Snook addicts certainly get their fill fishing on the moving water phases at Blind Pass between Sanibel Island and Captiva. This area has always been a snook and redfish hotspot with plenty of moving water from the Gulf rich in vast amounts of whitebait.
Offshore: It was a little windy the past few days but the bravehearts made it out to the marks from 3–20-plus miles out. Grouper, snapper, cobia, and permit were the targets; from what I hear, results were good if not easy. The close marks were fishable on smaller craft, but be careful with the random thunderstorms and gusty winds to 20 knts.
Heat, rain, wind, freshwater outflow—Oh Yeah! Conditions have tested the best of the off-the-beach bunch. Just be sure you keep an eye on the weather to insure a safe, productive outing.
If you're up for it, the tarpon bite is hot. Crews fished at first light and came up with bruiser poons to 180lbs. The bite started at with rolling mobs of 100-pounder-plus silver kings at 1–3 miles in 20 ft. of water off at the twin Towers at Ft. Myers beach and extended to Knapp's Point and beyond. Fish were reports as close in as 16 ft. water off Sanibel Light and the bite extended to the 30 ft. marks, easy running. "Old Timie" dead stick and soaked baits with chum worked, as long as you stayed away from the "Young Turks" chasing the rollers. Threads, pins, and, cut bait all worked. Plenty of bait off Ft. Myers Beach and the Mays Reef, bring your Sabikki to make quick work of baiting. Cut bait included ladyfish, mullet, and shad—crabs were useful as well. Live ladyfish were a top producer.
“Nipper Madness” can strike at any time near bridge pilings, reefs and wrecks, or while drifting the passes or fishing the channels. These are times when a “Homeboy" spreader can be real handy. If you’ve fished for perch on the Great Lakes, as I did with my dad and uncles, you’re probably familiar with the spreader rigs specifically designed to present two of even three baited hooks at once.
Beat the heat and get out at first light for the hot morning bite. Tarpon, cobia, permit, and snapper from 5–20 plus miles out. Pass crabs and small blue crabs are top picks for the permit and tarpon. Don't be surprised if you hook up fat and sassy cobia from Knapp's Point north to the Boca shipping channel.
This time of year we get a shot at one of the premiere gamefish of the subtropical water, permit. As the spring tides and warm water on the southwest coast of Florida take over, permit invade the close reefs and wrecks in search of forage—crustaceans in particular. As the stronger tides flush out critters from the flats adjacent to the passes, a smorgasbord of goodies drift toward the Gulf reefs. Among the favorites of permit, cobia, and tarpon are the pass crabs; pass crabs are a win-win bait situation.
A useful tool for beating the bushes, long casting the flats, and deep drifting the Gulf, a slip bobber can be a real asset. Whether you’re casting tight under the Green Monster or pitching big bait to rolling tarpon, this presentation can put your bait in the mix and at the right depth.
Wind has been a factor; 10-plus knots made tarpon fishing tough, but with decent results from Knapp's Point north. Get out early for best results. There's a mixed bag of biggies reported: sharks, cobia, tripletail, tarpon, kings on thee northern reaches of our region. Live bait in about any configuration will put you in the mix.
Rock and Roll, Sports Fans! Plenty of tarpon from the pass mouths out 3-plus miles, 16–30 ft. of water. Can't change much from last week's report, but that may be a good thing. Fish to a 100-plus pounds typical. Best baits: pinfish, threads, grunts. All available on Sabikki rigs over the close reefs at the bridges and while boiling under the birds. Just keep your eyes open and look for rollers. Deadsticking works as well.