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Sarasota Saltwater Fishing

Steve Gibson
March 8, 2010
Sarasota - Saltwater Fishing Report

We've been able to get out a few times between fronts. Fishing has not been spectacular, but those who work hard and are focused will be rewarded.
In Sarasota Bay, we've been fishing the deep grass patches off Stephens Point. Casting my Big Eye Baitfish Fly on 6-weight rod and sinktip line, clients have been taking spotted seatrout to 4 pounds and an occasional ladyfish. The pompano, Spanish mackerel and bluefish that had been so plentiful and cooperative in December have vanished at least for the time being. We expect that trio to show up as soon as we get an extended period of warm weather.
Little Sarasota Bay is producing spotted seatrout, a few more ladyfish and an occasional redfish.
We've been spending a lot of time lately on Palma Sola Bay and surrounding waters. I fished Perico Bayou early in the week and was virtually blown out. I spent six hours on the water and didn't see a fish. The wind was blowing 20-25 miles per hour. I was able to get out of the wind a few times, but still didn't see any fish.
It was a perfect game: no runs, no hits and no errors.
The next day wasn't bad at all. Launching at Perico Bayou in west Bradenton, we opted to fish Palma Sola Bay. Dave Robinson of Sarasota joined my for an enjoyable day and good weather. We began fishing the shallows and caught several spotted seatrout to 4 pounds on topwater plugs. You wouldn't think topwaters would be very effective this time of year, but they are. They solicit exciting strikes and produce a good number of bigger fish.
I've found over the years that big trout are loners, and you'll often find them in 18 inches of water or shallower.
We then spent a good portion of the day fishing an area in Palma Sola that had been producing. I poled my Native Watercraft Ultimate 14.5 along the north edge of the flat. I did see a few redfish, sheepshead and large trout. I also saw five big snook, which is great news. Snook were hurt badly by our record cold winter. Scientists estimate slightly less than 10 percent of the snook on Florida's west coast were killed.
My translation is that slightly more than 90 percent survived!
Dave also landed a pair of redfish, including a 31-incher on spoons and jigs.
I will not be targeting snook until at least summer when I begin my very popular beach snook outings. If you're into sight-fishing, this is the game for you. We walk the beaches and look for snook in the surf. We don't cast unless we see a fish.
Last year was exceptional. I set several personal records, including a 39-inch, 20-pound snook on 6-weight, several redfish to 32 inches and a trio of 100-pound tarpon. Of course I didn't land any of the tarpon, but it was the first time in 25 years that I had jumped silver kings from the beach.
If you're interested in beach snook fishing, book your trip early because my openings fill fast. We usually begin looking for snook in mid May and fish through September. I think June, July and August are the peak months.
Freshwater action will heat up with the weather. We look for good action on bass, bluegill, shellcracker, stumpknocker, speckled perch (you probably call them crappie) and channel catfish.
If you haven't purchased your kayak yet, make sure you give Native Watercraft a try. Like I said above, I fish out of the Ultimate 14.5. It's very spacious, fairly fast and tracks straight as an arrow. But the real appeal is that you can stand and fly fish in this very stable boat.
Check out www.nativewatercraft.com.
For those in Sarasota, I recommend taking a look at kayaks at Economy Tackle/Dolphin Dive, 6018 S. Tamiami Trail (941-922-9671). George, Dick and the staff will take good care of you.
Economy holds Kayak Demo Days twice at month at Ackerman Park in Sarasota. The park is located east of Interstate 75 just south of Fruitville Road. Turn right at the library on Fruitville and stop when you see all the colorful kayaks about a half mile south.
Ironically, it was at one of the Kayak Demo Days that I first paddled a Native. I fell in love with these wonderful boats when I saw a picture of one for the first time. Still, it's a good idea to try it out before you buy. I found the boat ridiculously stable and easy to paddle.
If you have any questions about kayaks or kayak fishing, feel free to email me or give me a call at (941) 284-3406.

Sarasota Fishing Forecast:

With a warming trend here, we look for things to heat up -- literally and figuratively. Spotted seatrout no doubt will be hungry and cooperative. Redfish should make things interesting.

Target Species:

Spotted seatrout, redfish

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Contact Info:

Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing
2519 Wood Oak Dr
Sarasota, FL 34232
Phone: 941-284-3406
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