An older fellow recently called and asked me to field test a new boat and to show them "some spots."
They had bought the boat primarily to fish skinny water and poke around Matlacha Pass. The owner was a Chesa-peake Bay fisherman who recently relocated to fish away his retirement and fade off into the sunset.
When I arrived at the parking lot the first thing I noticed was the boat was all wrong for its intended use. The motor, transom and two feet of the hull was hanging unsupported by its trailer. It was a well known brand boat with high sides and a sharp entry bow, perfect for the harbor, offshore, the passes, but certainly not the flats of Matlacha Pass.
Capt. George Tunison
"What dealer did this to you I asked? Did you tell him where you intend to fish?"
"Well, no" was the answer. After putting the boat in the water, we got out a socket set and moved the bunks around to support the transom and took a ride through Matlacha.
Within minutes I didn't know if the proud owner was going to blow a gasket or cry after seeing that most of Matlacha Pass averages about two inches deep.
The boat is for sale. He will lose a ton of money. Educate yourself if you are new to our area. Ask questions, then ask more, and you won't end up making costly mistakes.
Capt. Rob Modys of SoulMate Charters reported a solid and steady trout bite on the Estero Bay flats this past week. He advises to look for areas where the water depths are three to four feet. Use either live white bait or artificial Berkeley Gulp Shrimp under popping corks.
Trick for Mr. Shark
You will also find bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and ladyfish mixed with the trout. The redfish are schooling up on the shallower flats and will hit both artificial and live baits. Sit quietly and wait, and watch for the pushes of water ahead of the schools and then make your cast.
The outside patch reefs near Lover's Key are still holding snook, although most of them are above slot size. There are lots of nice snappers in the same area along with some tackle busting grouper.
Capt. Phil Evans of AFishinMission Charters says this past week's fishing was very good. Reds are here. Just look for the mullet schools. When redfishing you want to be in areas where the mullet are active. Look in the mangroves while the water is high and deeper holes on the lower tides. The waters of Matlacha are stained dark and full of grass.
There is a lot of water getting released now and staining the water as well as lowering the salt content. I can tell that by a recent catch of a four-foot alligator gar. This freshwater fish was caught in the shallow mangroves near the Matlacha Bridge.
Early this week the mangrove snapper bite was red hot. They were caught on all baits, including ballyhoo pieces as well as small white baits. Go to the passes and Pine Island Sound for better snook action.
There still is a lot of shark action around and a lot of fun, and sometimes back-breaking work. If you want to catch a shark try this plan.
My favorite bait is a small live jack or bluefish. Use a reel with a large line capacity. Use a swivel and tie on some light wire. I usually use a short three-foot piece of 30-50-pound test and a circle hook. Clip the tail on the jack and hook in the tail. Make a small cut in the side for a blood trail, but leave the bait alive and frisky.
Cast the bait out and sit back. It won't be long before Mr. Shark pays a visit and there will be no doubt when he has arrived.
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Flying Fins Sportfishing.