Last week or so fishing P.I.S.

I have been able to get out on the water quite frequently the last few weeks and although the conditions could be better I still don't have a care in the world when out on the water, not many better stress relievers in my opinion. The water conditions are definitely improving compared to a month or so ago I have mainly been fishing in northern Pine Island sound and have been able to avoid red tide and find decent water each outing, have to run a lot more than usual but the fish are here just have to find them.  I have also been staying on the inside and have only ran the beaches and fished the passes a few times lately just too much redtide most of the time. With the exception of a couple windows where we got after some big mature tarpon in some deeper holes near one of the passes ( it has been holding mature tarpon for the last week or so, can't give any more info or it will be packed with bayboats come sat.  The snook are definitely abundant and holding where they should be, think structure, current, ambush spots, ect. I have been seeing a lot of snook holding on the bottom in the deeper holes and troughs around healthy grass flats and bars and also all over on the mangroves during higher water.  The redfishing has really picked up the last week or two also as I have seen some massive schools working the flats and oyster bars and when they are feeding have been super aggressive, mainly upper to over slot fish. There have been a few mornings that we absolutely hammered them. 
Here is a quick summery of the past week or so, I will try to add pics tomorrow.

9/14- was able to get out by myself for a few hrs in the morning. Mainly looking for tarpon with artificial and saw several free jumpers but no takers. Water was not too bad , faint smell of redtide out front of N.Captiva so went back inside and caught a few snook around 22-25" on a spooltek swim bait and a mid slot redfish on a D.O.A. cal-shad before calling it a day at about 9:30am.

9/15- Excellent day on the water, got out early just my wife and I and headed to a area around useppa to try to net some of the smaller sized mullet I've seen lately, after a slight struggle to find my choice size about 10" (tarpon candy) we where back around the pass to drift a couple deeper areas that have been holding some mature tarpon. Glancing at the clock I make a mental note of the time, 7:22am as I deploy the trolling motor and begin scanning for action. Right away we saw a good size free jumper easily surpassing 100lbs while I position us for first drift and nose hook a mullet with 8/0 trokar . My wife makes a very good cast and begins free lining the mullet less than a minute in she gets inhaled and the fish immediately goes airborn, another nice leap and she's gone,  maybe 75-80 lber. We get her another mullet rigged and about 5 mins later bam! hooked up again and appears to be a solid fish. Now i'm by no means a Tarpon expert but I catch my fair of them and my wife has caught many also and knows how to use her rod and drag to fight them. Let me tell you this fish had every opportunity come undone but didn't, it went crazy once it realized it was hooked, explosive leaps, a couple screamin runs, there were a few times there was so much slack in her line I still can't figure out how it didn't snap. 25 mins later I had the leader in my hand, beautiful fish I'd estimate at about 110-120lbs, by 8:15 or so we had her freshly revived and released. We tried a few more drifts around the area with not so much as another bump, by 8:45 they completely shut down, no activity what so ever so we hit some near by docks with hopes of finding a big snook to take our mullet. No such luck on the mullet but I did mange 3 smaller snook around 24" on a spooltek swim bait. Called it a day and headed over to north captiva, 10:15 and we were eating a delicious breakfast sandwich from Mangos then headed in. The water around capitva pass was probably the clearest I've seen in a long time, still stained but not that nasty milky, cloudy water, good visibility and no odor this morning.

9/16- Could tell as soon as we launched the water conditions had worsened over the previous two days, could smell the redtide and for the first time my eyes and throat were a bit irritated. The Sanibel/cswy area were disgusting ran north a ways in search of clean water. Ended up finding some semi- decent water around the back side Regla and found some dink snooks around 20" that would hit my Yozuri crystal minnow almost every cast. Lost one a little bigger and called it a day. 

9/19- Went out for a few hrs in the morning just pretty much scouting looking for Tarpon, not much action saw a few in my normal spots but no takers. About 7:45 decided to go check out some oyster bars and flats and came upon a huge school of reds working extremely shallow and extremely fast. From my position I had no shot at getting to them in time and just took in the awesome sight.  Picked up a few smaller snook off another bar and called it a day, back by 10am.

9/21- Got out really early with my cousin and headed to our "bait spot" and were able to find some decent grass holding some pins. It took about 25-30 mins just to get about a 1.5 dozen.  Plan was to go look find those giant schools of reds I've been lately, we ran up to one of my favorite oyster bars in northern Pine Island sound , this particular area is a redfish haven with a huge narrow oyster bar running parallel to a mangrove island.  On the "backside" of the bar is trough that runs almost the entire length and dips to about 3-4' on the eastern end, it's almost like a little hole they sit in. On top of that the area is surrounded by some really nice grass and sand flats. We never did find the big school but caught several nice redfish off the bar up to 30". Also this time I am 100% sure I pushed 2 Cobia working a flat, I have seen more Cobia inshore this past month than I have in the past 5 yrs.

9/22 - Fished with a good friend and one of the best inshore guides in the lower Key's, Capt. Brian "Permit" Peterson. Unfortunately his mother is battling cancer up at Moffit in Tampa and his wife and him stopped in fri night for a nice dinner and visit. The ladies went and did there thing and it gave Brain and myself a very enjoyable morning. Started out early looking for tarpon and we found them, no mature fish but lots of active juvi's crushing mullet around Regla Island.  Plan was to let Brian get after them with his fly rod, I am not a fly fisherman and to watch him make perfect cast after perfect cast was pretty amazing. The accuracy and almost effortless seeming motion was unreal, a true professional. I didn't even cast a line and had one the best and enjoyable days on the water I can remember, watching a close friend go 3/7  (all 20-40lb) on the fly rod and get some much needed de-stressing. 

So there are plenty of fish to be caught and the water is improving a bit. My suggestion to anyone wanting to find fish is avoid sanibel/river mouth/causeway area, and just keep moving until you find some decent water. I'm hoping to get out a few mornings this week to look for tarpon, will report back.



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