week ending 4-26
Capt. George Howell
April 29, 2008
Pine Island Sound - Saltwater Fishing Report
Fishing has been pretty consistent for reds, snook, and trout. Due to the higher incoming tides we have had, most of my time has been fishing around the mangroves for reds and snook. The red fish have been consistent in moving from place to place, but they don't seem to move too far. I seem to have great luck at a couple of spots, then nothing, only to find the same number and size of fish at a nearby shoreline. Charters really slowed down this week for me, kind of strange with tarpon showing up.
Two of my favorite guys to fish were coming down on Saturday the 26th for a full day of fly fishing. Since I did not have any charters earlier in the week, and my fish had moved again, I took 4 hours on Wednesday and 7 hours on Thursday to scout. Well, Wednesday I started by looking (not fishing) over a spot I have a lot of success with, but had been empty for a month or so. Turns out it was holding reds from 2 to 8 pounds. Must have been about 20 to 30 reds over a 100 yards or so, and part of the area was deep enough I could not see in the water. I moved over to another shoreline nearby, about half a mile away from where I had last been on nice fish. I had not fished this stretch for almost a year. The first 5 minutes I saw nothing, then I turned a corner and begun to enter a small cove that was about 50 yards long, and spooked about 5 over slot reds. Those reds high tailed it up the shore the direction I was going and immediately spooked more fish. The water was "boiling" for about 30 yards at least. It became instantly muddy, and I saw at least another dozen reds, all of them way over the slot limit. These were nice 10-12 pound fish and my hart was in over drive! There must have been another dozen or two fish I could not see from the water being stirred up, it was like I came across a bunch of kids doing something they shouldn't be. These things were going bonkers, perhaps spooking each other more than I spooked them. Well I was starting to feel pretty good about my charter on Saturday, so I moved to an island adjacent to that shoreline. Sure enough, there were another 20-30 reds scattered along about 100 yards. I went to look over an Island that has been good to me this spring but bad the last couple weeks, there was a boat on it with waders surrounding the island so I called it a day. With three awesome looking spots I felt great about what I had seen.
Thursday, I headed to the upper end of the sound looking for some great shallow water spots to get reds and snook on the fly rod. Some of my favorite spots were void of fish, but I did find one nice bank with mixed reds and snook, another point with a couple dozen small to medium sized snook, and a deep cove with about a dozen slot sized snook. Had a couple other spots I always seem to see 2-4 fish on, and sure enough, there were 2 fish I could see on each one. Not a great spot, but they are great for 10-minute stops to pick up a fish. I looked over a lot of other areas that day, but the tide was really up, and clouds were moving back and forth in front of the sun making it hard to see in the water.
Saturday came, and I was really excited about our trip. I told Dale and Steve what I had seen. Even though I figured one or two spots might not have fish, or the fish would not bite, my biggest concern was spooking fish after catching the first one and missing out on the rest of the numbers there. Well we headed right for the spot I had seen the large oversize fish since the tide was at the right level. I brought a push pole to keep the trolling motor out of the water, and set up a nice drift-pole direction down the shore. We moved along in stealth mode, and Dale and Steve began pounding the shore with flies. We covered the whole area and not a bite! We saw one nice red toward the end of the stretch, and 3 small ones as we motored out of the area towards the next one. That big school of monsters was all but GONE! That's ok, I had several more nice areas ahead of us.
The next Island over I had seen nice reds was occupied by 2 kayaks with waders out, and a bay boat. All 3 boats and waders scattered over the 100 yard bank. Dang! There was a kayak tournament that day, the redfish cup tournament, a Cabbage Key tournament, and a Matlacha tournament! I started to think how much a problem fishing the weekends can be. I love to fish tournaments myself, but there really should be some kind of restriction on how many there can be each year. Doesn't every one know this is my ocean! Well I went to the spot I had luck early this year and was holding on Wednesday, and even though there was a kayak on part of the bank, we headed to the other side. The kayak left, so we got to cover the whole area and the fish were…..GONE!
Ok so the best 3 spots I had scouted out were a bust. We headed north for a 20 minute ride. The first spot I got to was the one with nice reds and snook scattered about. I polled us up the bank and we began the fishing again. The first point had held nice snook, but there was no sign of them. We fished another 50 yards or so, and were about to turn a point. I stated that there was a large cove around the point of about 100 yards, and that was were I saw most of the fish. As we turned the corner, there was a bay boat with waders out, and a redfish cup boat on the trolling motor casting artificials. OUCH! We backtracked, and moved to the other side of the island and picked up a nice 3 pound trout, and missed a snook. Moved to the point I saw some small and middle sized snook, and got a quick strike by a nice fish but no hook up. Saw a couple more snook but no takers. We cruised over to the deep cove holding big snook. One nice boil on a fly but that was all.
By this time the tide was up really high, the tides this week were way up. We hit one of the spots that only held 2 fish, as one of them was occupied. No luck. One more spot that is a deep bank for snook and no takers. By now we had been on the water 8 hours and Dale and Steve's arms were about to fall off from the casting. 8 hours and one trout, ONE! Dale and Steve are always happy to be on the water, and casting flies keeps things from getting to boring. They are content catching ladyfish and trout, but I really wanted to put them on some nice 5-10 pound fish. Going into the day I was sure we would have at least half a dozen to a dozen. Well that is fishing. With all the tournaments and weekend anglers at least half my spots were occupied. Some of my fish were on another planet, and we never seemed to get things going despite fishing hard all day.
Hard to post a bad report but maybe karma will reward me with some knuckle busting, rod bending, drag screaming action for the next one! This is a great time of year to fish, the cold fronts are behind us, tarpon are here, and its not so cold throwing the cast net before the sun gets up. Stay tuned, the next world record may be a cast away!
red fish, snook, trout
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