Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sarasota Bay is fly-rod Mecca

If you can't catch fish on a fly rod these days, you're either not trying or you're not fly fishing.

Fish in Sarasota Bay are going ga-ga over Super Hair Clousers and just about any other fly.

I fished Monday and Tuesday and had monster days. On Monday, I launched at the end of Whitfield Avenue and made my way south to Stephens Point. I fished deep grass about 400 yards of the point.

I'm not sure what the highlight of the day was? Five trout over four pounds each? A hefty fly-rod pompano? A dozen bluefish to three pounds? A mutton snapper? Spanish mackerel? Or all of the ladyfish you could ever want?

Fish were breaking on bait all over the place, so it wasn't difficult to locate them. I'm guessing I caught around 50 fish.

Not bad.

On Tuesday, I took Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers president Bob Parker (above in photo) out. We launched just a little closer to the point. Fog was heavy as we made our way out into Sarasota Bay. Unlike the day prior, there were no breaking fish or diving birds. And it was pretty difficult in the fog to locate the grass patches. We did catch a few trout, ladyfish and Spanish mackerel, but not many.

We paddled inshore toward the Ringling Mansion. I found a bunch of small minnows on the surface and began casting around them. I quickly caught a pair of four-pound mackerel. I also hooked a fish that I couldn't stop. The hook pulled, so I was, um, off the hook! I suspect it was a hefty jack crevalle. Parker hooked and landed a three-pound jack that had him contorted like a pretzel as it swam around the kayak. We also landed a few seatrout.

I had a hunch fish would finally cooperate off the point. So, when the wind subsided, I paddled out. Before I got to where I wanted to be, I saw a pompano leap from the water. I did what anyone would do: I began casting.

I did hook and land a nice pompano. I ended up landed four others. There must have been a school of them below because they were skipping all over the place.

Bluefish were breaking on the surface and I landed a half dozen of them in short order. I also managed my largest blue in years -- a strong six-pounder.

A cold front is moving through the area today, so I probably won't get back on the water until early next week. I'll use the time to tie a few more Super Hair Clousers.

The reason I use Super Hair rather than bucktail is that the synthetic lasts much longer than the natural stuff when hook toothy fish like blues and macks. I also coat the three with epoxy which extends their life, too.

This deep grass pattern will last throughout the winter. There will be slow days, of course. But there won't be many.

It's a great place for beginning fly fishers. It's also a lot of fun for veterans.

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