Weather, Tides and Water Quality
Rain, rain go away. You now the rest. We’ve had so much here in Southwest Florida that we are now on a flood watch. Friday looks like it’s going to be a mess, but anglers might be able to hit the water the mornings of Saturday and Sunday. The rain chances are high in the afternoon, but not so bad earlier. Even if you do make it out be sure to watch for lightning. If you don’t already have a lightning detection app on your phone, I’d certainly get one. The tides will be great both morning and afternoon thanks to the full moon, so whatever time you are able to fish should be productive. Red tide is not present along our coast at this time, however we’ve had enough rain that the water at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River is very tannin. The visibility is still fairly good, but the dark colored water is spreading out towards the eastern tip of Sanibel. Please understand that this is not the dumping of Lake Okeechobee. This is rain runoff from the river.
I’ve only received one offshore report from a captain and it was good. The trip was close to home in about 30 feet of water just off of Fort Myers Beach. His group caught lots of keeper mangrove snapper, some lane snapper and a few muttons. They also had a couple of surprise permit show up along with undersized cobia. He used crabs, shrimp and cut bait.
Snook fishing has been pretty good along the beaches of Sanibel, but the water is a bit churned up and you’ll have to work harder to get them to bite. Putting shrimp on the bottom got the most attention. There’s also trout, redfish, ladyfish and jacks cruising in the same area.
Backcountry fishing looks to be good this weekend despite the rain. The above average runoff from the abundant rain has put the reds in a feeding mood. Live shrimp was mentioned most often, but some big ones were caught with cut ladyfish. As a matter of fact, so were some big snook. These two species have been hanging out together for several weeks now and I’d set up to catch both. Beef up the leader to 30 pound test to hopefully keep the bigger snook from cutting you off in the mangrove roots.
I mentioned the mangrove snapper bite last week and nothing has changed. It’s still very good along mangrove shorelines with lots of overhanging branches. Keep the hooks and bait offerings small. I’ve personally had better luck with these bait stealers by using popping corks. Just make the length of the leader line about 24 inches and add a small circle hook and split-shot weight. Tip with shrimp and you are good to go.
The seatrout fishing in upper Pine Island Sound has been fantastic. I know we can’t keep them right now, but they sure are getting big and fun to catch. Break out your favorite artificial or fly rod rig and have at it!
Ditches and Ponds
Honestly, the water is running so hard right now in the creeks and ditches I wouldn’t recommend fishing there. It would be almost impossible to keep a bait in place right now and the rocks are eating more lures than the fish are. Hopefully things will improve by next weekend.
Have a great weekend and please take a kid fishing.
Capt. Rob Modys