Fishing Report: Anglers battling continuing shifts in weather, forecasts

LARRY REGIENCZUK

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— A roller coaster of weather patterns has made for less than ideal conditions for anglers this past week -- from last weekend's big cold front, to the most recent one on Tuesday. Of course before the front, strong winds and small craft warnings added to the challenges. Water temperatures bounced back up from the low 50s to 71 degrees in Estero Bay on Tuesday afternoon.

The quality of the water varied up and down the coast. Protected areas and on the lee side of islands still had real nice water, while open areas and the windward side of the islands got pretty well churned up.

The offshore boats tended to stay fairly close to shore, and they keyed on mangrove snappers and sheepshead. Inshore results ranged from hot to really bad. Trout, reds, and snook are around, and if you put the right tempting offer in their face, you caught fish. Sheepshead can be found around any rock piles and pilings. Some decent-sized fish are being boated and the occasional surprise hook up happened, too.

Offshore: Dirty water means mangrove snapper fishing, and calmer, clean water has allowed for trips a little farther offshore. The amberjacks and king mackerel have been willing participants. A lot of smaller mangs, porgies, etc., on the near-shore trips.

Capt. Mike Avinon did get one longer run in the past week, and they ran out 35 miles. Using blue runners, they got into amberjacks up to 45 pounds, and three went into the fish box. A few nice kings went for nice live thread herring.

On Saturday, Capt. Jim Wheeler was staying close because the weather forecast was grim. After catching a bunch of jacks in Gorden Pass, and realizing that the weather man was once again wrong and that conditions were not that bad, he ventured to near-shore structure. His anglers were catching sheepies and mangs, when one of the rods bent double. Angler Stan Fister of Lexington, Ky., successfully fought and boated a nice, 20-pound black drum that went home for dinner.

Naples/Estero Bay: On Monday, I had Bob, Jim, and Mickey from the Brooks Fishing Club on board. Bob stated that he needed some fish for a fish fry, so we went after some trout.

Using live bait, the three boated 12 nice trout to 21 inches. Making a move, the trio landed a few small snook and some jacks, and then Bob hooked up to a nice fish that turned out to be a 24-inch red. The wind was tough, and we had to fish sheltered areas, but the overall water quality was pretty good.

Capt. Jason Moore fished on Tuesday afternoon, and despite real high winds he was able to put his anglers on a nice mess of redfish. He was using shrimp on a jig to fool the fish up under the bushes as we enjoyed a very high tide on Tuesday. Jason shrugged off the less-than-great conditions and said, "You just don't know until you go!"

Ten Thousand Islands: Capt. Ken Chambers has been fishing both fly and spin trips recently. On the spin trips, the trout bite has been very good. He has been fishing deeper cuts and passes in the back using shrimp, and pulling in fish ranging 14 to 18 inches. Along with the trout, his anglers are hooking bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, pompano and mackerel.

For the fly anglers, there have been some challenges with high winds and cloudy skies, which make sight fishing tough. Even with less than ideal conditions, his anglers have been tagging small to medium snook and some real nice redfish. Catch of the week was by John Sieg who was fly fishing. He landed a number of reds up to a hefty, 29-inch fish.

If you have a report to share, send it to captsnookus@hotmail.com

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