Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pine Island Fishing Report: Winter 2011

Compared to what we experienced last year, this winter's weather has been an absolute Godsend so far.  On January 9th of 2010 we woke up to 39 degree water temperatures on Matlacha and canals full of dead and dying snook.  It was one of the most depressing things I've ever seen and the FWC canceled the seasons for this species until the fall of this year.  Fortunately, the weather couldn't be more different so far with 2011.  Our air temps are commonly in the mid to upper 70s and the coldest water I've seen was only in the mid 50s.  This is well within the comfort zone for both our fish and my visiting charters.

Our redfish population is as healthy as ever and I've caught more oversized reds during the past two months than undersized fish.  The majority of reds that my anglers have boated recently were in that perfect 22 to 26 inch legal range.  Our booming crab population might have something to do with this great crop of redfish.  Ever crab trap I float over in both Matlacha Pass and Pine Island Sound seems to have at close to a dozen blue claws packed inside it and these make up a huge part of the redfish diet. 

We still have two months of winter and I'm sure we'll see a handful of cold spells before we're done with it but I'm confident of any early and very warm tarpon season.  Until then we have plenty of great targets and remarkably agreeable weather for any of you blizzard bound folks reading this up north.