Beautiful weather, green water, live bait equal fish!
Capt. Rob Modys
April 14, 2016
Fort Myers - Saltwater Fishing Report
The early part of the coming week will be a bit tough with some weak tides following the new moon, but that should pull together by Sunday and make for a real good upcoming week. The waters are warming up nicely and the rains have held off and that means the bait is moving back to the beaches and into the backcountry waters. Good reports of tarpon are coming in all at once. Seems they are back right on time with the best reports off of Captiva Island.
Capt. Greg Stamper of Snook Stamp Charters fished the backcountry to avoid the past week's winds and chased snook, redfish, seatrout and whatever would bite. However, he did get a chance to play in some deeper water a couple of times and picked up a bunch of tripletail, some permit and an assortment of reef species like snapper, grouper and some big seatrout. Most of the backcountry bite was on live baits such as pinfish, pilchards and of course shrimp. His anglers mostly fished around mangrove shorelines that offered wind block and somewhat cleaner water. Capt. Greg didn't target tarpon this week but did see some in the typical areas through Pine Island Sound and along the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva. Tarpon should be in full swing as we get closer to the full moon.
Capt. Brad Brown of Moonlite Charters said that the weather was great this past week and it was nice to see clean and green water back in Estero Bay. Live bait has been available for those willing to hunt for it and the fish are loving it. Lots of small to medium snook but no keepers this past week but his anglers were able to put some nice redfish in the box. Some seatrout and a few big jacks were around as well. Capt. Brad also noted that the boating traffic on the Bay has started to quiet down a bit so now is a great time to get out there and get back to some of your favorite fishing spots.
Capt. Jon Fetter of Catching The Cure Charters said the fishing was a bit slow on the windy days in Estero Bay. However, the spotted seatrout bite has been decent along the grass flats in 3 to 5 feet of water. Deeper channels are also producing. Shrimp under popping corks was the best setup for the shallower water, while bouncing shrimp tipped jig heads worked in the deep. The passes are providing anglers with options including seatrout, snapper, whiting, spanish mackerel, ladyfish and small sharks. Shrimp on a 1/8 ounce jig worked best. The redfish bite was a little tough, but persistent anglers can pick some up using cut bait around the oyster bars and mangrove islands on higher water. Fishing the stronger tides seemed to also help. Live bait is starting to show up which means the snook will be feeding like crazy. Free line them on 3/0 circle hooks near floating docks and along mangrove edges near the passes.
Capt. Sam Arcure of Team Arcure Fishing worked Pine Island Sound this past week and found a steady seatrout bite while using live shrimp under a float with a 1/4 ounce jig head. The trick was using medium to large shrimp hooked through the head to keep them alive. Each cast should be made so that the float actually moves with the current and popping the float about three times helps to attract the fish. Redfish have also been caught using the same method but adjust the leader below the float to about 12 inches in length. The bite has been mostly around mangrove islands with oyster bars on the incoming tide. A chartreuse jig head works the best, but red colored ones are good too. Small sharks have started to frequent the flats with bonnethead and blacktips being the most active feeders. Baitfish are showing up on the grass flats in the southern section of the Sound near Chino Island and outside of Tarpon Bay. Threadfins are being netted along the Sanibel Causeway.
Capt. Alex Dolinski of Spot On Charters fished with Paul from Wisconsin along Rocky Bay in upper Estero Bay. They landed sheepshead, some nice seatrout to 22 inches and a couple of slot redfish. A combination of cut crab and live shrimp were used for bait. The redfish went after cut ladyfish on a 3/0 circle hook. Best bite was on the higher part of the tide. On a recent offshore trip with Ken Matheis, Capt. Alex trolled dredged ballyhoo along the offshore ledges and produced 15 king mackerel up to 30 pounds and 6 amberjack to 60 pounds. Best speed for trolling was 4 to 6 mph. The best bites came when pulling the baits close to the stern on choppy days and further back on calmer days.
Capt. Larry Hendricks of Tall Tail Charters noted that he had a great seatrout bite on this past Wednesday. He estimated 50 plus fish with 75% of them in the slot or above. His anglers were also averaging 4 reds a morning and a few snook. Whitebait, small pins and shrimp were all effective under corks. Capt. Larry also said he saw a few rolling tarpon in the mornings but hasn't started targeting them as yet. In the offshore waters king mackerel are biting trolled short lipped plugs. Snapper have been somewhat reliable when the winds allow access to the Gulf.
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