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Pine Island Sound

Capt. George Howell
February 11, 2007
Pine Island Sound - Saltwater Fishing Report

Week ending 2-10-2007

This week I was only able to make it onto the water 3 days. The first of which was Tuesday. Al, Dan, and Dave were only in town for that day after a short vacation and another captain canceling due to engine problems last minute a couple days before. If they had a few more days in town I would have tried to talk them into waiting till later in the week as Tuesday wasn’t terrible weather, but less than ideal as it was a bit chilly. The morning was the only time we could arrange to fish, and the tide was moving slow, and would begin coming in much stronger later in the afternoon. However, sometimes you just have to make the best of what you have and go fishing! We hit a deep point first thing hoping the snook would be there before the sun warmed things up. Whether they were there we will never know but if so they showed no signs of wanting to eat our hand picked live shrimp. The water was still extremely low so we moved to some docks along a bank just outside of a canal where I often find snook, sheepshead, and black drum waiting for the tide to rise. We did encounter a few bait-stealing sheepshead, but they were small and not very aggressive under the cold conditions. After feeding them, we moved to another set of deep docks that hold nice sheepshead and some snook. We were able to hook one nice sheepshead that came unhooked half way to the boat, and watched a local dolphin show off a snook he caught! That thing must have caught it right under our boat as it came up with it in it’s mouth as to say “is this what your looking for?” Well we tried for a while but no luck. Another angler a couple docks over pulled in a nice 3 pound sheepshead but that was it. We had one last stop to make on the way home. The tide was moving in well now, and the next spot was a rock pile now holding enough water to cover the top and great current flow. With about 20 minutes left until I had to be off the water, the guys started hooking up with nice sheapshead. A couple of 3 pounders came into the boat. Another got off before we could handle it. A few more shrimp were donated to the local population before we had to head in. Figures just as the tide started looking good and the fish were biting we had to go. At least we got a couple nice keepers since the guys wanted to grill something that evening!

Friday and Saturday I went scouting for a tournament I will fish on February 17th. The tide for the tournament will be extremely low at first and come in well to about half way before time runs out. I do a lot better with reds when the tide gets up pretty high, flooding islands, flats, and oyster bars that are otherwise exposed from the water. Lynda agreed to accompany me on Friday, and the weather was beautiful! I looked over some islands and bays that hold nice fish at higher water. I checked them all out at the same water level I would see the last hour or so of the tournament since that is what I had to scout with that day. The places I targeted in my “backyard” were too shallow and not able to be fished or not holding fish yet due to the level of water. I did not find anything promising for the tournament, but on my first day of scouting I was able to eliminate quite a few places which would help guide me later in the week. As the tide rolled in Lynda and I hit an island I like and was able to get a 4 pound red after stalking and spooking a half dozen similar sized reds. All in all it was great to be out with the sun shining all day.

Saturday I was joined by my tournament partner Gary at 7am. We headed farther north to check out some banks that are a little deeper than the ones I eliminated the previous day. The tide was basically not moving for 4 hours, which was bad for fishing but great for scouting as it stayed constant to the level we would see the last 2 hours of the tournament, giving us time to look over several areas and decide if the water level was appropriate and hopefully sight some fish for later scouting. Our first spot was a couple of shoals with a nice trough in between. These were located right in the middle of the open sound. Usually good for trout, we were hoping some reds would hold there waiting to move into the flats later with more water. We saw a few dolphins and a couple small sharks, but nothing else seemed to be swimming there at all. We then moved to a couple of islands that have good deep banks that we don’t usually fish for reds, but sure enough, both islands were structured with many potholes just off the shore. There were reds of all sizes in the holes and in the mangroves. We made a few casts under our excitement, but the tide was not right for aggressive fish, and we were more interested in sighting the fish so we spooked them out of their haunts to get a good look at the number of fish and sizes. Knowing we needed more than on good spot we moved around to some similar areas, and seemed to find nice snook spot after nice snook spot! The tournament is only for red fish, but new fishing holes are always a pleasant surprise! Once the sun got up about 11am, the snook were sunning up really shallow, and a cast anywhere within 10 yards of them would send them swimming for the hills. They weren’t interested in eating, only sunning. Still we took note of the areas and will surely be back when we are looking to catch snook! A couple of areas were void of fish, but the last spot we checked was an island I have never been to. Gary thought it looked good on the chart and he was right. The bank held about 3 feet under the ends of the mangroves and it held decent numbers of snook and reds. One side in particular had a very steep drop off and full of nice sized snook! Can’t wait to go back there with some live bait and try to pull out some Kodak moments!

Looks like the first few days of this week will be great fishing, and there is a NASTY cold front coming in just in time to freeze the water for tournament day. Its going to be hard fishing, but its equal for everyone and one fish could do the trick. I will be scouting several days this week and possibly running charters, stay tuned to see how we fare in the tough conditions. The tournament is all artificials, so I expect to work soft plastics and jigs agonizingly slow. Till next week, remember the next world record may be a cast away! Capt. George Howell

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Capt. George Howell is a lifelong angler and outdoor enthusiast. Nothing is more fulfilling to him than providing others with a memorable day of fishing. His fishing buddies will agree, he would rather see them hook into that monster fish than catch one himself. There are a lot of captains out there, but I will always do everything in my power to assure that the guests on my boat have the best possible day of fishing.

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Capt. George
201 SW 38th Ter
Cape Coral, FL 33914
Phone: 239-770-5166
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