It had been a while since my wife and I had a change of scenery so a little over a month ago we planed a trip to Bonita Springs just two hours south of Tampa.
Good friend and fellow fishing guide Capt. Steve Nagy (Nay- Gee) lives there and runs his guide service on the waters of Estero Bay. Capt. Steve was kind enough to guide us around Estero and show us some of the scenery. The area had just come off of a ten day cold (freeze) snap so my expectations as far as the fishing would be were not very high. I told Capt. Steve not to be to concerned about the fishing as both myself and my wife Karen understood how the harsh cold conditions had a major effect on how the fishing would be. Tampa had also been hit hard by the cold and it just about put the fish bite at a stand still.
We spent two days fishing some very slow and tough conditions with not to much to show for it. We did see a few fish but they were just not willing to eat. I sight casted to a lone snook in the 35″ range and as he turned on the soft plastic artificial I thought it was going to be a hook up. He followed it and then turned off as to say I am just not in the mood.
We kept moving around checking place after place with dismal results. But it was nice to see some different terrain. Estero Bay unlike Tampa Bay is loaded with oyster bars. This is one place that if you do not know the areas waters you stay inside the marked channels.
Day one of our trip yielded a lady fish and one trout. That’s fishing!
Day two we started out with a different plan. Capt. Steve asked me what I would like to do? I told him I thought maybe we should explore some other areas like canals and such where the water temp may be a little higher and hold some fish. Capt. Steve agreed so off we went. We hit some canals and fished the docks and mangrove edges but we were yet to get a bite. After a while I think a little frustration was setting in but I reassured Steve that we knew the conditions were less than favorable and we did not expect miracles. Heck Karen and I were just happy to be on a boat in a place we had not seen before. Capt. Steve made a decision to take us up the Imperial River. As we approached the mouth of the river where it dumps into Estero Bay we could see Trout shooting by under the boat in the crystal clear water. We set up and fished the mouth for a while with no takers.
On we went further up the river. We got to an area and Capt. Steve told us to pitch out our soft plastic baits and we would slow troll them behind the boat. Steve had a good feeling we could hook up on some Jacks in this area. Capt. Steve had the right feeling and it was not but a minute and I was hooked up and then Karen. If you have never caught a Jack on light tackle you don’t know what you are missing.
They will put even the best of tackle to the test. Karen had her hands full fighting her fish on 8 lb test with a Gloomis rod and 2500 series Shimano stradic reel.
After a nice drag ripping battle Karen and I landed our fish and got a quick picture before we released them.As usual Karen gets the larger of the fish. We spent some more time playing with the Jacks catching another half dozen or so. We all agreed we had some fun so off we went to have lunch at the Fish House. After lunch we decided we should get a group picture so we had one of the patrons there snap a picture for us.
After some laughs about the picture we headed off and scouted around some more. The rest of the afternoon was just basically enjoying the beauty of the mangrove lined shorelines and multitude of oyster bars.
It was not a crazy fish catching time but its not always about that. When conditions are not right you just have to enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. It wont be long and I am sure Estero Bay will be alive with activity.
I have to say thanks to Capt. Steve for being such a wonderful host and sharing his vast knowledge of Estero Bay with us. Karen and I have already discussed going back in the spring time.
You can check out Capt. Steve Nagy’s web site at www.bonitaspringsfishing.com
Thanks for reading along
Capt. Steve Betz