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03/03/14 7:50 PM
After last weeks rainy weather in the Fort Myers and Naples area, it was nice to get out on Estero Bay with some decent weather. The first thing I always do is check the surface temperatures, at this time of the year water temperatures are critical to what presentation may be the most effective. Flow from the incoming Gulf tide showed surface temperatures of 59 to 61°, while the back of most of the residential canals temps ranged from 64° to 67°.

While it might not be true everywhere, the water in Estero Bay is still pretty cloudy from the wind mixing the silt off the flats and the extreme tides the past few days. However, water coming in from the Gulf is still slightly cloudy from the high winds a few days ago. Remember that slightly off-color water heats a little faster and will be warmer in the afternoons. Always keep that in mind when your out fishing this time of the year

The fishing on Saturday (2-8-2014) was pretty good considering we were coming last weeks rain which had lowered the service temperatures everywhere. We found lots of active Sheepshead everywhere we looked, which brings up a something you should look for when you\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'re out looking for a bunch of Sheepshead.

As you\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'ve read before there are Sheepshead on nearly every dock piling and rip-rap shore line, but it seems that they tend to school by size just like so many other fish do. So before you just start fishing the first good looking spot you come to, spend a few minutes quietly watching and to see what size the Sheepshead are. You\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'d be surprised just how big a difference it can make, one dock will have medium to small fish and another dock or 100 yards away will have much larger fish. The Sheepshead were hitting on the usual baits and I prefer using fish bite strips in shrimp over the real thing if I can get them to bite on it. We were using a small bobber with the hook suspended about halfway down or about 3 feet below the surface. It’s much easier to get them to bite when that bait is hanging right in front, or slightly above them.

Took my clients from the canals to the flats for some trout fishing in the late afternoon after the water had a warmed up. We found some decent trout up to about 18 inches in 2 feet water or less, and they were super spooky, the slightest noise sent them running. They were readily hitting a popping cork with a gulp shrimp, and soft plastic twitch baits fished nice and slow. Even though trout are tolerant of much cooler water temperatures, you still need to keep your retrieve slow especially for the larger trout. The best advice I can pass along for this report is to check water temperatures in a few areas and look for that 1° or 2° warmer water. It can make all the difference between a having marginal day and a day to remember.

Capt. Eric Anderson
What A Hawg Charters


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