Good Fishing From The Sanibel Causeway
Capt. Butch Rickey
May 28, 2013
Pine Island Sound - Saltwater Fishing Report
Week Ending 4/20/13.........
The week started on Sunday morning with a very windy trip from the A Span of the Sanibel Causeway to the waters around Fisherman's Key. It was my first time out with Rich Staneski, and his good friend Dave, of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
Actually, the day began with beautiful weather in the morning, but it got ugly to the tune of 23 mph wind later! We left the beach and headed west, trolling as we went. It's a good way to find trout in the deeper waters. We did find lots of trout, but no ladyfish mixed in. I wanted to stringer a couple of ladyfish for redfish bait later in the tide.
With the boys catching trout, I headed out to hunt for larger trout. I did find some keeper trout and a ladyfish, which went on the stringer, and a school of large jack crevalle. Fortunately, I hooked one of the fast moving jacks as they thrashed bait, and quickly disappeared. They never stay in one place for very long when they're schooled up and raiding bait schools. He was a hell of a battle, and turned out to be 33 inches long!
Rich and Dave had come to join me and hopefully get on the jacks, but they were gone by the time the boys got there. We dug around for more trout and jacks, but the action had slowed. It was time to go redfishing, but this time with cut ladyfish.
I had brought along a cutting board I'd bought for the kitchen and never used. I knew it would be a messy proposition, but I wanted to see if we could do any better with the reds than we'd been doing with artificials. I cut the ladyfish into ten steaks, and tossed the head and tail. I'd brought along some 3/0 Mutu light wire circle hooks, and had them rigged and ready. I distributed the ladyfish steaks, and got the boys in position on our first spot. Rich made a good cast with his bait, and soon had a redfish on. Dave threw his bait into the mangroves, and couldn't get it out. He didn't want to disturb the spot, so he was content to catch small trout on a jig rig while Rich and I worked on the reds. Rich was just amazed at how hard his redfish pulled, and was loving every minute of it. That's why they're my favorite fish to catch (and to eat!).
We of course, had some visitors. First it was a couple of anglers in a flats boat that pulled in right near where we were fishing. The displayed a total disregard for us being there. The only justice was that they didn't catch, and we did. We did get a second red, but that was it. Actually, not any better than we've been doing with lures. The fish just haven't wanted to eat, and I wish I could tell you the reason.
While we'd been working on the reds, the wind kicked big-time. Coming right out of the south. It would be trolling motor appreciation day on the way home. Not long before we were ready to head home, I saw a woman paddling her way down along the mangroves on a SUP board. She was coming from the direction of the river. She finally got to us, and then decided to come toward me. It took her a long time just to get to me because of the strong wind. She was struggling for every inch. Once she was close enough to talk, I asked her where she'd come from. She pointed at the A Span, where we had also come from. I asked her if she thought she'd be able to get back. She said she thought she'd be OK, and paddled on.
We fish for a while longer, and it was obvious there would be no more reds caught. The tide was over at this point. We headed home. Our mystery girl had not even made a hundred yards in the time we'd been fishing. As I passed I asked her again if she'd be OK. I figured that I could figure out some way to tow her back if she needed help. She said she'd make it eventually.
We had a chop of at least two feet out there in that wind and current. The Ultimates handle that stuff well, and I just put my motor on speed 5, and plowed through and over it. Rich wasn't there at the beach once Dave and I arrived, even though he'd left earlier. He came in shortly behind us, and told us he'd taken off in the wrong direction.
Once we had the boats broken down and all the gear put away and boats trailered, our SUP girl finally made it in. Took her over an hour to get maybe a half mile, and she looked pretty fried. But, she was safe.
All in all it had been a fun day with lots of fish. But, the redfish remained tough to catch in any numbers.
Monday was a beautiful day with a very high, but slow moving tide, for my customer Carl Murray, of Southbury, Connecticut. I hadn't seen Carl since early 2000, as he hadn't been back in our area since. Again, we launched off the A span of the Sanibel Causeway, and first went looking for a trout bite. We found what we were looking for quickly, and Carl and I caught trout on nearly every cast as we fished the drop off the flat into the deeper cut that feeds Matlacha Pass. It must have lasted for a couple of hours!
I left Carl catching and went in search of redfish and outsized trout. I had a ladyfish on the stringer along with some trout. We would use that for redfish again. While I was working on finding some redfish, Carl decided to come join me, once his bite slowed down. Well, somehow, he went right past the area I was in, probably because he didn't see me, and wound up lost. We communicated on the radios, and held our paddles up in the air so that the bright yellow of the blades would be easy to spot. He couldn't see me, and I couldn't see him. Keep in mind, now, that I thought he was coming to me from the A Span. I didn't realize he had left to come join me. We talked back and forth, and I finally figured he had to be somewhere other than where I thought he was. I headed out toward A span to open water, away from Fisherman's Key. I had him raise his paddle again, and to my amazement, I finally saw him way north of my close to Miserable Mile. Finally, he was able to see my paddle, and began his trek back to me.
With Carl and I back together, I took him to fish for reds. I got him set up with a ladyfish steak, and it wasn't long before he had a nice 23 inch redfish in the boat. After that first red, I believe I remember that he got his ladyfish rig tangled up in the mangroves, and went back to tossing lures. Carl caught yet more trout, along with a flounder.
I was a short distance away where I could keep him in my sight, and worked on redfish with jigs and spoons. I got 3 reds on lures, and one on a ladyfish steak. Finally, the tide was done, and it was time to head in. So, we had 5 reds for the afternoon, along with a ton of trout. Not a bad day at all, and we at least broke the 2 redfish barrier.
That was it for the rest of the week. The tides for the rest of the week were very weak, poor tides. They're the last to book, and often don't.
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