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On the Water: Warm and windy week on the water

October 18, 2017
By Capt. Bill Russell , Pine Island Eagle

Much of the past week anglers experienced relatively strong northeast winds that finally settled down heading into the weekend. Despite the breeze, fishing reports were mostly good for inshore anglers.

The main targets inshore were redfish, sea trout and snook, plus hard-fighting bluefish, jack crevalle and Spanish mackerel. Many of the reds reported were targeted off windblown island points and oyster bars in southern Matlacha Pass and Pine Island Sound from Pineland Marina south to Galt Island. The best bite was over the incoming tide and first couple hours of the falling. Snook up to 32 inches were also hooked from similar areas. Snook were reported in Pine Island Sound near the passes, off the eastern side of Charlotte Harbor and around creek mouths at "Ding" Darling Wildlife Sanctuary.

Bluefish, jack crevalle and a few Spanish mackerel were plentiful in many areas throughout Pine Island Sound. Sea trout up to 22 inches were hooked in singles or pairs; the largest fish were caught while targeting reds and snook from Pine Island Sound. Smaller trout averaging 11-16 inches were caught in the southern Sound near Red Light Shoals and off Buck Key while drifting grass bottom in three to 5-foot depths.

Article Photos

Ben Boyher visiting from Missouri, caught his first snook while vacationing in Southwest Florida. Ben won the battle with this 32-inch snook while fishing near Cayo Costa State Park with Capt. Jason Ramer.


From shore, snook were hooked from the beach at Blind Pass during the day and from the Matlacha Pass Bridge and Sanibel Fishing Pier at night. Redfish were caught from the Bokeelia Fishing Pier.

Offshore, seas were pretty rough for the better part of the week once you got a mile or two from shore. Fishing near shore, a few boats found good action with Spanish mackerel and small sharks while fishing live bait or casting spoons around bait pods. A few tripletail were also hooked offshore. Once you head offshore you will quickly notice plenty of trap buoys as stone crab season is here. Make an effort NOT to run over the floats and cut the rope with your prop; if you run a little distance away, it's possible to spot tripletail below the buoy without spooking them.

The inshore waters remain very dark or tannin stained from the large amount of rainfall the past couple months. This makes it very difficult to see into the water and judge water depth or locate shallow areas and fish. As we get into the cooler season, the rains should subside and waters will gradually lighten and clear up.

On the bright side, despite the dark water, fishing hasn't been too bad.

If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact us at Gulf Coast Guide Service at 239-283-7960, on the Web at or email

Have a safe week and good fishin'.

As a native of Pine Island, Bill Russell has spent his entire life fishing and learning the waters surrounding Pine Island and as a professional fishing guide for the past 18 years.



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