Fort Myers inshore saltwater and freshwater bass fishing report
Capt. Scott Hughes
February 9, 2011
Fort Myers - Saltwater Fishing Report
I make most of my living fishing for saltwater gamefish. During the winter months most of my fishing is on the flats and creeks of Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound. This kind of fishing is a lot like bass fishing but in saltwater. I grew up less than a mile from Lake Okeechobee. The first 20 years of my life were fishing for bass on the lake. Bass fishing on Lake Okeechobee has a lot in common with the flats fishing in Pine Island Sound. Most of the productive water on the lake is less than 4 feet deep and it is once again crystal clear. Most of my bass fishing is with soft plastic baits. I throw a lot of flukes, sinko's, crawfish and plastic worms. Sometimes I'll throw a topwater or a spinner bait. For saltwater flats fishing, most of the time i use a shaky head jig with a sinko or fluke. I'll also throw a lot of unweighted flukes and creature baits when sight fishing for redfish, snook and speckled trout.
The water has wormed up quite a bit in Charlotte Harbor and fishing is excellent. It wasn't bad when the water was cold but its even better now. The larger redfish are startin to show up better and they are biting well. Smaller redfish are still everywhere and they are providing some good fun while targeting spckled trout. The trout bite is off the charts. It been one of the best winter trout seasons that I can remember. You can catch all the keeper sized fish that you want with a few trophys and bunch a under sized fish mixed in. Small flounder and all over the shallow potholes. Most of them are very big but they are keeper size if you want to mess with that small of a flounder.
I've also been doing some bass fishing over on Lake okeechobee and the fishing is as good as i've seen it in 30 years. The water quality is excellent and it was 1980 the last time that i have seen the grass beds as good as they are right now. I was 10 years old in 1980.
Lure fishing for bass is pretty easy right now. I've been doing well with a variety of solf plastics. Flukes have been the best but craws and worms are working well later in the morning. There a lot of good sized bass this year. Honest 4-5 pounder are not uncommon.
For the past several years i've been running dwon into the Everglades to do my bass fishing due to the poor water quality in Lake Okeechobee but not this year. The fishing is still very good down in the Everglades but the fishing is better on the lake. My buddy Capt. Shane Miller who runs guided bass fishing charters in the Everglades tells me that he's catching 100 bass a day. That a common number down there but the bass are usually 1-2 pounds. Okeechobee is almost putting up those kind of numbers but the grade of fish is much better.
Fort Myers Fishing Forecast:
My main focus is going to be on the flats fishing for remainder of the winter and spring but I'll do enough bass fishing to stay on top of whats going on in case someone wants to change it up and go to Okeechobee for some bass fishing.