Can It Get Any Better?

by Capt. Billy Norris

Fishing this past February has been great!  Although a few cold fronts pushing through caused a few slow days, the bite has, for the most, part stayed consistent and we have been landing some quality fish.  In the backwater, sheepshead have taken over the show.  The water has been extremely clear, in some places being able to see the bottom perfectly in 5-6 feet of water!  As you idle through the backwaters you can actually see schools of big sheepshead swimming along the bottom.  Look for them around areas with oyster bars, especially where the bottom consists of crushed shells and oysters.  For your rig, a 1/8 ounce jig head or a 1/0 hook with a 1/8 ounce lead weight is the way to go.  For bait, use small shrimp or pieces of shrimp.  Again, due to this years red tide and the hit that the fish populations took, catch and release is highly encouraged.  In addition to sheepshead, we have been catching snook, reds, black drum and jacks in the backwaters.  Over the next few months, winter will give way to spring and the increase in water temperature should make snook start to turn on again.

Offshore, we have been landing some giant sheepshead, up to 10 pounds!  Although they are legal to keep, they are the breeding fish and are all full of eggs, so we throw them back and encourage you to, as well.  Tripletail fishing also continues to produce quality fish.  Due to the red tide killing off all of the stone crabs in our local waters, there are not nearly as many traps out there this year.  However, the ones that you do find have been holding some quality fish.  We caught several nice tripletail off of random items this past month, including two off of a cooler lid, one off of a coconut, and one off of a five gallon bucket!  The reefs have also been producing a large number of good-sized grunts (silver snapper), which make for excellent table fare.  Fishing has continued to be great, so get out there and catch some fish!

-Captain Billy Norris

Pale Horse Fishing Charters

Capt. Billy Norris is owner/operator of Pale Horse Fishing Charters. If you, your family,
or guests are looking to fish Estero Bay, Bonita Springs or the surrounding area, contact
him through his website: or Facebook page: or give him a call at (239) 285-7710.