Unfortunately, weather is not the only condition we are dealing with now that influences our fishing now. Allow me to quickly explain. The Corp of Army Engineers are releasing hundreds of thousands of tainted gallons of fresh water, that have overfilled Lake Okeechobee right into the Caloosahatchee River that has run west and impacted our fishing from Ft.Myers on west and south into our Gulf and inshore waters. These tainted waters are supposed to be released south into the Everglades water shed where the natural filtration in the Glades would clean it before it reaches Florida Bay. Sorry, to overburden you with this overarching issue but you will see the impact on the fish bite here until this tainted fresh water is assimilated. Otherwise, we have a week ahead that will be a bit weather friendly albeit with some chilly mornings but warming quickly. Wind will jump back with some gusty blasts mid week but the fronts / rains are gone. Tides are moderate with a stronger morning incoming than the more placid afternoon outgoing. The water temp should inch up to 63-65 by week end.
The expected great bite on mega sheepshead isn’t happening…….yet. Up and down water temperatures as well the west winds that muddied the water are highly suspected causal factors. If you try anyhow, there will be bait bucket emptying escapades with undersized sheepshead. With current conditions would recommend fishing tight to barnacle laden pilings on either tide with a tiny piece of fresh shrimp or crab and be patient…… It will take longer to get the action on the sheepshead started. Hopefully, you’ll see a few harvestable fish in the mix. As an alternative, give seatrout a try. Good spots are along the waterway enroute Keeywadin known as Calhoun Channel. Set up in 4-6′ of water and work either shrimp or tipped small jigs into the moving water just off the bottom. You need at least 15″ to take a trout but they are worth the effort for they are considered excellent table fare. The waters are still friendly to mangrove snapper all along the mangrove edges…..a whole shrimp here will do a better job than a tiny piece that you’ve been using along the waterways for the still elusive sheepshead.
Might have bit of a better chance out here……water could be a bit clearer but, unfortunately still fouled by the Okcachobee tainted water release. Pelagic top water fish (mackerel, bluefish, jacks) would probably have moved as far west as they needed to escape that influence. However bottom dwellers out here could have stayed their ground with more staid waters. Worth a try to work some of the first and second reefs, working cut crabs or tads of shrimp tight to the structure for sheepshead, snapper or trout. Might even see an occasional triggerfish out here.
Red grouper has been the red hot bite of here for months. How they react to the tainted water infusion is an unknown. Good chance they will be reviled…….and if they are they will move to deeper water. On a hunch, would recommend moving out to the 70′ water hard bottom and deploy your baits of live pinfish or cut ladyfish on a drift in the faster moving current. Weather should cooperate early week…..so you should have a reasonable chance. Otherwise head out further west to some of the super deep wrecks to work amberjacks on a vertical drop of live bait into the wreck structure and hang on……some of these AJ’s will gross out at over 35 lbs.