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Post Info TOPIC: Report for the Week Ending 10/17/09 for Pine Island Sound


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Report for the Week Ending 10/17/09 for Pine Island Sound

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I got in two trips this week, and both were with old friends that I've known and fished with for years; Bruce Miller, of Cape Coral, and Ron “Texas Wader” Hunter, of Palmetto. Fishing with old friends makes even the tough days great.

Bruce and I were up on Wednesday. We'd been trying to get this trip in for a long time, and it seemed every day we scheduled wound up being big winds or storms. And, the nice thing about being local is that you can pick your days. Bruce and I get together fairly regularly for breakfast or lunch, and I really enjoy that. Now, we had finally drawn a good weather day.

We had a pretty good tide, and I was looking for a pretty good bite. I wasn't sure how the bait situation would be since it had gotten tough last week after that first cold front. I knew bait was on the beach, but a southeast breeze running across the tide had things pretty chopped up at first light, and we opted to head on up into the Sound to Chino Island for bait.

Or not! I couldn't find the first shiner or ballyhoo at Chino. There were lots of trout and mackerel busting some kind of bait on top, but all we could get to come to the chum was pinfish. We kept a few for redfish bait.

We moved on to Kiesel's flat, not that far away. Yet, it was alive with schools of bait spraying and dimpling everywhere you looked. I made a free throw on some, and it was all pretty small. I had a mess in the net. I wanted bigger bait, so Bruce and I anchored and went to work chumming. All we got was more small stuff with very few descent sized shiners mixed in. We moved out deeper hoping to find bigger bait there, but it was more of the same. We soon had the well loaded with bait, but it was small.

By this time our breeze had evaporated, and it was obvious that to fish our shiners we'd have to use weighted popping cork rigs. I got a couple of rigs ready at our first stop, and we mixed shiners with cut bait laying on the grass. We managed a fat mangrove snapper and a trout at that first spot.

At our next hole we were immediately on the redfish, and had a steady bite. Bruce caught some beautiful reds, and I got a kick out of watching him have fun with them. We probably could have stayed right there and kept catching them until the tide was done, which would have been fine with me. But, since we'd already had a good morning of redfishing, and couldn't keep any more than our two, I ask Bruce if he wanted to go try for some snook. He was all for that, so we packed up and headed for new territory.

At our snook spot we were back in to redfish, again. If we'd wanted to catch a lot more redfish, we probably could have. But, we stuck with basic snook rigs. Still, Bruce caught a couple more reds. We had a blacktip shark of 5 to 6 ft. long come into our area, and it just kept cruising all over the whole area. We never did catch a snook, and the redfish stopped, as well. I'm pretty sure the shark ran them off.

By now it was around the noon hour, and we were both hot and tired. It was another week of record to near record high temperatures, we'd had enough. We headed home. Back at the ramp Bruce showed me a picture of his Grandson Tyler with a big redfish he caught up on the northeast coast offshore. He sent me the picture on an email so I could share it with you. It has to be one of the best fishing pictures I've ever seen.

Bruce wrote, “The fish weighed 50 pounds, was 1 inch longer than he is tall and took him 45 minutes to land it. He wouldn't let anyone touch the rod either. Die hard fisherman just like his two grandpas and his mother and father.” You go, Tyler!


It was about the same with Ron Hunter and me, on Thursday. He's not local, local, but he's close enough that we can pick our days like Bruce and I do. We try to always make sure we have good weather and a descent tide. I figured that unless the front that was coming managed to shut the fish down, we ought to have a pretty good day. Ron brought his step-son Chris along, and I really wanted to get them on a good redfish or snook bite.

We headed straight up toward Kiesel's flat for bait. But, I sure hoped that I could find some bigger bait than we'd had the day before. I decided that I would stop and see if I could catch some bait out of the big schools in the deeper water along the way. But, once I did it was immediately evident that the fish were really boat shy, and after a few throws with not so much as a shiner, we moved on.

I anchored in about five feet, and there was bait flipping and flashing everywhere. Most of what we could see was small. The tide was running hard, as it had the day before. We put Chris in charge of chumming, and after watching the horn of the net as it sunk into the water, it was obvious that there was a much stronger current down under than there was at the surface. Chris moved the chum back behind the bow on the port side, and I threw the net to the end of the rope across the bow, and that's where we got the big strikes on the bait. And, it was beautiful bait. Once we figured out the undercurrent, we really loaded up with nice shiners, ballyhoo, pinfish, and threads. We'd never in five years use all that bait!

We had a westerly breeze, which is unusual first thing in the morning. So, my first choice of spots to fish was one that holds good snook populations, and some redfish. But, much to my chagrin the fish weren't biting. We didn't even get a pop on the chum. We moved on.

I headed to where I'd caught the reds with Bruce early the day before. But, as I got near I could see that my good friend Scott Covington was already there. I'd told him about catching a bunch of redfish there , and he was on a mission to get his wife Lorrie her first redfish. Scott was in a great place, but he had parked pretty much right where he should have been casting his baits. That's stuff that will come with experience. I called him on the cell, and told him. He asked if he should move, and I recommended he not take a chance at spooking the fish.

We settled on a spot where I could see Scott. There are redfish all over the area, but they weren't in an eating mood. Chris did get the first keeper red of the day there, but we couldn't get another to eat. I told the boys we were going to join Scott and see if we could drag a red out from under his boat! I made a long quiet approach on the trolling motor so as not to disturb the redfish I knew were there. I anchored behind and port of Scott about the length of a good cast. Scott wasn't catching, but said he thought they'd lost one red. After a few minutes Chris had a big redfish run down his bait while he was reeling in. Mission accomplished. I think Scott and Lorrie wanted to throw lead sinkers at us. After a little while we quietly moved on. I was sure that if Scott stayed there Lorrie would get her redfish before it was over.

We stopped at another spot that has been full of redfish hoping to find a bite. We did manage to catch two or three reds, but neither the reds nor the snook wanted to bite. We spent the rest of the morning moving from hole to hole to hole with no more than a few scaled baits. The fish just wouldn't eat! We would go home snook-less! And, by noon that's what we did. The sun had beaten us down pretty well.

It had been a tough day, and I suspected it was for everyone. But, Ron was in top form, and we had a blast in spite of the slow bite. Back at the dock I had a chance to talk to a couple of other guides as they came in, and guess what. They had experienced the same terribly slow bite that we had. It will go down as one of those days that blindsided us, as I'm really not sure why the fish were off. They just were.

As I'm writing this the big front has passed through the area. It rained and stormed here from around 0100 to 0800 hrs. It was mostly a nice soaking kind of rain. The kind we need. But, behind the front comes big northerly winds through Monday. I have a trip Monday with Dr. Ron Kolata, another old friend I've fished with for years. I'm hoping he'll have the flexibility to reschedule to Tuesday because I know for certain the fish won't be eating for the next two days, at least.


Best Fishes! Capt. Butch
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