Friday, February 25, 2011

Pattern changes as the weather heats up

Ken Taylor of North Port, Fla., is a happy angler after landing this fine Sarasota Bay pompano.

The pattern has changed – just as we suspected it would with the advent of warmer weather. We’ve left the deeper channels and other winter haunts and are now fishing the backcountry shallows and offshore grass areas.

As a result, we’ve been taking loads of spotted seatrout, plus Spanish mackerel, bluefish and pompano. That action should only heat up as we move toward spring.

This fishing can be fast and fun. When it’s going on, we often find hits on most every cast. And it doesn’t matter if you’re spin fishing or fly fishing.

When using spinning rods, we’re most often casting D.O.A. CAL jigs with gold paddle tails. We employ 20-pound fluorocarbon leaders – until the blues and macks show up. We’ll then go to heavier shock leaders.

Although a majority of the trout are 20 inches or less, there are some big girls out there. A friend of mine, Capt. Rick Grassett of the Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, recently took a 6-pounder off the deep grass.

The bluefish often will top 5 pounds. Pompano will go better than 4 pounds. Most of the mackerel will range from 2 to 4 pounds. However, last spring, I took a 7 ½-pounder!

Randy Honaker of Centerville, Ohio joined me recently and caught a number of spotted seatrout. He also had shot at bluefish and Spanish mackerel, but didn’t connect. He had one fish that took line and made the fly line “rooster tail” through the water.

The next day, Russ DesErmia of Bradenton and his father, Bruce DesErmia of Traverse City, Mich., had a better day. They combined to land a bunch of spotted seatrout and Spanish mackerel. I think they also caught a couple of bluefish. All were taken on CAL Jigs.

Randy Honaker fished the west side of Sarasota Bay and was able to make a couple of casts to tailing redfish. He didn’t connect, but it makes your knees knock and your heart beat faster when you see those tails sticking out of the water.

Later that morning, we managed spotted seatrout to 21 inches, a redfish and several ladyfish. The highlight of my day was a squid that I took on a CAL Jig.

Ken Taylor of North Port fish the deep grass with me and did very well. We got into tailing reds early, but the fish didn’t tail very long. We caught jigs and topwater plugs in the shallows off Whale Key and landed four redfish and a trout. When we finally got out to the deep grass, we managed 45 trout, several ladyfish and a couple of fine pompano.

As the weather warms, snook will move out into the bay. When that happens, anglers fishing with me will get a shot at a snook or two just before daylight on either flies or jigs. That’s an added benefit!

In fresh water, we’re getting big bluegill and largemouth bass.

Beach snook season is just around the corner. The action will begin to heat up in May and run through August. This is “sight fishing” at its best. My anglers usually get shots at 300 or more snook of a morning, including fish of 20 pounds or more.

Please book your beach snook trips early. My schedule tends to fill up quickly.

Steve Gibson

Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing

(941) 284-3406


  1. Hey Gibby- What pattern/bait worked for you catching those jigs and top water lures?????? Just kidding!!!!!!!!!

  2. Come on Steve... Walking the beaches and getting shots at 300+ Snook! Dude your killing me... That would be like a dream. I got to get down there and experience that! Stalking and sight casting is one of the coolest things on earth! Cheers...