Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Steady action is the name of the game

It's easy to tell when the fishing is good just by checking this blog.
If I haven't posted in a while, the fishing is good.
It hasn't been great, but it has been steady.
We've been fishing Sarasota Bay off Stephens Point and doing quite well on spotted seatrout to 5 pounds. The number of "slot" trout has been amazing. The average fish has been 17 inches, with numerous trout to 20 inches. Most are being taken on D.O.A. CAL Jigs with gold paddle tails, MirrOlure MirrOdines, D.O.A. Deadly Combinations and my Big Eye Baitfish Fly.
The Spanish mackerel, bluefish and pompano that were so plentiful just a couple of weeks ago have disappeared.
Good news: Snook are showing up under the lights. I've encountered them most every time out as of late. My friend, Rick Grassett, caught one recently that helped him win the Fly Division of the Sarasota CCA spring tournament. It was the only snook entered!
Perley Welch of New Hampshire (below right)joined me for a half-day of fishing and caught a number of fish. It was his first saltwater outing. Perley managed spotted seatrout to 20 inches, ladyfish and flounder.
Fly angler John Kaehler of Minnesota was up next and did well on spotted seatrout to 17 inches. The bite was very light and he had more hits than fish landed.
John did hook up briefly on a snook just before daylight.
I've got a new Native Watercraft Ultimate 14.5 ordered. It should be here by mid-June. That will give me three Ultimate 14.5s. I sold the two Heritage Redfish 12 Anglers.
I received my new TFO spinning rods. Wow! That's all I can say. They're everything I thought they'd be -- and more! They're light and strong. I'm impressed.
Beach snook season is starting. First trip is scheduled in just a few days, but I'm not sure we'll get it in. West wind has the surf really stirred up. We should enter our spring pattern of east wind soon.
Beach snook angling is my favorite. It's totally sight-fishing and leads to some very exciting action. If you have never done it, give me a call (941-284-3406) and book a trip. The days are filling up fast.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monster mackerel, pompano, bluefish and trout make fast fishing fun

There is some great fishing going on in Sarasota Bay. My clients have been rewarded by fine catches of large spotted seatrout, Spanish mackerel, pompano and bluefish.
However, the real treat was Monday (April 5) when I hooked and landed the largest Spanish mackerel of my life. The fish weighed slightly more than 7 pounds on my Boga Grip.
It was the final fish of the day. I had cast out and was letting my Big Eye Baitfish Fly sink when my concentration was interrupted by a text message from my friend, Dave Robinson. Just as I was about to respond to his text, my fly line tightened and my 6-weight rod was just about pulled out of the kayak.
I grabbed the rod and set the hook.
At first, I had no clue it was a big fish. But all of sudden, the fish pulled and the thick fly line cut through the water. The line was going so fast, you could hear it.
I figured it was a big mackerel, cobia or maybe even a large jack. A friend of mine, Capt. Rick Grassett of the Snook Fin-Addict Guide Services, told me early that morning that his client had landed a 7-pound mackerel. So, I was fairly certain it was a giant mack.
The fish made several long runs, each time taking me into the backing. I was certain I wouldn't land the mackerel because surely it would cut the line with its mouth full of razor-sharp teeth.
But my luck held out. After about five minutes, I was able to grab the leader and subdue the fish. I lifted it into my kayak with the aid of my Boga Grip.
It was a day of large fish. I caught and released a number of spotted seatrout from 18 to 22 inches. In addition, I landed a trio of pompano to 4 pounds. I also landed a couple of 3-pound mackerel.
The pattern has been the same over the last week. Jason Beary (top photo) of Warren, Pa., fished with me late last week and caught a load of Spanish mackerel, pompano and bluefish. Jason is an experienced fly angler and did very well. All he was missing for his Southern Drawl Grand Slam was a spotted seatrout (usually the easiest of the quartet to catch). So, late in the day, we paddle inshore to a spot that I knew had trout. That's where Jason connect to complete his Slam.
Brian Bourdages (bottom photo) of Traverse City, Mich., had no trouble catching spotted seatrout the next day. In fact, had caught a number of large trout, including one we estimated at 4 1/2 pounds. He also landed several pompano, Spanish mackerel and ladyfish. But he couldn't connect on a bluefish.
It's great having accomplished fly anglers out. You just wind them up and let them fish on their own. They need little attention and can cast all day.
Our fishing has been heating up with the weather. Just as we figured, warmth and gentle breezes were all we needed to turn the fishing on.
I'm still puzzled, however, about the giant Spanish mackerel cruising Sarasota Bay. I've never seen them so large locally.
But I'm not asking questions. I'll just continue to cast and have fun.