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The Hot Bite Is On

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On: Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 9:40AM | By: Captain Ron Kowalyk

Time to get out and get into the long awaited hot bite. Good weather, smooth sailing, lots of nice bait! Crew are smiling again as they reach out and touch some bully gamefish. “Grouper Grabbers” reported good action from 9 to 25 plus
miles out. Nobody in the know is giving up their GPS data, so you’re on your own and that’s the way it should be. With a little “sea gulling” and courtesy we’ll all be welcome to share in the movable feast.

Grouper, mobs of big snapper, hogfish, cobia, and other “grounders” were reported in mass. The typical suspects served up as bait all produced; best bets were pins, threads, bluerunners, squirrels fish, and juicy cut stocks, I like Spanish sardines and cigar minnows or mullet! Squid will do and shrimp are always on the menu; remember a legal snapper on a “Fat Boy” rig is hard to beat for big fish. Plenty of sharks if you’re into that stuff and guy asked me about Goliaths, I don’t target either but they’re a whale of a bycatch for first timers and kiddies. Spanish are crashing the bait balls with kings and bonito for company; trolling spoons, pitching metal and float lives will put you in the fray; good stuff across the board. The stained water is about gone so plan to scoot around any “gock”.

The beaches were well supplied with pompano, snook, and jacks. Surf fishers soakedshrimp off Lovers Key, Bowman’s Beach, and The Coast Guard Beach at Boca. Reds,pomps, snook, Spanish, and sharks made for some fun in the sun.

Backbay action has perked up with very good redfish action from Estero Bay, Pine Island Sound, Charlotte Harbor; you could ask for more but, as the season warms up and the tide get thick, you’ll actually get your wish. My crews found shrimp-hungry reds in Estero Bay on the morning tides; other crews did well in the afternoons. Snookers feed liners all manner of live fish baits, some flies and sufficed plugs; good stuff. Easy boy involved freelined handpicked shrimp; I like It. Trout are rebounding but you’ve got to cover real estate to get into a limit of slot fish; plenty of shorts around, a good sign for the future. Pomps, trout, jacks, ladyfish, and snapper ate shrimp, flies, and scented plastics for drift fisherman.

Capt.’s Corner: Keep it simple to start with since the bays are still in recovery. Shrimp, cutbait, and shiners are all available and don’t require much shopping time. Snookers may have to be more particular with pins, brown back shiners, and threads still a tad thin on the flats. If you can round up some finger mullet you’re a winner, they are around. Bring plenty of chum shrimp for firing up your redfish, always a good idea, “old school often rules”. I guess I'm just set in my ways!

Capt. Ron Kowalyk: 239-267-9312


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