Captain Rick Grassett
Anglers on the Snook Fin-Addict caught and released a variety
of fish during the past week. Fly anglers scored with snook
and a bluefish while spin anglers connected with trout and
Fly anglers David Schofield, from Elmira, N.Y., and Rob
Klein, from Boca Raton, fished for snook in the ICW near
Venice on Saturday evening. There were plenty of snook around
the dock lights, but they were very finicky. They caught
and released three snook to 22 inches and a 3-pound bluefish
on my Grass Minnow fly. Rob scored with his first fish ever,
a snook, on a fly!
Longboat Key residents Merrill Zinder and Irwin Pastor fished
Sarasota Bay with me on Tuesday morning. We had fast action
with trout to 19 inches and big ladyfish on CAL jigs with
grubs and shad tails. The best action was at the Marina
Jack flat and near Bishop Point.
Captain Ed Hurst and I, along with Aledia Tush, owner of
CBs Saltwater Outfitters, and several other CBs
staff members traveled to Crystal River on Tuesday afternoon
for the annual Orvis Southeastern Guide Rendezvous and dealer
meeting. We were treated to a Cuban Pork Roast on Tuesday
evening where Orvis-Endorsed guides from Florida, South
Carolina, Georgia and Alabama swapped fishing stories over
a cold beer. We reviewed new products for the current year
and received pointers on fly casting instruction and guiding
Friday morning was a wash out. I awoke to a downpour and
20 mph winds as the front pushed through our area. We rescheduled
our trip planned for Charlotte Harbor until Saturday morning.
Tom Lamb, from Sarasota fished Charlotte Harbor with me
and although it wasnt raining, we were faced with
15 mph + north winds and an overcast sky. The wind blew
the water off the flats making it difficult to get to potholes
or find a protected place to fish. Despite that, Tom did
very well on trout near Cape Haze, catching more than 15
trout to 23 inches on CAL jigs with shad tails. The catch
included six slot- size fish with the biggest trout weighing
in at more than 4-pounds.
Captain Tom Chaya
The first part of last week provided more great weather
and kept the fishing in January way above par. All the shiners
you wanted were still on the edges of the grass around Anna
Maria sound, which for mid winter is not usually the case.
Trout fishing remained red hot. Just about any deep hole
or deep grass flat had plenty of sea trout. Wayne Kimmel
and crew from Longboat key caught and released over 50 trout
with the largest coming in at 26 inches. Another half dozen
reds were also caught with the best at 25 inches. All the
trout and reds were caught on shiners.
Bluefish were also in abundance on the beaches. Working
the rocks on the beach or watching for birds working the
surface we found a few schools. Most were in the 2-4 lb.
range. In the offshore scene, the nice calm water enables
us to get out quickly to get a few grouper. Tom King and
crew caught a few keeper gag grouper in 50 feet and released
a bunch of just undersized. The late week cold front looks
like it will slow the offshore fishing a bit and hopefully
get the sheepshead in the bays feeding.
Captain Terry Frankford
Anglers aboard Reelin & Chillin Charters caught several
species this past week, including snook, redfish, trout,
permit and more. Hand-picked shrimp and D.O.A. lures were
the preferred baits used. St. Croix rods and Shimano reels
spooled with 10-lb test was the tackle used by the anglers.
Vanish fluorocarbon, 30-lb test was used for leader and
#4 Owner circle hooks were used to keep the shrimp moving
naturally and prevent gut hooking the fish.
On a catch-and-release trip with Dale Parent, wife, Joanne,
son, Greg, and daughter, Jennie, we picked up redfish, grouper
and sheepshead. Dale and Jennie picked up a couple of sheepshead
weighing in at 4-plus lbs. Grey nailed a nice red and Joanne
wrestled in an 18 inches grouper. With Joanne being a biology
teacher we did a little sight seeing at the bird islands
south of Siesta Bridge. Plenty of nesting birds, several
species and great photo ops.
Josh Naputano and his father Ralph enjoyed a catch and release
day. Both anglers picked up redfish and sheepshead with
the catch of the day being Ralph's permit. This permit hit
a hand-picked shrimp like a freight train after Ralph placed
it under a dock in Sarasota Bay. Running back and fourth
in the boat a few times we managed to net it for a photo.
Tom Longwell with sons Mark and Scott set out to get Tom's
grandsons Jake and Alex into some fishing action. All anglers
enjoyed redfish, flounder, sheepshead and small grouper.
Jake, our youngest angler, picked up a nice redfish that
measured up at 24 inches. Alex landed the big fish of the
day, a 26-inch redfish. These anglers caught and released
all but one redfish that was kept for dinner.
Captain Zach Zacharias
Winter returned with a vengeance this weekend. In the long
term this is good. It will reinforce the winter pattern
that should be in place and should keep things on track
going in to spring and summer. The reds, trout, and sheepshead
will concentrate in numbers as opposed to scattered all
over the place as they began to do during the false spring
we experienced. Offshore fishing should improve as well,
although trips out there need to be judiciously planned
around rough weather periods.
Randy Engles, from Michigan, fished with me on a cool blustery
post-front day Saturday and we did well despite the conditions.
Redfish up to 26 inches, trout to 20 inches, flounder, and
sheepshead were taken although not in great numbers. An
incoming tide and live shrimp provided the action across
a wide variety of habitat ranging from shallow flats to
deep channels and docks. Before the rough weather set in,
trips out to 30-40 feet in the gulf produced good numbers
of gag grouper, snapper, key west grunt, porgies, large
sheepshead, and flounder.
We were really spoiled by the spell of idyllic weather in
mid-winter and the return to reality is tough to take, but
unsettled weather provides many more hot bite days than
chamber of commerce weather. Dress warm, bite your lip,
and get out there to enjoy some great winter action.
Captain Dave Pinkham
Captain Dave Pinkham of the Legacy, reports good fishing
with gag and red groupers to 18 lbs, amberjacks to 40 lbs,
and mangrove snappers to 6 lbs.