Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September was good month; October prospects look better

John Mallia of Lancaster, N.Y., paddles through a mangrove tunnel on the way to Mose's Hole off southern Tampa Bay.

Randy Honaker Jr., of Tampa shows off a hefty trout.

September was a very good month for Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing.

Redfish, spotted seatrout, flounder, bluefish and snook were consistent and provided thrilling action.

Regular client John Mallia of Lancaster, N.Y., had a couple of good trips early in the month. We fished Sarasota Bay off Stephens Point the first day and Bishop Harbor and Mose’s Hole off southern Tampa Bay the next.

Day one in Sarasota Bay yielded quite a few spotted seatrout, ladyfish, redfish and flounder. Trout ran from 13 to 19 inches. Redfish went from 17 to 22 inches. Most of the fish were taken on D.O.A. CAL Jigs with gold or copper crush paddle tails.

The trout were caught in the deep grass off Stephens Point. Redfish came from the channel leading into the Crosley-Horton Estate just north of the Ringling Mansion.

That area has been providing steady redfish action on topwater plugs and CAL Jigs.

The next day, we fished Bishop Harbor and Mose’s Hole off Tampa Bay. Mose’s Hole is a seldom-fished remote area only accessible via mangrove tunnel. Mallia caught a bunch of spotted seatrout to 18 inches and a redfish. We also managed snook and ladyfish.

Most of the action took place on Bomber topwater plugs, CAL Jigs and Rapala Skitter Walks.

Randy Honaker of Centerville, Ohio, his son, Randy of Tampa, and Justin Pfaff caught spotted seatrout, ladyfish and sugar trout on what turned out to be a very slow day off Stephens Point. The fish were taken on Gibby’s Big Eye Baitfish flies, Clouser Deep Minnows, CAL Jigs and D.O.A. Deadly Combinations.

Gary Herbert and Dean Panse of Michigan had an outstanding day in Sarasota Bay near Buttonwood Harbor. They combined to catch 35 spotted seatrout to 19 inches, 13 flounder to 17, five redfish to 24, ladyfish, croaker and sugar trout.

CAL Jigs and D.O.A. Deadly Combinations produced all of the fish.

The highlight of the day came at mid-morning when a mama manatee and her calf swam up to Herbert’s kayak and allowed him to pet them.

We have been encountering manatees on most every trip to the Buttonwood Harbor area.

On solo outings, I have been catching and releasing redfish to 32 inches, spotted seatrout to 7 pounds, flounder to 19 inches, bluefish to 5 pounds, croaker, ladyfish, sugar trout and snook to 30 inches.

The weather is beginning to cool. The water temperature is dropping and fish are starting to feed.

I look for very good action through October and into November.

Pompano, Spanish mackerel and bluefish are here, but their numbers will increase daily as the water cools.

I have openings in October, a great month to fish. The best thing about October is there aren’t many people around and there’s little competition.

The Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers and the Sarasota Chapter of Coastal Conservation Association will hold their 7th annual Fall Fly Fishing Challenge Oct. 29.

The catch, photo and release event will feature an Open Division, for guides and anglers fishing with guides (all anglers are eligible to compete in the Open Division), and a Fly Angler Division (no guides).

In the Open Division, eligible species include snook, redfish and spotted sea trout. Those in the Fly Angler Division will fish for a variety of species, including snook, redfish, spotted sea trout, bluefish, ladyfish, flounder, snapper, jack crevalle, pompano and permit based on a point-per-inch system.

Entry fee is $50 and includes an awards BBQ at the Ken Clark Auditorium, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. Applications are available at area tackle shops or on line at and

Call Rick Grassett at 923-7799 or Steve Gibson at 284-3406 for information.

Steve Gibson

Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing

(941) 284-3406

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Snook, redfish and spotted seatrout provide fun

John Meuschke of Sarasota shows off an oversized redfish that he caught on a D.O.A. CAL Jig.
John Meuschke's flounder.
Despite very hot and humid conditions, fishing remained steady.

Fishing before daylight and early morning in Sarasota Bay, Bishop Harbor and Tampa Bay, clients managed snook to 32 inches, redfish to 25 and spotted seatrout to 26 ½ on a variety of lures and flies, including D.O.A. CAL Jigs, D.O.A. Deadly Combinations and Schminnows.

John Meuschke of Sarasota had a good day in and around Buttonwood Harbor, catching a plethora of different species. He caught spotted seatrout to 19 inches, flounder to 18 and redfish to 32 on CAL Jigs.

Redfish are schooling on the flats and can make for fast action – if you can find them. These fish are mainly oversized and will hit most anything tossed their way.

Snook, spotted seatrout, flounder, ladyfish and redfish have been cooperating in Mose’s Hole, a secluded spot off Tampa Bay only accessible via a mangrove tunnel. This is a fun spot that has been providing steady action on both the incoming and outgoing tide.

We traveled south to Charlotte Harbor and launched at Ponce de Leon Park. Our target was tarpon. We found them and jumped a 125-pound fish on a D.O.A. Baitbuster.

We returned to the harbor and fished with Capt. Rick Grassett of the Snook Fin-Addict. Tarpon were plentiful in the Peace River and adjacent canals, but not very cooperative. We jumped three fish on D.O.A. TerrorEyz. We anticipate tarpon fishing to improve this month.

Tarpon in the harbor, canals and river range in size from 10 to more than 100 pounds. You never know what size tarpon will hit your lure or fly.

Action has been steady in Sarasota Bay off Stephens Point. We’ve been getting snook and spotted seatrout before daylight on flies around lighted docks.

After daylight, we’ve been drifting the deep grass and getting spotted seatrout to 26 ½ inches, pompano to 3 pounds, bluefish to 3, ladyfish and flounder on CAL Jigs, D.O.A. Baitbusters and Gibby’s Big Eye Baitfish Fly.

The sand bars along southern Tampa Bay have been yielding redfish, spotted seatrout and a surprising amount of flounder. Top lure has been the D.O.A. Cal Jig with copper crush or gold paddle tail.

Sight-fishing can be very productive on the sand bars. The water is clear and shallow and the bottom is white sand.

In addition, there are bonnethead shark and blacktip shark available on the sand bars.

We’ve also seen a few tailing redfish at low tide.

Bishop Harbor off Tampa Bay has been producing decent numbers of snook, redfish, flounder and spotted seatrout.

Temperatures should start to drop later this month. And that should result in a flurry of action. We anticipate schools of large redfish on the flats, spotted seatrout over the deep grass, snook around dock lights and flounder in sand holes.

Steve Gibson

Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing

(941) 284-3406