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On the Water: Fishing is on the rise in local waters

September 12, 2018
By Capt. Bill Russell , Pine Island Eagle

Water quality and fishing both improved around the islands over the past week. Our area appeared to have benefited from Tropical Storm Gordon as the winds helped break up the red tide and push it further into Gulf waters.Over the past week, fishing reports were on the rise and more boats were on the water from previous weeks.

Schooling redfish were reported on the southeastern side of the Pine Island Sound and around Charlotte Harbor. Most fish were running between 27 and 31 inches. Several snook up to 32 inches were also caught around the schooling reds in the Sound.

Sea trout, mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel and bluefish were caught in areas in Pine Island Sound near the fish shacks and Captiva Pass. The best bet was drifting in 4 to 8-foot depths with live shrimp under a bobber or casting small spoons. Small blacktip sharks were also caught in the area.

Article Photos

Capt. Travis Murphy with Donald Beckstead and Jamel Ksar with one of the big snook they caught and released in the 2018 Cracker Invitational Fishing Tournament held on Captiva Island. The trio along with Pason Gaddis (not pictured) took home first in the Cracker. Congratulations!


Boats fishing around Charlotte Harbor found good action with sea trout, ladyfish and Spanish mackerel. Most of the trout were running on the small side from 11 to 13 inches, but the numbers caught were impressive. The Harbor is holding a lot of bait schools with the action coming while fishing around the schools.

Live shrimp, small pilchards or thread herring, and spoons or small shiny lures were the best baits. Sharks from 2 to 4 feet were also hooked around the Harbor. Anglers fishing the Bokeelia Fishing Pier, at the southern end of the Harbor, scored with black drum, mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel, plus a few catch-and-release snook.

In Matlacha Pass, redfish were caught and released over the early stages of the incoming tide in the Smokehouse Bay area and Buzzard Bay. Cut bait, including mullet and ladyfish, were top baits. A few snook were also caught along with small sharks. Drifting grass flats west of marker 72 yielded sea trout, ladyfish and a few pompano on the morning incoming tide. Mangrove snapper up to 13 inches were also hooked along shorelines throughout Matlacha Pass and along the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor. Mangrove snapper were also caught from Boca Grande Pass.

Let's hope the trend continues, as anglers and boaters noted that the water, especially around the barrier islands and Pine Island Sound looked better every day. Bait schools are around, fishing has improved, and it just felt good to be on the water for a change. Plus, the weather has been great, get out there and have some fun!

If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact us at 239-283-7960, via the Website or email

Have a safe week and good fishin'.

As a native of Pine Island, Capt. 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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