Sanibel-Captiva Report - Fly Fishing Forum
Bonefish, Tarpon, and other Obsessions Turquoise water, silver demons on the fly

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Old 04-30-2007, 06:28 PM
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Eric Eric is offline
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Sanibel-Captiva Report

It was probably noted with some sense of relief and satisfaction that I haven't posted anything recently; that is because I spent the last week or so fishing on Captiva Island and surrounds.

I had been slavering over going there since I booked the trip months ago, lured by tales of ravening reds, murdrous snook, feisty specks, and close-range tarpon spun by probid members of this Forum as well as others in the angling world whose glowing reports I took to heart.

The fishing around Redfish Pass and Chadwick Bayou may indeed be wonderful.

At times.

But not this time. It absolutely, flat-out sucked.

Conditions were not all that favorable, as during the whole time we were there, there was a steady east wind blowing and the tides were on the wimpy side. We fished, nevertheless, day and night, along the mangrove lines and in the pass. My friend and erstwhile guide got tired of not catching fish on flies and invested in some shrimp. Even with live critters on the business end of his line, and me poling him along some very snooky-looking spots, he teased out very few snook and only one red the whole time we were there.

Nevertheless, I had a good time and plan to go back next year, maybe in May when, purportedly, there may be a few more tarpon around. I don't give up easily.

I noticed, with some wonderment, that I was literally the only person fly-fishing (besides my friend, who gave it up as a bad scene after his first lackluster day). This really surprised me, as I thought it was a big-time fly-flogging venue. Apparently not; or at least not in late April.

There were other moments of wonder: I was throwing Pinfish imitations out into Redfish Pass and watching a brown pelican swimming back and forth in front of me as I did the cast and retrieve thing. On the first cast, he made a quick grab at the fly as I pulled it past him. I felt the yank, but fortunately, there was no hook up.

On about the zillionth cast, I had a strike, and after a couple of minutes, landed a (very) small jack crevalle. As I was cradling it in an attempt to back the hook out and let it go, the pelican came in a flopping, flapping frenzy onto the shore; charged up clacking his great beak; jumped on my feet and started snapping at my little jack. "Go away, you brown bastard!" I shouted, and kneed him out to a couple of arm's lengths away. He put his head down and immediately rushed me again. "Jesus," I thought, "this character's serious."

Meanwhile, the little jack was sort of annoyed by this whole business, and while my attention was diverted by the crazed pelican, managed to wiggle, squirm and slice me bloody with a little, razor-like pair of appendages on his belly. At which point, fending off the brown bomber with one leg and dislodging the hook with a maneuver to be envied by advanced karate students, I threw the jack back into the strait, where it disappeared into the depths a nanosecond ahead of the snapping, rapacious beak of my feathered frustrated fiend.

Defeated in this skirmish, but ever hopeful, the pelican continued his patrol offshore in front of me -- hopeful, but definitely pissed off.

I also caught some ladyfish and a gafftopsail catfish (honest). Caught these rascals at night, casting blind into Pine Sound. The catfish was a vocal little guy, cussing me out quite eloquently as I tried to plier the hook out of his bewhiskered jaw. He was a surprisingly good battler -- I was convinced I had a nice snook on until I saw this tiny and unexpected horror gleaming in the flashlight beam.

Wait til next year.


-- Eric
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Old 05-01-2007, 06:10 AM
mdbones mdbones is offline
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CI - late may - August is best

Eric -

Sorry that your trip was not productive. April is usually the time of year we motor up and down the coast searching for the herds of mackeral slamming bait. Not sure if you had access to a boat, but you should have been able to jump on some Reds or Trout on the grass flats behind SSP. Most of the snook are staging at the mouths of the river and creeks and you would have to find most of those in a boat as well. IMO the best time for a flyfisher on foot in South West Fla starts with the last full moon in May or the first full moon in June when the snook move to the beaches and passes to spawn. You can catch plenty by walking the beach (assuming you get an east wind). The Tarpon are also in the pass at that time and can be seen rolling just past the swim bouys on the beach (you need a boat for these).

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Old 05-01-2007, 09:19 AM
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Eric Eric is offline
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Hi, Mike,

Many thanks for the advice. I'm sure we'll take it, and go back later next year.

Incidentally, we did have a boat. Fishing where we were would have been really difficult without one, although we would have walked the Gulf beaches, had there been any fish showing along them.


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Old 05-02-2007, 06:35 PM
rhodyflyguy rhodyflyguy is offline
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I've been to Sanibel several times, and have a grand total of 1 other flyfisherman there. I too typically go in late April; this was the first time in 4 or 5 years I haven't. My favorite place is the jetty between Sanibel and Captiva. Lots of trout there. However, it's best fished between first light and 7:30 and 8:00, as after that it can get crowded.
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Old 05-03-2007, 11:23 PM
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Eric Eric is offline
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Sounds good about the jetty between Captiva and Sanibel. But, I'm confused. Is there a jetty at Blind Pass? All I saw there was a sand dune. I did see a jetty at the north end of Captiva at Redfish Pass, but you had to walk a long, long ways to get there as South Seas Resort has blocked the road to ordinary mortals.

Loved the place -- much serence beauty amid millions of dollars of shore front properties. Wow! Is there ever money in Florida.

-- Eric
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