Fishing around Pine Island in southwest Florida has been about looking for opportunities and exploiting them. Live bait is still thick and readily available, but to cover any situation that may arise it’s the time of year to bring along some shrimp and artificials to complete your arsenal.
The snook bite has been good; the days with a decent tide and breeze have been the best. We haven’t really been fishing for snook but catching them everywhere we are looking for redfish. This is good news after the set back snook had from last winter’s freeze; I have been catching a lot more quality snook than redfish, go figure. We are finding plenty of redfish around oyster bars; most are running small but a blast to catch. Our largest snook went over thirty inches and took a well placed ladyfish steak off the bottom that was intended for a red.
Also around oyster bars we are finding large trout with many over twenty inches. Like snook, season is closed on trout, but always a fun surprise.
Starting to catch some big sheepsheads around structure, from what I have seen this could be a real good winter for sheepsheads. Little bait stealing pinfish are still thick inshore and until colder weather pushes them out they will be a pain whenever shrimp fishing for sheepsheads. As the water cools more big sheepies will move inshore and the bait stealers will move out, until then take a lot of bait, you will need it.
On about every trip we are catching one or two nice flounder, more than I have seen in a while. Most are coming from sand or potholes while looking for redfish. This is one of the best eating fish and always a welcome catch.
Mixed bag action continues strong over the deeper mottled bottom of grass and sand in Charlotte Harbor and north Matlacha Pass. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, small sharks and a ton of big ladyfish are quickly drawn to a little chumming with crippled live shiners. Families and kids love this type fishing, the action is non –stop and there are always a few surprises.
We should continue with a variety of good fishing opportunities going into the holidays. The weather has cooled but not to the point where the bait fish and game fish have been impacted. In fact the night and day time temperatures have been about perfect for both fish and anglers.
Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving Holiday!
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“Catch the Action” with Captain Bill Russell