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Fishing in Southwest Florida

Sanibel Island Fishing – First Hand Experience

It was a morbidly cold morning here in Southwest Florida; the temperature was right at 50 degrees. We started our journey huddled in the truck from the chilling weather and discussed how our day would end up. Corey, Jeff and I were headed for Punta Rasa boat ramp off the Sanibel causeway to meet up with our Captain (Josh Constantine). It was Jeff’s last day in the Southwest Florida area; he was headed back up to Iowa’s freezing environment. Corey and I had talked about trying to get on some saltwater fish and we figured it would be a great time to give it a shot. However, the weather did not want to cooperate with us – we still proceeded with our journey despite the weather conditions.

Arriving at the boat ramp, we paid the parking ticket and figured we’d better hit the restrooms before meeting up with the Captain. The three of us walked towards the docks and there we found three boats waiting for customers. I made eye contact with Josh and headed towards his Action Craft. I introduced everyone, and we hopped on his boat in search of the famous Linesider.

As a born and bread local Southwest Florida Captain Josh and I mulled about how we may possibly get on some fish with the weather being as cold as it was. Our first stop was roughly ten minutes from the boat ramp, in a creek that connected the pass to the Caloosahatchee River. The tide was strong, strong enough that we had trouble getting the anchor to take ground. Finally, we get a taught anchor line and proceeded to work the bank of the creek. Throwing out nicely sized greenbacks that we caught under the Sanibel causeway, we figured it’s just a matter of time before we have a fish in the boat. To our surprise not one bite came from this spot!

I asked Josh, “ Do you think the fish may be lying up near the power plant with the warm water it produces”? He answered, “It’s a possibility, but it is also an hour ride up the river”. We decided to take the risk!

Fishing the Caloosahatchee River – First Hand Experience

Going across the open river at about 25 MPH with the wind and the 52-degree air, our faces were wind burnt and waves were white capping. Occasionally, a wave would come over the side of the boat and drench everyone, thus making it twice as cold as it was. After an hour we finally arrived at the power plant, eager to fish.

Quickly we all gabbed a rod with bait and threw it in to the structure, it was no more than a minute that Corey had a fish on. His rod bent over immediately as he set the hook. His reel started spitting line out as the fish ran hard to get away from the boat. As he struggled to bring the fish in, Josh and I looked at each other and said, “it’s a Jack”. Sure enough after a minute of fighting a golden jack rose to the surface of the water, Josh tossed the fish in the boat – it was a ten pound Jack! I know that Jacks typically swim in schools, so more Jacks are bound to be in the same area. I threw my line out and instantly hooked up with its sibling – two Jacks for Team Iowa. We waited a while longer hoping for the legendary ghost lurking in the shadows of the structure.

Jeff made a cast that could not have been more perfect, his line went taught. We all knew immediately that this was what we came out for. As everyone waited patiently, Jeff gingerly worked the fish towards the boat. Its large mouth shook back and forth, trying to release the hook from its grasp – Jeff played the fish perfectly. The fish came up on its side; Captain Josh responded fast and “lipped” the fish, getting the fish safely in the boat. At that moment we all awed over its beauty and legendary stigma. It was the best fish of the day and we were all thankful that we took the risk of coming up river. Thanks to Captain Josh we got on two Snook, two beautiful Jacks and a handful of smaller Jacks. Under all the circumstances we had a terrific day and I look forward to fishing in Southwest Florida waters the next time they come down!