Friday, July 22, 2011

July fishing has been productive on a variety of species

Josh Milby fishes near Buttonwood Harbor just as the sun begins to rise over Sarasota Bay.

Jim Asaph of Englwood shows off a Button Harbor seatrout.
The Southern Drawl Family took a two-week vacation at the end of June. We visited family in Michigan and spent several days in New York City.

It was the first vacation in a long, long time in which I did not take a fly rod or spinning rod. I didn’t fish the entire two weeks.

But I certainly was refreshed when we returned.

Business made a surprising upturn in July (normally a slow month). And the fish certainly were cooperative.

I fished Jim Asaph of Englewood and he had a good day on his first kayak fishing trip. We fished Buttonwood Harbor off Sarasota Bay and caught spotted seatrout to 22 inches, flounder, ladyfish and redfish. We caught a surprising amount of slot trout (15 to 20 inches). Most of them came while drifting the deep grass in front of Whale Key.

We caught most of our fish on D.O.A. CAL Jigs (1/16-ounce head), with gold or orange crush paddle tails. The D.O.A. Deadly Combination and MirrOlure MirrOdine were also effective.

Mike Milby of Washington, D.C. and his son, Josh of Lakewood Ranch, joined me for a 6-hour outing in the same area. We totaled more than 50 trout to about 20 inches, four flounder, ladyfish and three redfish. All came on CAL Jigs and Deadly Combinations. We fished a grass edge just south of Whale Key and the deep grass in front of Whale Key.

Joe Bradley of Michigan made his kayak-fishing debut a couple of days later. We anchored on the north side of the Buttonwood Channel and caught spotted seatrout and ladyfish on CAL Jigs with orange crush paddle tails. We then fished the grass edge just south of Whale Key and did well on trout and ladyfish. The Deadly Combination also produced a few trout.

I did a solo scouting trip in the same area and totaled 60 trout to 25 inches, ladyfish, jack crevalle, bluefish and flounder, using CAL Jigs, Deadly Combos and MirrOlure MirrOdines. My biggest trout came from just off the north side of the Buttonwood channel.

Tarpon are starting to show up in and around Buttonwood Harbor. I’m seeing them every trip, but haven’t hooked any.

In addition, there are at least four manatees in the Buttonwood area. They like to “investigate” the kayaks.

Beach snook fishing has not been great – for a variety of reasons: rough water, dirty water and low tide. I’m hoping things improve because I’ve get several trips in the book.

Freshwater fishing is on the back burner. Our rainy season has started and local rivers are running high and fast.

Next month, we anticipate bull redfish to begin schooling. Last year we found them in the Buttonwood area and in southern Tampa Bay. When we find a school, it’s usually automatic. The fish will hit most anything you cast.

As always, I’d like to thank m sponsors: Native Watercraft, D.O.A. Lures, Go Fish! Sportsmans Sunscreen and Peak Fishing.

Also, just wanted to let you know that I’ve begun writing for the Sarasota-Bradenton edition of Coastal Angler Magazine ( My first article is scheduled to appear in the August edition of this growing publication.

Steve Gibson

Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing

(941) 284-3406