Best Bets: Better fishing conditions expected in Southwest Florida this weekend – The News

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Wild winds kept most anglers at bay, or more precisely, out of the bays for more than a week. But easterly breezes and seas predicted at two feet or less should bring a weekend resurgence to the fishing scene.

Even so, for that fabled 10 percent of anglers who catch 90 percent of the fish, there have been some bright spots.

Redfish in a variety of sizes continued to cooperate, with some reports from virtually pure freshwater areas of the upper Caloosahatchee River.

Snook also were biting, even on Sanibel beaches that should have been evacuated by linesides moving to winter haunts.

Sheepshead and flounder joined mangrove snapper as fish fry fodder from the outer estuaries.

Offshore angling has been practically nonexistent, but should prove good if Gulf waters smooth out over the weekend, as predicted.

Lake Trafford anglers have been taking nice mixed bags of crappie and bluegill.

And Lake Okeechobee anglers, who managed to stay busy catching small bass in the protected waters of the Rim Canal, are looking forward to some big-fish bites on their return to outside vegetation lines.

REDFISH: An 18-1/2-inch keeper redfish and a 13-1/2-inch permit were the take-home results of a busy Monday for Jalissa Reever and Steve Spitzer, who also boated nine short sheepshead and three snook to 19 inches, fishing upper Estero Bay near Wiggins Pass on an inshore Fishbuster Charter with Bonita Beach Capt. Dave Hanson.

Lonnie Holden of Martinsville, Ind., used Berkley Gulp! baits to catch a 20-inch red and a keeper flounder Saturday from the Sanibel Pier. Even better, according to the Bait Box report, were the 25-inch red, 13-inch flounder, 12- and 14-inch mangrove snapper, and a bonnethead shark caught on shrimp and pinfish at the pier Friday by Sanibelian Jorgen Howell.

The Bait Box also reports good results from Wildlife Drive (closed Fridays) in Sanibel’s J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, where anglers ducking out of the wind caught keeper and oversize redfish, sheepshead, snapper and baby goliath grouper.

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