I had a great family charter on Monday. We departed the ramp at Punta Rassa, at the base of the Sanibel bridge, in Ft.Myers with several dozen shrimp, Grandma, Grandpa, Dad, brother, and sister, all from typically cold locals this time of year up north.
A beautiful calm day greeted us as we headed towards the tip of Sanibel. As hoped, we quickly found a pod of playful dolphins that put on a nice show for us, jumping and playing in the wake of the boat, before we moved on. We fished shrimp on the bottom, on the fairly low end of the still outgoing tide. I got the kids rigged up and fishing, and the bites started quickly.

We then proceeded to catch quite a few fish, from spotted sea trout, sand trout, whiting, ladyfish, jacks, and others, and even an oyster catcher. The young man on the trip was showing us how it’s done, catching them one after another, he even caught a small Atlantic Sharpnose Shark, and then a decent Bonnethead shark, both of which gave him a nice battle with the 12# spinning tackle. As his count of fish kept increasing, Grandma started to keep track of all the different species they were catching. Not to be outdone, the younger sister was holding her own, with lots of drag screaming on the spinfisher reel she was using. 

The entire time we were fishing, the pelicans and terns were crashing into bait schools nearby, along the beach of Sanibel. As the bite slowed we headed over to see what all the activity was, and sure enough there was whitebait, aka scaled sardines, stacked along the shoreline. A couple throws of the net gave us all the bait we needed and the kids were a big help scooping the lively fish off the deck and into the livewell. From there we made a short run and started fishing again.
The bite was much slower on the now incoming tide, but we still continued pulling in a few, and then got cutoff by a nice mackerel or 2. With the trip drawing to a close we noticed a nearby buoy moving strangely, and as we approached, we saw a manatee sucking the grass stuck on the rope of the crab trap. We got a pretty good look at the gentle giant as it slowly meandered around the shallow and fairly clear water. At that point it was time to head to the ramp, and everyone was smiling to end another great day on the water!