Friday found me with John and Ben netting bait south under the Sanibel causeway. I was trying to elude the red tide that has been killing a bunch of manatees to our north. I was able to find very nice bait in about 5 throws. We were earlier than the tide and started in a canal on Sanibel island where I usually can find some snook and jacks under some docks at this time of year. I did find the snook. A couple of bruisers were lurking under those docks and boats but they did not want to have anything to do with our baits. Water temps were 61 and they were not biting yet. We did catch about 10 jacks in that canal and that was a good warmup for the day. After that we went north to Gault island and fished the incoming tide for reds and to our surprise found some very respectful trout under the bushes. we spent the whole day pitching the trees and caught a limit of 12 trout , most of which were around 19 inches and 3 small snook , and! one 15″ redfish puppy.
Saturday , after talking to other captains, decided to go back to home base. Launched in Bokelli to the north. Found bait at one of my usual flats and had the well full in 3 throws. I had good friends Jim and Bill on board. They wanted some redfish for blackening that nite. But I threw them a curve ball and took them for grouper offshore for an hour while waiting for the tide to start moving in. Well we struck out on that idea, but heck , ya gotta try. Last year at this time we boated some impressive grouper early in the mornings. So back to the trees and on our first spot Bill lost a keeper snook, and Jim caught a snook about 14 inches. We then moved to another key , where the water was so clear I thought I was in the Keys .I could see reds and what I thought was snook moving ahead of me on the trolling motor. I staked out a couple of times working my way from hole to hole. They didnt seem to be interested. But after an hour of chumming Jim nailed a nice 26″ redfish which put up a great fight in the shallow water. Then Jim caught a seatrout that was a whopping 28 inches. This was a monster trout and fought very well in 8 inches of water. The tide was slowing and we decided to go find some more trout. We fished 3 flats and found a school of keepers and soon had 12 in the box for a nice dinner. On the way back in I took them to a cove where I had located some nice snook last year . We chummed most of what was left in the well out and had snook blasting baits all around the boat. Jim had a decent one on and it threw the hook on the first jump. Next Bill caught a short snook and with that we called it a day at 3 pm. A little later than I wanted but we were having too much fun to quite on time.
Sunday I had Doc Steve out and we pretty much did the same as the day before except Steve was a little more keyed up and missed the only two redfish that bit his line. I was able to put a two reds and a keeper snook in the box. Then we spent the rest of the morning fishing for trout and caught our 8 fish limit before heading in.
Once back at home I had to change out a ball valve on the boat as it was leaking and prevented me from using my center livewell all weekend. And my new GPS/Sonar unit would not read a water temp on the old transducer so that forced me to remove and replace the transducer. That took all of 2 hours to complete. Ouch. But now everything is running fine and I expect that with the bait on the flats and reds in the bushes we should be in for some great fishing in April and May. Next weekend I am gonna be up at Lake O for three days with a bass tourny on Sunday. I will keep ya all posted on my results from the tourny.
~ Capt Rebby