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The Down-Low and the Okeechobee Run-off

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On: Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 9:30AM | By: Captain Ron Kowalyk

You can always trust the weatherman or the high-end snowbirds. Condition down along the Southwest coast are not as affected by the freshwater influx from Lake Okeechobee. These outflows are cyclical and, if you're in the know, you can easily work around them. We planned our trips to concentrate north and south of the freshwater bloom. Pine Island Sound, Charlotte Harbor, and Estero Bay were little affected by the recent runoff. Conditions have stabilized, so when you plan your outings, call local independent guides and get the real down-low and what's happening and what your options are. The Caloosahatchee River is cleaner now than it was fifty years ago! On the rebound as usual!

Windy weather made for slow going off the beaches. Still got some good reports from crews outa Redfish Pass on the marks at 25 miles off. Grouper are on a chew; pins, threads, squid filled the bait bill. Snapper are thick and hungry. Cobia and kings are mulling around the marks; gear up for a fight. The close marks at 3–9 miles were fishable in the right boat. Snapper, ground fish of all sorts, Spanish, and the odd king made the day. Mobs of Spanish prowled the surface along with pompanoa and jacks.

Inshore action: The water is clearing up and hopefully the winds will lay down. You had to run to find clear water, which was available and loaded with trout. We had trips that hooked up30–40 specks on shrimp and Gulps; not bad. Redfish are hunkered down in Pine Island Soundaround Regla, and on the east shore of the Wild Life Refuge, with more on the northern islands. EsteroBay has rebounded pretty well with trout, reds, and pompano reported on a chew.Charlotte Harbor had decent water and plenty of fat trout and hungry reds; a tad windy though, we'll see what the weekend weather brings. Weather reports are sketchy and not the most dependable on big open water. Plenty of leeway fishing though.

Capt. Ron Kowalyk: 239-267-9312


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