Quick Cast:
 Area Reports

 Clubs & Orgs.
 Fishing Reports
 Fly Fishing
 Guides & Charters
 Photo Gallery
 Reef Locator

 About Us
 Terms of Use
 Web Development

Pine Island Sound

Capt. George Howell
January 17, 2007
Pine Island Sound - Saltwater Fishing Report

Well the new year has held on to a little of the passing fall weather, as day temperatures are usually around 80 degrees. Water quality around Pine Island Sound and the Caloosahatchee River are excellent, largely due to the lack of hurricanes and rainstorms this past fall. With little fresh water run-off, visibility often extends down 7-10 feet, even in the river where the water and bottom are much darker. Night temperatures are mild, usually in the lower 60’s, but as always this time of year, cold fronts have kept fishing consistently inconsistent.

Sheepshead are around in big numbers and trophy sizes. Our catches are commonly up to 6 pounds! Docks with at least 5 feet of water are almost always holding them. My best days have been under docks just outside of canals and in the mouths of bays. Live shrimp on the bottom using the smallest possible weight to keep the bait down has been the trick. Often a split shot is all that is needed. Fish become spooky with such clear water and many winter vacationers on the water, so small terminal tackle and baits generate the best results.

Snook and redfish have been around in great numbers, the challenge has been getting them to eat! Pre-front conditions such as we had on Monday the 8th have been great times to throw artificials. I was scouting all of this week for a tournament held on Saturday the 13th. When I scout for tournaments and future charters I do a lot of looking for fish with my eyes, and less fishing to keep the pressure off the fish. I always take the time to fish though, as I need to keep up with the presentation and baits the fish will accept. On Monday I had no trouble getting both snook and reds to eat soft plastic jerk baits in darker colors such as root beer and pumpkin seed. When long casts were needed the half ounce gold spoon was producing well. Fish also had no problem eating red lead head jigs with white paddle tail grubs, my favorite scouting lure as I can fish it in almost any situation.

The weekly cold front hit around Monday night, and Tuesday and Wednesday were bad days to be on the water. Tuesday was brutally windy and cold, not worth fishing. On Wednesday, my tournament partner was on the water spotting good numbers of fish, but only hooking into a couple of trout, a few small reds and a snook or two. On Thursday and Friday I found fish in the same places as Monday, and the fish that did move locations did not move far at all. However, artificial baits did not produce as well. The wind was still blowing, although it was manageable, but slow moving tides and Northeast winds slowed things down. After seeing fish turn down artificials on Thursday, I fed a nice school of sunning reds some choice cut baits (ladyfish and mullet) but they paid it no attention! Small snook did come around to soft plastics and suspending mirror lures, but with live bait hard to come by in the south end of the sound I never got big snook to eat.

Since live baits are hit or miss right now for us, we decided to stick with artificials and cut bait on tournament day. We were able to get our two snook photos needed by 8:30am, and with 2 reds and 2 trout still to fill the card we went after reds instead of trying to upgrade the 25” and 16” snook we already recorded. Our choice reds had moved but we quickly located them on a nearby shoreline. They were all in the 25”-32” range, and well over two dozen in the school. We tried a variety of artificials and cut bait but these fish would just not eat for us. We proceeded to fish 2 more nice schools of reds thoroughly with the same results. The tide was miserably slow and incoming all day, and as time ran out on our tournament, we tried a couple of potholes in an attempt to catch our reds and trout in the same spot. No luck! Out of 39 teams, only 5 filled their card with 2 snook, 2 reds, and 2 trout. Those teams must have been on the few hungry redfish that day, had a lot of patience, perfect presentation, and a little luck. After the early check in at 2:30pm, we hit an island shoreline on the way home and all caught redfish in the mid-slot range (22”-25”) on gold spoons and jigs. The tide was coming in strong now and the fish were more active.

All in all the week was a blast. Staying versatile and being patient are key to catching fish this time of year. Fish don’t seem to hit the same baits everyday as they might in summer, but if your not determined to catch one particular species there is always something willing to bite if you take the time to figure them out. While the winds are down I hope to chase some triple tail on the outside, as their bite has been great when the water is calm enough to sight fish for them. Stay tuned to see what tricks I have to pull out of the old tackle box this week! Remember, the next world record may only be a cast away!

Capt. George Howell

More Fishing Reports:


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.

Contact Info:

Capt. George
201 SW 38th Ter
Cape Coral, FL 33914
Phone: 239-770-5166
Email the Captain
Visit his Web Site
Browse Photo Gallery
Display Find-a-Guide Listing

Copyright © 1997-2018, CyberAngler - All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy :: Terms of Use
For Questions and comments please use our Feedback Form
Back to the Top