterproductive. If you are in an area and you know the fish are there, why beat yourself up running all over? Stay patient, fish with confidence, and good things will happen.
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'.