|Steve Gibson with a fine Pine Island Sound redfish caught on fly rod.|
The Ultimate features a new tract system on both gunwales into which you can plug rodholders, GPS units, fish finders, etc. Additionally, the boat also has a new drainage system that will help out immensely. The new First Class Seat is something to behold. You can fold the back down and sit on it, raising you up to gunwale level.
Those of you who have fished out of my Ultimates know all about the First Class Seat. It’s the best kayak seat in the industry by far. It’s very comfortable and eliminates the need for an additional cushion.
I added a Watertrail Padding Gear Paddle Pole to my personal boat. It’s 9.5 feet in length, pointed on one end and with a thin blade on the other. It’s valuable tool when standing and poling the boat.
I expect fishing to pick up nicely as we transition into fall. The air and water temperatures are cooling and that usually signals fish that it’s time to eat.
Spotted seatrout, ladyfish, jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel and bluefish should hit flies and lures on the deeper grass flats of Sarasota Bay. I look for redfish and maybe a few snook in the shallows.
Jonathan Allred of Texas fished southern Tampa Bay and Bishop Harbor with me and caught several spotted seatrout and ladyfish on flies. We tried t sight-fish reds on the sand bars, but visibility wasn’t good.
Clients have been catching trout to 26 inches on D.O.A. CAL Jigs, D.O.A. Shrimp and MirrOlure MirrOdines.
Beach snook action should start winding down, although I did see a bunch last week in the surf. Allred had shots at more than 500 snook, but couldn’t get a hookup. The snook were extremely wary. He had maybe a dozen snook follow his fly to the dry sand, but turn off at the last instant.
On a solo trip last week, I hooked a 26-inch snook and was having fun playing it when a large bull shark swooped in and inhaled the fish in one gulp. It happened so fast there was nothing I could do. My totals for the day: one lost snook and five small redfish.
When we get some negative low tides, I’ll start heading to Pine Island Sound. We usually get lots of shots at tailing redfish. In addition, spotted seatrout, ladyfish, mangrove snapper, pompano and tarpon are available.
On the freshwater side, bluegill and shellcracker should cooperate on nymphs and other sinking flies. We usually don’t target bass but get them up to 4 and 5 pounds on small poppers, Myakka Minnows and FLY Nymphs.
Of course, it’s always a thrill when we hook into a big Lake Manatee channel catfish on fly. These fish will take you into the backing quickly. Just the other day, I hooked eight channel cats on my Myakka Minnow, but was only able to land two. One took me deep into the backing on my 2-weight.
Speckled perch (black crappie) should begin to cooperate in numbers in November.
Dusty Sprague, a Federation of Fly Fishers' Master Certified Casting Instructor, and I fish Lake Manatee and didn't fare so well. We caught about 25 bluegill and stumpknocker, with only four being hand-sized. Slow bite. We did see a number of schooling bass, but couldn't get on them.
Our Everglades trips will begin in mid-November. I don’t know what to expect after last year’s freeze killed thousands of oscar and Mayan cichlid. I’m hoping the feisty fish will rebound quickly. There should be plenty of bass, bluegill, shellcracker and speckled perch.
We’re booking into November, but still have openings left in October. If you’re going to be in the area, please shoot me an email or give me a call (941-284-3406).
Again, I’d like to thank my sponsors: Native Watercraft, Watertrail Paddling Gear, D.O.A. Lures and Temple Fork Outfitters (fly rods and spinning rods).