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Fishing Matanzas Pass with Calusa John

January 23, 2013
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

Fishing in Southwest Florida is starting to pick up. Water temperatures have climbed and the redfish are hungry. When water temperatures drop below 70 degrees the fish slow down and don't eat as much. When the water warms they get aggressive and feed.

We just got a new Riviera Voyager SUP (stand up paddle board) at our Bowditch Point Park location. We call it the "Big Boy Board" because it is bigger and shaped for touring, not surfing like most the SUPs you find in the area. It has a sharp nose and thick rails that makes it a great fishing platform in addition to paddling fast to your fishing location.

While paddling out I stopped on a couple of grass flat sandbars to wade fish. I hooked up with some ladyfish and trout. The tide was coming in, and I was using a fake glass minnow about five inches long. I retrieve it slow this time of year because the fish are still a little sluggish. While drifting over some of these bars I was visited by a manatee and a pod of dolphin. I eventually drifted to the other side of Matanzas Pass and was working the flat from the board when I hooked up a nice 20-inch redfish. It gave a great fight, drag screaming, and pulled me around the flat before getting it to the board and its release.

After, I got off the board and wade fished the shoreline. The tide was still incoming and strong at this point. The sun was shining and it was about 85 degrees out. A few cumulus clouds floated in the sky like big cotton balls. The mullet were jumping and I always like to cast into the mullet schools. Often while observing a school of mullet I will see a large tail of a redfish stick out of the water. So, as I said, I kept a watch on the mullet, and I cast into them. I was not disappointed. I hooked up with another nice red. This one had several spots on one side of its body and was real pretty. After that, the tide started to slack off and so did the fish bite. I packed up my board and headed back to the park.

You can see videos of the redfish on Youtube by searching calusajohn or check them out on our Calusa Ghost Tours Facebook page. Visit us on the web at or call 938-5342 or email

John Paeno

Calusa Ghost Tours



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