It’s hard to believe it’s December already! And I’m sorry to say I haven’t been keeping up on my fishing reports. Thankfully, a lot has changed since my September blog. The water quality and the fishing have greatly improved!

I’m happy to report that the “Red Tide” that plagued our beautiful Sanibel & Captiva islands has not been an issue in Pine Island Sound for some time now. In fact, the waters are remarkably clear, and fishing has been surprisingly good following such an event. (See photos & video below) And, it continues to improve…although there are some lingering levels of it offshore in the Gulf.  I certainly hope it continues to stay far, far away from us.  It certainly put a hurting on all of the tourism related businesses here on the islands.  But the rebound is promising.

For now, I’m happy to say that the beautiful water is back! In fact, the water is as clear as I’ve ever seen it in my 13 years of chartering on the islands. I’m no marine biologist, but it seemed to me that when Hurricane Michael passed through the Gulf, it sucked out much of the dirty water and replaced it with crystal clear water. It’s amazing.  There are places in the sound you can clearly see the bottom in 10+ feet of water!

Now that “Winter” has arrived, if you can get away from the occasional winds from passing cold fronts the fishing has been strong. The weather here has remained stellar! Aside from the occasional day in the 60’s, we are in the regularly in the 70’s and 80’s! It’s beautiful, So it’s time to come down and get out of the cold!

The Snook bite this fall has been amazing – both in numbers and in size.  Our Redfish have returned and the Snapper has remained strong pretty much the entire time. Even offshore has been solid with Grouper, Cobia, Kingfish and Triple Tail making their annual return to the beaches. The bait is plentiful, and overall it’s been amazing to watch Mothers Natures resiliency. I’ve been seeing good numbers of “rat” Reds (juvenile Redfish) and juvenile Snook and Tarpon, which bodes well for the future of our fishery. So I’m confident that, while we might not be completely out of the woods, we are on the road to recovery.

That said, I’d like to take a moment to thank all of my customers who returned this summer despite the all the bad press our coast received. Thanks to you, I actually remained quite busy most of the time. Without you all, I would have been in bad shape. I’m very thankful for each of you, and I’m extremely lucky to get to do what I love each day, in one of the most beautiful places on the planet! Thank you all for your continued support!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all of you, and hopefully we’ll see you soon!

BTW, every picture & video below is from the past few months (post Red Tide)… Come wet a line with us soon!

Tight Lines,
Capt. Shawn Kelly