As suggested by anglers who would like to fish but can’t find a place to launch a boat, this week’s Fish Finder features Boat Ramps Now open to the general public. Overall, Charlotte County has a lot of access, and Collier County could be worse. Lee County has very little, as you might expect from such a decimated coastal area.
Freshwater anglers aren’t too challenged, with access to the Cape Coral Canals, Lake Trafford, and all the ramps on Lake Okeechobee.
Wildfly Charters Capt. Gregg McKee reports that Cody Payne mostly showed off his long arms when he landed this 18-inch snook.
The news from Captain Gregg McKee of Wildfly Charters is very encouraging. He and neighbor Cody Payne fished south of Matlacha on Pine Island Creek Tuesday morning, just before this week’s cold front arrived. As often happens just before a northerly blow, the fish sensed the approaching change and caught fire. Along a small stretch of mangroves on Pine Island Creek, they caught “about 50” robins of the same size, “until we got tired of them and left.”
Sometimes several of the small sides would go for a Zara Spook topwater plug at once, getting a sure bite when a white serpentine fly was thrown into the melee, which also included a couple of baby tarpon. In another area, they experienced the same action with the ladybug chewing.
Mike Westra of Lehr’s Economy Tackle had an almost identical story from two anglers fishing north of Matlacha, all the way to Bokeelia Island. They jumped an estimated 90-pound tarpon that hit a hooked ladyfish and reported that they encountered ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, and tarpon “all over the place.”
Cape Coral channel specialist Tony, who fishes inshore, reported catching sheepshead and “huge sand bream” (striped bream) when trolling brackish areas with crushed oysters and barnacles. And in cooler systems, he has been catching mullet up to 4 pounds while trolling with oatmeal mixes.
Another conversation with two young anglers stocking up on No Live Bait Needed lures revealed action on big snook from the Alva Bridge abutment. They landed two roaches around 30 inches and lost the rig to reportedly bigger fish.
Two linemen assigned from Arkansas reported catching catfish and stripers from the North Shore Park dock on the Caloosahatchee Bridge roadway, where they also suffered broken tackle when trolling with mullet halves.
LAKE TRAFFORD: Trafford Lake Marina owner Ski Olesky reports that the Lake Immokalee pinch has also been inspired by the change in weather. Anglers fishing from the Ann Olesky Park pier have been doing very well, catching occasional limits of spots in the early morning and late evening under the pier lights.
They have been fishing mostly with live fish, but also with some machines, and using bobbers to suspend baits over the newly installed gravel beds of the pier, as well as under the pier itself. Boaters have also been doing well in the middle depths of the lake, but the winds have compromised that action to some extent. Ann Olesky Park is located at 6001 Lake Trafford Road in Immokalee.
LAKE OKEECHOBEE: Roland Martin Marina & Resort Capt. Bo White reports that the Big O has gotten bigger, or deeper, by about three feet since Ian drenched the central region of the state. The result has been widespread lake bass, with the key to finding them starting with finding clean water along the outer grass lines of the shoreline area. He recommends starting at Observation Shoal around Turner’s Cove, Cochran’s Pass, or Whidden Pass. Wild shiners remain the bait of choice, with black and blue beavers leading the pack on soft plastic critters.
OPEN BOAT RAMPS
Hurricane Ian affected shipping and the availability of boat ramps in Southwest Florida. For more information on the availability of boat ramps in Southwest Florida, click here.