Sarasota to Bonita Beach

Includes Siesta Key, Venice, Englewood, Boca Grande, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Pine Island, Cape Coral, Captiva, Sanibel and Fort Myers

July 20-22

Last week’s Forecast was a bit different in format. I was scheduled to go fishing with my brother, so I posted our plans for the day’s fishing and told readers that I’d get back to them with the results.

We started in the early morning to beat the heat and the storms. Pompano was the target and our first stop was just off of Bunche Beach near the Sanibel Causeway.

It was obvious to us almost right away that this part of the plan was flawed. The water was very tannin from all of the recent rains and there wasn’t any sign of small bait on the surface or birds working the area. But we did what most anglers do. Instead of immediately moving on, we put live shrimp on jigs and fished. To our surprise we hooked up with spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish and jacks. It was kind of strange catching macs and blues in what seemed to be brackish water, but they were there and they were eating. But not the pompano.

The decision was made to move south, away from the Caloosahatchee River, to what should be greener, clearer water. It worked. The water was green and clear just outside of Big Carlos Pass, so we started a drift over sandy bottom in about 5-feet of water. In went the shrimp on jigs and up came the ladyfish and seatrout, but no sign of pompano. After some mumbling and disscussion we decided to move to the interior flats of Estero Bay. Seatrout became the target and we caught quite a few using jigs under popping corks. Live shrimp and Berkley Gulp! Shrimp both produced equally well.

Storm clouds were starting to form over the mainland so we set sail for the May Reef, just off of Fort Myers Beach. The bite was unusually slow there despite a good inbound tide and lots of surface bait. We managed to catch quite a few mackerel and one surprise undersize cobia.

The last stop was a search for mangrove snapper closer to home in the south end of Pine Island Sound. We fished the small islands near Picnic Island and found tons of snapper, but only a few worth hanging on to. Seems the bigger ones were on vacation. However, we did manage to hookup with a couple of nice redfish.

This weekend

The weather hasn’t changed much over the pervious weekend. If I were headed out this weekend I’d skip the water near the outflows of rivers and creeks and head out to the beaches and open water. I’d work the beaches for snook and then the nearshore reefs for a mixed bag of snapper, cobia, mackerel and hopefully, a pompano or two. I’d then head to the mangrove islands in the mid-bay areas looking for redfish. I’m not sure why, but they seem to like the later morning feeding time vs. early. If all else fails, hit the open grass flats in search of seatrout. They always seem to cooperate, even in the hot summer months.

Have a great weekend and please take a kid fishing!

Capt. Rob Modys

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