Gulf Fishing Action is Red Hot Off Venice!
Capt. Dave Pinkham
May 9, 2010
Venice - Saltwater Fishing Report
Sunny days continue to warm the gulf waters. This is the norm for this time of year and with the rising air and water temperatures many different species of fish should be actively in search of food throughout the day. With their increased activity generating even yet a stronger drive for the fish to feed, anglers should be well pleased because now is the time of year for some of the most exciting fishing opportunities of the year.
- Kingfish and Spanish mackerel are still hanging around in the areas where schools of bait can be seen working the surface. Provoking them into hitting can be a cinch by using time proven techniques. Live baits will almost always out fish artificial baits this time of the year, so make sure when you find the killer baits to get a good mess of them in the live tank. Keeping your rigs as light as possible will help to account for more hits. You may consider using a light gauge single-strand piano wire for leader as many of these critters have a mouth full of teeth. These same areas where the bait is located will also be homing magnets for other large gamefish such as little tunny, barracuda, cobia, and sharks
- Permit should start to make a showing at some of the area wrecks and reefs. These beautiful fish seem to prefer crustaceans so bring some jumbo shrimp or crabs along. If you see any permit finning on the surface cast your bait past them, and allow the bait to fall naturally. You more than likely won't need any lead on this rig, just let the shrimp or crab swim down on its own. I prefer to use circle hooks and monofilament leader when using this technique. These same areas will often be holding other fishes such as amberjacks, snappers, and triggerfish so if the permit action is slow try using different baits and fishing techniques.
- Grouper action has been good and anglers may consider heading out to deeper water for the keepers. If you plan on targeting gag grouper consider fishing around a wreck or some good broken bottom. There are plenty of 2 foot ledges or breaks scattered all over the floor of the Gulf so keep your bottom machine running. When you notice a change on you bottom graph indicating a possible rock crevice below try tossing a marker jug and give the new spot a try. Normally if you hook into gags or fish like mangrove snapper then you've hit paydirt. When bottom fishing be sure to put out the extra effort and keep a couple of livies free-lined out on top. You never know when a school of kingfish, some mahi mahi, or blackfin tuna may swim through. As the water continues to warm up, red grouper should take the spotlight for those anglers looking to put some meat in the box. For the keepers concentrate your efforts out past the 20-mile mark. Red grouper have a reputation of sucking up just about anything they can get in their mouth. Drift fishing with large leadhead jigs tipped with squid is a great way to locate these bottom feeders. Keep your marker jug handy and when you get one on your line throw the jug to mark the location. Now you can re-drift the same spot over again.
- Black fin tuna should make a good showing this month in the 80' to 120' range. A good place to start looking would be in the area of an anchored shrimp boat. These commercial shrimpers normally pull their trawls at night as shrimp will bury up in the daytime. Often, come first daylight the shrimpers will anchor down their boats and go to work picking through what they've netted during the night throwing the by-catch overboard. This in turn can draw blackfin tuna in the area. One method I've used in the past is anchoring out behind or down tide of the shrimp boat. If you do this make sure you don't get too close keeping safety and courtesy in mind. Now you can start a chum line of your own. If there are any blackfins in the area this should pull them to you. If you have live bait put a couple out free-lined on top. I've had tuna come right up behind the boat and eat out of the chum line. If and when this happens put a chunk of cut bait on and let it drift down with the chum.
-Tarpon fishing will start picking up this month. Sight fishing for them just west of area beaches is one way to fish for them. Once a pod of tarpon is spotted try casting live or artificial baits at them. Some of their favorite natural foods are crabs, shrimp, threadfin sardines, and pinfish. Large numbers of tarpon should also begin showing up in Boca Grande Pass this month. On the falling tide the Tarpon will be feeding on the small crabs that are washed out of the bay. Bring along a long handle net and try scooping up your own bait.
Gear up for some great fishing in May!
Remember if you're too busy to go fishing you're just too busy!! Get out and go fishin cuz' it's good fer ya!
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