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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: pine island

Fishing Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass by Hobie “Pedal” Craft!

by on Jun.18, 2016, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS, Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Siesta Key to Boca Grande

 

 

 

pineisland

Charlotte Harbor “turns into” Pine Island Sound at an imaginary line drawn east from the mouth of Boca Grande Pass.  And for the most part, all the water in the upper half of the sound, as well as much of Charlotte Harbor, is moved by the action of that pass.  The lower half of the sound is affected by the pull of water from the Caloosahatchee River at Fort Myers and generally feeds into San Carlos Bay, to the south.  Matlacha Pass lies to the east of Pine Island and it’s water typically flows more strongly to the south on falling tides. What all this has to do with fishing is that the ebb and flow of the tides here and the constant filling and flushing of the harbor, the sound and Matlacha Pass all move bait, and with it–lots of inshore species of game fish.

This is big water, and that generally calls for big boats.  However, there’s plenty of good fishing within range of paddle or pedal craft.  On a recent trip, sponsored by the Hobie Cat Company, the leading manufacturer of pedal craft, I had the opportunity to fish the shoreline of Pine Island in a variety of weather conditions.  With summer thunderstorms building and winds howling, I experienced the ease with which I was able to move about, using my legs to power the boat, and all the while being able to continue fishing. Hobie not only pioneered pedal-style “kayaks”, but that segment of their business is now significant–with fishing “boats” the largest part of that segment.  I’ve paddled conventional kayaks and tried to fish from them, but there’s no comparison.  The ability to navigate your craft while still fishing has tremendous advantages.   Hobie’s MirageDrive, Turbo Fins and Vantage Seat have made their Pro Angler the go-to boat for serious kayak anglers!

Fishing a fully rigged Hobie Pro Angler in Matlacha Pass

Fishing a fully rigged Hobie Pro Angler in Matlacha Pass

While there are several primitive roadside launch spots on Pine Island, Hobie did their research and put us in the water (in about 15 kayaks!) at some places where we’d have easy reach to the fishing grounds.  That’s not to say that we didn’t pedal as much as 5 miles, but the beauty of the rugged Pine Island shoreline is such that you don’t have to go far to catch fish.  And, when you get “home” you want to be able to easily load the boats onto trucks or trailers and have a cold beverage.  Luckily, locals like Frank Stapleton (Hobie’s Sales Rep) and John Donahue (local writer and man-about-town) know the area well and provided welcome guidance for fishing, launching and cold beverages.

The flats west of Pineland Marina and the Tarpon Lodge offer excellent kayak fishing.

The flats west of Pineland Marina and the Tarpon Lodge offer excellent kayak fishing.

Buzzard Bay, north of the bridge at Matlacha, offers great kayak fishing in protected waters.

Buzzard Bay, north of the bridge at Matlacha, offers great kayak fishing in protected waters.

Hobie, along with PR Pro Ingrid Niehaus, put on a first class event.   We stayed at The Tarpon Lodge at Pineland, and even had a fun dinner at Cabbage Key, also owned by the Wells family.  The event was also sponsored by the local tourism office, The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel.  And, in terms of easy access to water, we found great kayak launches at Pineland Marina and at the county park/boat ramp at Matlacha, on the east side of the island.

Dollar bills….a Cabbage Key tradition–along with the original “Cheesburger in Paradise”

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Tarpon Lodge

Tarpon Lodge

Cabbage Key

Cabbage Key

Dollar bills....a Cabbage Key tradition--along with the  original "Cheesburger in Paradise"

Dollar bills….a Cabbage Key tradition–along with the original “Cheeseburger in Paradise”

There are lots of options when it comes to fishing the waters here.  But there are no limitations to tackle.  Some of our group used light spinning gear, while others used baitcasters or fly rods.  The Hobie boats are stable, making it easy to get out and wade, or to stand while fishing.  The waters are generally shallow, making it a perfect place to throw topwater plugs (MirrOlure Top Dogs) or soft plastics (D.O.A. 3-inch shrimp or CALs).

 

 

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Fishing the flats in Pine Island Sound, just a short paddle from the Tarpon Lodge and Pineland Marina

 

 

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There’s no problem standing up–or fly fishing–from a Hobie Pro Angler kayak!

 

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It’s just a short paddle north from the Matlacha boat ramp to the backwaters of Buzzard Bay.

 

 

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota & Pine Island Sound, FL Fishing Report for 7/21/2013

by on Jul.21, 2013, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, Upper Charlotte Harbor

Anglers fishing with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action fly fishing for tarpon in the coastal gulf. Fly anglers jumped 2 tarpon, had several other eats and numerous shots at tarpon with a fly in the coastal gulf during the past week. We also fished Pine Island Sound one afternoon and caught and released a big red on a fly.
Jerry Poslusny and Jay Peck, both from the Rochester, NY area fished Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with me. Conditions were tough a good portion of the week with a lot of clouds and some rain. However there were enough windows of good visibility to get them numerous shots at tarpon each day. They jumped 2 fish and had 3 other eats on Deceiver and Grassett Tarpon Bunny flies.
My brother Kirk Grassett, from Middletown, DE, came down to fish a few days later in the week. Rusty Chinnis, from Longboat Key, FL joined us on Thursday and we came across an osprey struggling and flopping on the surface as we ran in the coastal gulf. As we got closer to investigate, we could see that the bird was near collapse from exhaustion. It showed no fear and allowed Kirk to cover its head with a towel and lift it onto the deck of my boat. We took the bird to the beach and it was too exhausted to either fly or jump off the deck, so Kirk lifted him off the bow and sat him on the beach. The bird appeared to have an injured wing and was very waterlogged, so Rusty contacted Save Our Seabirds who came out to the scene to rescue the bird. A follow up call reported that the bird was recovering at the bird hospital. We only had a few shots at tarpon that day due to heavy clouds and fish deep in the water column but we had a dozen or more good shots on Friday.
Kirk and I were the guests of our friend Capt. Rick DePaiva, from Ft. Myers, FL, to fish Pine Island Sound on Saturday. Capt. Rick knows his fishery well and since conditions were good for reds to tail on shallow grass flats late in the day, we planned to be there at that time. We had some shots at tailing reds and Kirk caught and released a very nice, upper slot red on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly.  Due to the dark, tannic water that is prevalent in that area this time of year, colors on the fish were vivid!
Tarpon fishing in the coastal gulf should be good next week depending on conditions. Beat the heat by catch and release snook fishing before daylight in the ICW and then look for reds and big trout in shallow water early in the day. Fishing deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay for trout, blues, Spanish mackerel and more should also be a good option.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis- Endorsed Outfitter Guide
CB’s Saltwater Outfitters-2011 Orvis Outfitter of the Year
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
(941) 923-7799
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com

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Charlotte Harbor and The Gulf Fishing Report, 10/6/12, from Capt. Ralph Allen, The King Fisher Fleet

by on Nov.06, 2012, under Middle Charlotte Harbor, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, Upper Charlotte Harbor

Gulf of Mexico

Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, bluefish, sharks and a few stray blackfin tuna are haunting southbound schools of migrating bait fish, offering outstanding action for offshore anglers who find the action. Since everything is on the move, one day’s hotspot can be the next day’s desert, but since everything is generally moving parallel to the coast, if you know the depth they were at yesterday you can start your search there.  Things to look for:  diving birds, breaking fish, schools of bait which show on your depthsounder, and happily-hooked-up anglers on other boats.  Trolling usually produces the most fish but drifting the edges of the action and casting with light tackle can be a blast, and it’s also possible to anchor down, chum heavily with live and/or dead chum and pull the fish to you.  If you’re fishing within about ten miles of the beach, don’t be surprised if you find yourself attached to a very large redfish (or several of them at once) because schools of brood-stock reds run the beaches in the fall.  If you tire of mackerel fishing (or limit out), the bottom fishing for red grouper, lane snapper, grunts, porgies and other assorted reef fish is good on flat rock in 65 feet of water or deeper, and amberjack are stacking up on wrecks and artificial reefs starting in about 80 feet of water.

Charlotte Harbor

The biggest news on our inshore fishing scene is that for the first time in many years trout season is open in November (and December).  So far the best trout fishing has been on the flats in two to three feet of water in the upper harbor, and on slightly deeper grass flats in the lower harbor and nearer to the Gulf.  When temps cool a bit further look for trout fishing in canals, creeks and boat basins to perk up.  The redfish action in 2012 continues to be better than we’ve seen in several years with good numbers of slot fish found along the mangroves on both sides of the harbor, and fishable numbers are showing up in the canal systems and up the rivers now as well.  Snook continue to benefit from nearly three years of closed season, with many homeowners reporting stacks of fish gathered around their snook lights, and anglers playing the catch-and-release game with good numbers of smaller fish with a healthy mix of larger specimens, a sure sign of a recovered stock.  Sheepshead are starting to bunch up around some of their winter spawning sites including the piers at El Jobean and Placida, the artificial reefs in the harbor, and under docks and around rip-rap in the canals.  This winter fishery is just getting started and will become hotter and hotter as the water becomes cooler and cooler.

Notes:
Snook season remains closed,  opens September 1, 2013
Gag grouper season closed November 1
All grouper close February 1, open April 1
Grey triggerfish closed in Federal waters June 11, opens January 1

Let’s Go Fishing!

Capt. Ralph Allen
captain@kingfisherfleet.com

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The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

by on Oct.02, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Dunedin, Clearwater and Largo, Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Marco and The 10,000 Islands, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Naples, Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, St. Pete Beaches, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, The Sunshine Skyway and Beyond to Egmont, Upper Charlotte Harbor

The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

It’s been a long time coming, but the University Press of Florida has just released my second fishing book.  If you’re a native and wanting more information on the Gulf of Mexico coastline from Chassahowitzka to Chokoloskee, you need this book.  If you’re planning to winter in Florida, you need this book.  Everyone needs this book. The Table of Contents is outlined below.

To order, simply click on the link on the sidebar to the right of this page and you’ll be taken to Amazon.com.  Thanks–and enjoy!

Part One–The Destinations

1.  Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida

2.  The Upper Suncoast-Hernando and Pasco Counties

3.  Tarpon Springs and North Pinellas County

4.  St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Peninsula

5.  Old Tampa Bay, Tampa and The Bay’s Eastern Shore

6.  Manatee and Sarasota Counties-The Gateway to Tropical Florida

7.  Charlotte Harbor and Her Gulf Islands

8.  Fort Myers, Estero, Sanibel and Captiva

9.  Naples, Marco and The Ten Thousand Islands

Part Two–Practical Matters

10. It’s All About The Fish…

11. …And How to Catch Them

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