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On the Water: An up and down week of fishing to start the month

November 6, 2018
By Capt. Bill Russell , Pine Island Eagle

As we moved into November, fishing was up and down. On days with good weather and tides the bite was good, while other days wind and poor water movement dampened the bite.

Despite a little cooler weather, the catch-and-release snook action continued strong much of the week. Snook were reported along shorelines and around structure throughout Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor. Fish went from 20 to 40 inches in size with live bait, including thread herring, pilchards, pinfish, pigfish and large shrimp, working best. Redfish, also catch-and-release only, were scattered, and occasionally caught with snook. A few large redfish over 30 inches were caught in northern Pine Island Sound while soaking cut mullet under mangrove shoreline points.

The further north you fished, the better the trout bite. Not many have been reported at all in San Carlos Bay and southern Pine Island Sound. Most reports of catching trout were from the northern half of Pine Island Sound beginning near Rocky Channel on up to Charlotte Harbor. Most were caught while drifting 3 to 5-foot grass bottoms with live or DOA shrimp under popping or rattle corks. Trout were also reported in southern Matlacha Pass near McCardle Island and off the eastern side of Charlotte Harbor in the Two Pines area. A good number of fish are running 12 to 14 inches with larger trout mixed in.

Article Photos

Captain Tony Price and his boys, Trey and Zack, used teamwork to win the battle with this 32-inch snook. The snook was caught and released in mid Pine Island Sound.


Mangrove snapper that were so plentiful throughout the inshore waters all summer and early fall appear to have finally headed into gulf waters. Generally, the masses move out of the inshore waters in early September, they were a little late this year. There are still a few around but not in the numbers we had become accustomed to. To get to Gulf waters you must go through the passes. There were some good reports of mangrove snapper up to 15 inches caught from Captiva and Boca Grande passes. Odds are a good many will hold in and near then gulf passes for a while.

Although there hasn't been many good reports bottom fishing near shore, there was action around bait schools near the surface. Spanish and king mackerel, bonito, tarpon and sharks were hooked around bait pods from Sanibel Island west of Knapp's Point all the way north off Stump Pass. Look for concentrations of birds working an area to find the action.

Further offshore, the better bottom fishing begins around 70 feet and continues out to 150 feet. Red grouper, snapper, porgy and a few big African pompano were brought up from the bottom and amberjack, sharks and a few big king mackerel were hooked flat lining baits over structure.

We are getting to the time of year when a cool front drops down every 6 to 10 days. Fishing is always good as the front approaches - you are wise to stay off the water when it arrives, then when the wind settles down in a day or two, it's time to fish again. This pattern will repeat itself many times over the next few months - get on the water and enjoy the good days.

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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