Jan S. Maizler
It was good to get back to my “second home” in Florida, Sanibel Island. I had timed this particular trip with Captain Mark Westra to coincide with the fall baitfish migration. Therefore, a hopefully calm Gulf would offer up mackerel, bluefish, and false albacore in addition to the cooler season-invigorated snook and redfish in the inside waters of San Carlos and Estero bays.
The drive from Miami was short and sweet since the trip began on a fair weather late Sunday. Check-in at Island Inn Sanibel was always a joy and my wife and I unpacked in a lovely Beachview Cottage.
Since the sun was sinking, I quickly got out to the beach to capture a sea and skyscape of the dusk highlighted by a cold front to the north. We had a fine seafood dinner at the Inn’s Traditions Restaurant and turned in.
I met Captain Mark at the Punta Rassa boat ramp next morning at 7:30 a.m. His vessel was an impressive 22-foot Shearwater powered by a 225 H.P. Yamaha ready for battle loaded with two livewells full of whitebait. In a half-day spanning San Carlos to Matlacha, we released about 15 snook to 12 pounds, 2 redfish, 1 big bluefish and loads of big jacks.
Our second day of angling featured some line storms preceding a cold front and we spent the next 6 hours fishing and dodging showers. Our first stop was in the open Gulf amidst a huge school of migratory predators consisting of mackerel, bluefish, and big ladyfish. We took countless gamesters casting topwater plugs and D.O.A. Baitbusters. The rest of the trip was spent back on inside waters where we took another 6 snook . Captain Mark lost a huge snook that blew up on a large whitebait and once hooked made a sizzling run along a mangrove wall and then a quick turn into the depths of the roots.
It was a wonderful trip !
Captain Mark Westra
Flat Top Charters
Island Inn Sanibel
3111 West Gulf Drive