last couple of weeks in have been great!
Capt. George Howell
March 26, 2008
Pine Island Sound - Saltwater Fishing Report
Well it has been a busy couple of weeks here on Pine Island Sound. I just got off the water from running 9 charters in 9 days; I love this time of year! The weather has been extremely windy 3 out of 4 days. That sure hasn't slowed the fishing down though. It has slowed my boat down with solid 2-foot swells, but we can always find a little lee from the wind when fishing. Several times we have just fished right in the wind and caught some really nice fish. Although pinfish and pilchards have been plentiful on the grass flat where I am catching bait, most of the fish have been caught on cut bait once the tide comes in. We haven't been catching more than a half dozen red fish per day, but half of the reds we catch are well over the slot limit. The norm seems to be in the 10 to 12 pound range, with several slot fish also present. I have been on the water too many days to recap them all now, but most days are producing up to a half dozen nice sized reds, with a few good snook mixed in. With a couple jacks, catfish, and birds thrown in, the action stays quite steady.
During the first half of incoming tide I have been using live bait for snook on deeper banks, but the bite is inconsistent. However, the tides have been nice and high in the afternoon, and even the slower moving tides have produced nice sized reds and snook on cut bait while fishing the flooded mangrove islands in the sound. I have run about 12 trips in the last two weeks, with only one slow day. That was last Tuesday and the winds were well over 20mph out of the east. That was a handful of catfish day, but the rest of the trips have been great. Luckily the areas I have been fishing are in the south end of the sound, and I haven't had to drive far in the wind. Strong southwest winds have been good bites as well as calmer days, and let me tell you that casting with a 15-20mph wind at your back lets you stay well away from the fish and still reach them no problem!
The sea gulls have also been a nightmare while live bait fishing, grabbing your baits as fast as you can throw them out. As soon as one shows up you might as well leave because there will be at least a half dozen of them hovering over your boat within 5 minutes. Cut bait sure makes things easier, especially with the winds blowing free-lined baits all over.
With so many charters lately, I haven't had much of a chance to get out and check other areas for fish, seems like I have been going back to the same few places over and over. Good thing they keep producing! It is easy to keep going back when you catch fish, but eventually the fish move and you have to keep moving to get on fish. With the Flatsmasters Grand Slam Plug even this Saturday and Sunday, I have taken a couple days off from chartering to go scouting. Today was my first day out doing so and it was a good start. One of my favorite clients, and friends Bob was down this week from New Jersey, and wanted to get out on a charter. Unfortunately I really needed to scout so I invited him to come out with me for a little trout fishing since I need one in the tourney. After a couple hours and only a few smaller trout, we then proceeded to drive around with the trolling motor to look around for reds. The first area just did not have enough water with the east winds blowing the tide out. But one of the places I was fishing a couple weeks ago was holding a good number of upper slot red fish. We also ran across some really nice looking snook, but they are in an area that gets a lot of pressure. Tomorrow I will be on the water all day scouting. I have some nice areas a little farther away I want to check on. Hopefully I can find at least one or two more spots with nice red fish. If so, I think I have a great chance of getting a nice red and trout in the tournament. I also feel like I have a few good snook spots to hit, but getting a big one on artificial baits will be the key.
Capt. George Howell
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