Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fishing has been good along the beaches, in The 'Glades and Sarasota Bay

Randy Honaker of Centerville, Ohio caught this largemouth bass on a Myakka Minnow in The Everglades.

There still are a few Mayan cichlid left in The Everglades.
 The good news is fishing has been red hot in The Everglades.

The bad news is we’ve only got a little more than a week left before the weather will be too hot and the rainy season starts.

The water is very low in The ‘Glades. And that makes for excellent fishing. The fish are concentrated in canals and very cooperative.

I ventured down a week ago and caught “who knows how many fish?” I mean the action is so fast and furious that it’s impossible to keep even a semi-accurate count. I caught largemouth bass, bluegill, shellcracker, stumpknocker, gar and Mayan cichlid.

The fact that I caught a Mayan cichlid is good news. The record freeze of 2010 wipe out a majority of the exotic species in The Everglades. Prior to the freeze, a trek south usually resulted in several hundred Mayan cichlid and oscar. I haven’t caught an oscar in two trips, but I have read reports there still are a few around.

I figure it will take a couple of years for the exotics to rebound.

My Myakka Minnow has been accounting for a majority of the fish. Just cast it along the shoreline, allow it to sink for a second, then strip it in – and hold on!

Randy Honaker of Centerville, Ohio fished with me on Wednesday and had an excellent day. Honaker started the day using a No. 10 popping bug – a fly on which he’d never caught a fish. He scored quickly and often, connecting on a variety of fish. His largest was a 2-pound largemouth.

He then switched to the Myakka Minnow for the rest of the day and caught more fish than he could keep track of. He caught a number of bass to 3 pounds.

Trips to the Everglades make for long days, but I enjoy them because of the fast action and numbers of fish. It’s rare when you make more than five casts without getting a fish. Often, fish will come on five or six casts in a row.

When we’re not fishing in The ‘Glades, we’re walking the beaches and sight-fishing snook.

Honaker joined me this week and had a good day. He caught one snook, four spotted seatrout and a couple of ladyfish. He had another snook hooked, but lost it. And he had a number of snook try to eat his fly.

The fly of choice for beach snook is my Gibby’s DT Variation.

There is a good population of snook in the surf, with fish ranging from 20 inches to 20 pounds or more.

Greg Earl of Sarasota fished with me earlier in the week on Sarasota Bay. He’s a new kayak angler and wanted to learn to area. We caught a good number of spotted seatrout, jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, flounder and ladyfish. What was impressive is that Earl usually uses live bait and he caught all fish on D.O.A. CAL Jigs with gold paddle tails.

I’ve also been taking redfish to 25 inches on the grass flats on D.O.A. 5.5-inch jerk worms on 1/16-ounce jig heads.

June’s outlook calls for improved snook action along the beaches and at night around lighted docks. Spotted seatrout, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, jack crevalle and a few bluefish will provide action over the deep grass flats. Redfish will be the main targets on the shallow flats.

Steve Gibson

Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing

(941) 284-3406

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Consistent fishing is the name of the game around Sarasota Bay

Charlie Pike shows off a Sarasota Bay redfish.
Fishing has been consistent for a variety of species around Sarasota Bay.

We’ve been taking good catches of spotted seatrout to 4 pounds, pompano, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, redfish, snook and even a few jack crevalle.

Charlie Pike of Englewood had a good outing on his first kayak trip. Pike, who has limited saltwater experience, caught a fine bunch of spotted seatrout and redfish near Buttonwood Harbor off Sarasota Bay. He caught most of his fish on D.O.A. CAL 4-inch Jerk Worms on 1/16-ounce jig heads and D.O.A. CAL curly tails on 1/16-ounce jigs heads.

Repeat client David Ginberg of Marietta, Ga. had a steady day, catching spotted seatrout, redfish and ladyfish on Sarasota Bay near Buttonwood Harbor. All fish were taken on D.O.A. CAL Jigs with gold paddle tails.

Neil Hart of England and his son-in-law caught a variety of fish, including spotted seatrout, pompano, sailcats, lizardfish, pinfish, grunt, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, flounder and jack crevalle. All of the fish were taken on D.O.A. CAL jigs with gold paddle tails.

Mike Jensen of Illinois did well while fishing around Stephens Point in Sarasota Bay. Jensen, a repeat client, caught spotted seatrout, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel and bluefish on CAL Jigs with paddle tails.

Mike Teixidor of Miami experienced a good day on Sarasota Bay, catching a load of spotted seatrout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish and flounder – all on D.O.A. CAL Jigs with paddle tails. He lost what we think was a bull redfish while fishing around lighted docks before dawn.

Interestingly enough, three clients hooked and landed stingrays on three successive days – something that’s never been done in recent memory!

I fished with my good friend Capt. Rick Grassett of the Snook Fin-Addict Guide Services and we had a fine day. We fly fished for tarpon in the inshore Gulf of Mexico. We saw 50 tarpon and had good shots at 20 or more. Rick hooked up on a single fish and landed it after a 35-minute battle. The fish took a Mr. Blackie Tarpon Fly. We used a 12-weight fly rod and sinktip line.

Beach snook fishing is heating up. However, rough conditions have made sight-fishing tough. That will improve as the weather settles.

I made a scouting trip the last week of April and caught a pair of snook on Gibby’s D.T. Variation, the best snook fly going. I also landed a spotted seatrout and a Spanish mackerel.

Beach snook fishing is the ultimate when it comes to sight-fishing. Clients often get shots at more than 200 snook a morning.

We use 6- to 8-weight fly rods, sinktip or floating lines and Gibby’s D.T. Variation.

The season really heats up this month. Peak times are June, July and August.

We’ve got a few days left for guided beach snook trips. Please book now in order to secure a day.

Business has been so good that we haven’t had a chance to fish fresh water. However, we’ve heard reports from the Everglades that bass and panfish action has been really hot, with catches of 200 or more fish common.

We hope to get down there in the next couple of weeks.

Hope everything is going well for everyone.

Send me a friend request on Facebook (gibby3474). Follow me on twitter: @gibby3474.

Thank you for your support.

As always, thanks to our sponsors: Native Watercraft, Temple Fork Outfitters, D.O.A. Lures, Go Fish! Sportsmans Sunscreen and Orvis.

Steve Gibson

Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing

(941) 284-3406