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On the Water: Finally beginning to see warmer days ahead

January 24, 2018
By Capt. Bill Russell , Pine Island Eagle

After another cold week we are finally beginning to see weather typical for southwest Florida. Water temperature plummeted into the mid-fifties last week and was slowly rebounding over the weekend. With this week's forecast into the upper seventies and low eighties fishing will get better as the water warms.

As usual with the cold, targeting sheepsheads was the best thing going. Fish up to six pounds were caught around docks, piers, pilings, and rocks from the Sanibel Causeway and around the gulf passes north up to the Placida railroad trestle. Sheepsheads, with a mix of black drum, snapper, and small redfish were caught in creeks around Sanibel's Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge and around Saint James. Best baits included live or cut shrimp and small mud crabs.

Not much for trout reports over the week as most anglers choose to stay off the water. One good report came from south Matlacha Pass between Tropical Point and 8th Avenue where a two-man limit of trout to twenty inches was boated while slowly working Berkley Gulp Shrimp around oyster bars after mid-day. One other report came from the southern Sound near Galt Island where shrimp on a small jig head under a popping cork worked for a few good trout and plenty of small fish while working four to seven-foot-deep sand holes.

Article Photos

Captain Sean McQuade’s crew of Phil and John Mosele, Rick Green, Fred Kanehl and Ron Kashian with a good mixed bag of grouper, snapper, porgy, and grunts. They were fishing fifty to eighty foot depths west of Captiva Pass.


Anglers putting in the time and effort and running buoys offshore were often rewarded with good size tripletail. Fish to fourteen pounds were caught between Blind Pass and Ft. Myers Beach on live shrimp. Also, offshore, sheepsheads to five pounds were caught around the MAY, Causeway, and Belton Johnson artificial reefs, and hard bottom areas in thirty-foot depths west of Captiva.

Hopefully were done with the cold weather and put together a few weeks of consistent temperatures. Conditions have made fishing tough, but generally after a stretch of cold we experience great fishing in the weeks to follow. Let's hope so.

If you have a fishing report of for charter information, please contact us at: Gulf Coast Guide Service, phone: 239-283-7960, Website: 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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