PBD Fish Reports
Kimball and Les Beery, authors of Angler’s Guide to Kayak Fishing Southwest Florida-Sarasota Bay to Pine Island contributed this expanded excerpt from their book to focus attention on the fantastic paddle craft fishing available to anglers in Southwest Florida. See more at www.anglerpocketguides.com Ed
Indian Mound Park, also known as Paulsen Point, is a significant Florida Indian Mound site that was occupied by ancient people from approximately 1000 BC to 1350 AD. This park has an easy launch area for your kayak that is on a sand beach and close to parking so a dolly isn’t needed. There’s a good boat ramp at the park, but to avoid the hassle of launching there we prefer to use the beach at the southern end of the parking lot. This is a great place to launch and access the area of Lemon Bay north of the Tom Adams Bridge. Because this is a wide part of the bay care is advised due to wind and wakes from larger boats. An east wind is suggested for this area but expect a westerly shore breeze on warm afternoons.
There are several shallow oyster bars just off the launch site and some slightly to the north. Oyster bars attract gamefish. These are too shallow to cross, even for kayaks so they should be fished from a distance. When casting near oyster bars, your best bet is either a light jig or artificial shrimp to keep your lure off the oysters. Floating lures will also work but most have multiple treble hooks that can be a hazard when unhooking a fish between your legs in a kayak. For this reason, we discourage using treble hooks in a kayak and opt for single hook jigs or other single hook lures. A top water lure can be modified to a single hook, facing upward on the rear of the lure. This will change the action of the lure slightly but will make it safer and less apt to snag on the oyster shells.
After fishing these oyster bars we usually paddle out towards the ICW channel and fish the shoals and oyster bars there. This area doesn’t have extensive grass flats but does hold gamefish. There’s an oyster island about ½ mile to the north, near Palm Island Marina, and it’s usually surrounded by feeding fish. This makes a good lunch stop and place to stand up for a while. We suggest wade fishing around this island but because of the sharp shells wear wading boots or sturdy shoes, not flip-flops.
Fish north from this island to Lemon Bay Park. The shore is lined with docks and some are protected by oyster bars and seawalls. Position your kayak between the docks and the oyster bars so you can cast to both sides. There are also grass flats to drift near Lemon Bay Park. When we paddle north from the launch we usually fish the outside shoal bars going north and the oyster bars and shoreline docks returning to Indian Mound Park.
An interesting float plan in the spring and summer involves paddling south and fishing the docks down to the Tom Adams Bridge. Then turning west and crossing the ICW near the bridge to fish the grasses and bars north of the west end of the bridge. There is a prominent sand bar in this area that usually holds fish on the north side. From the bar, head north and fish the mangroves, docks and seawalls on the west side of Lemon Bay. You’ll come to some deep grass flats south of Blind Pass Beach State Park that extend out towards the ICW. Target these grasses then, with a sea breeze to your back, cross the ICW back to the Indian Mound Park launch. Of course, use extreme caution crossing the ICW.
Indian Mound Park is in Englewood. Turn west on Dearborn St. off 776 and then left on Magnolia. Jog one block west to Winson and continue south to the park. The best launch is past the boat ramp. GPS= 26.956631, -82.363724