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Fishing in the Shallows of Lee County

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On: Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 10:05AM | By: John Paeno

The waters of the bays and beaches along the Lee County coast have warmed right up. I get up early every Monday or Tuesday and head out for a little kayak and wade fishing at the Pineland kayak launch on Pine Island. I like to fish this spot on an incoming tide. The grass flats here are very skinny (shallow) and most motor boats and even pedal kayaks can’t get in and move around freely unless it is a high tide. That gives me the advantage of being in there as the water rises. I like to catch the last part of the high tide here; the Snook and the Reds move and swim with the mullet. There are also a fair amount of Spotted Sea Trout.

I start fishing right from the launch and usually manage to hook up, as I did in the end of May, a real nice 25" Redfish using artificial bait (something white and shrimp-like seems to work). As the water temperatures climb the fish tend to slack off the bite in the warm part of the day, so I try to fish the early incoming tide. The fish will go to deeper cooler water in the middle of the day.

Look for Snook to be cruising the beaches. I was fishing along the Bowditch Point Park Beach on the bay side when I noticed big Snook in the water with me. While I was casting to them I noticed one in the water right next to me, looking at me; it seemed to say “yeah, you got a chance.” They were so keyed into the schools of glass minnows that I did not seem to even bother them. I was able to get most of it on video and you can see it on the Calusa Ghost Tours Facebook page. These Snook were 36"-plus long and there was at least 25–30 of them and they were in about a foot of water! At one point, one of them attacked the school in less than 6" of water and made the water explode. These Snook would not bite anything I threw at them and after talking to some of the other fishermen using live bait I found they were having no luck getting them to bite either.

The Snook season is closed in SW Florida right now but they still are a great game fish and can give you an awesome fight! This was a school of large breeders and it is a good sign that the Snook population is recovering after the freeze a few years ago.

For more info or paddle craft fishing charters and rentals, you can contact me at or 239-938-5342 or check us out at


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