Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October fishing included a variety of species in Sarasota and Tampa bays

Redfish cooperated fairly well in October in Sarasota and Tampa bays.

October is a great month to fish in Florida, offering a variety of saltwater species. In addition to spotted seatrout, redfish and snook, other species arrive to add flare to the catch.

Flounder action was surprisingly plentiful around Sarasota and Tampa Bays. Best locations included Buttonwood Harbor and southern Tampa Bay. D.O.A. CAL Jigs with gold or copper crush paddle tails provided a bulk of the action. However, we picked up a few flatties on Clouser Deep Minnows.

Speaking of flies, I came up with a new baitfish pattern that I created using Enrico Puglisi brushes. I named the fly Gibby’s Duster. The Duster was spectacular in its debut on an outing into the Gulf of Mexico with Capt. Rick Grassett of the Snook Fin-Addict in Sarasota. I caught and released four false albacore to 9 pounds. Rick landed four on his white snook fly.

The fly also did well on a couple of outings in Tampa Bay, producing some fine spotted seatrout. Fishing a channel on the outgoing tide, the fly interested trout to 21 inches. I had caught a good number of fish on Clouser Deep Minnows, but the Duster accounted for the largest fish.

I participated in the 7th annual Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers/Coastal Conservation Association Fall Fly Fishing Challenge. Rick Grassett and I co-founded this fine event in 2004.

During pre-fishing, I landed fly-rod slams the two days prior to the event. A fly-rod slam is snook, trout and redfish. The first day, I caught maybe 50 trout to 21 inches and a 22-inch snook out of a Tampa Bay channel on the outgoing tide. The fish took Clouser Deep Minnows and Gibby’s Duster. Six hours later, I completed the slam with a 24-inch redfish on a Dupree Spoon Fly.

The following day, I returned to the channel and caught five dozen trout to 22 inches on Clousers, Dusters and Todd’s Wiggle Minnow, a topwater fly. I had hoped the get a snook and redfish there, too. That didn’t pan out.

As the outgoing tide stopped, so did the bite. So, I paddled into Mose’s Hole (you can only get there via kayak) and spent an hour casting a Dupree Spoon Fly. I caught a 24-inch snook and 28-inch redfish.

I was confident heading into the tournament.

Of course, the weather took a nose dive. The wind was blowing 12-16 mph out of the north. The sky was overcast and it was drizzling as I arrived at the Tampa Bay channel. I caught 35 trout to 16 ½ inches, but no snook or redfish.

I paddled to Mose’s Hole, but couldn’t find any snook or reds. I did managed several trout, including a 20-incher that increased my total inches of the species.

I ended up winning the Trout Division of the tournament with 156.75 inches. It wasn’t what I had envisioned, but I was satisfied.

Last year, I won the Snook Division with more than 100 inches.

Nate Swartz and Sam Swartz fished with me earlier in the month and had a good day, despite strong wind and trying conditions. They caught a good number of spotted seatrout, ladyfish and flounder – all on D.O.A. CAL Jigs with gold paddle tails.

This month, we look for good action on trout, redfish and snook. In addition, pompano, bluefish and Spanish mackerel should show up in increased numbers. We’ve been catching the latter trio, but sporadically.

Best spots have been the deep grass patches off Stephens Point and Whale Key in Sarasota Bay.

November gets very busy, so we encourage early bookings to assure you get in on the action.

As always, I’m available for fishing and fly-tying seminars. I spoke to the Englewood Fishing Club on Oct. 13 before a good turnout of enthusiastic members.

I have been in contact with Flying Fish Outfitters in Nokomis (a great fly/tackle shop) and I am planning a couple of fishing seminars and a fly-tying session.

Steve Gibson

Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing


(941) 284-3406

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