Saturday, December 3, 2011

Redfish, trout and flounder action heating up around Sarasota Bay

Sarasota Bay redfish on a D.O.A. CAL Jerk Worm
Redfish action is heating up along the east and west sides of Sarasota Bay.

I recently caught and released 19 reds from 15 to 24 inches on D.O.A. CAL Jigs with gold paddle tails, D.O.A. 5.5-inch jerk worms and gold spoons near “The Elbow” in north Sarasota Bay.

In addition, I’ve been picking up pompano, snook, loads of spotted seatrout and a surprising amount of flounder.

I had a great outing near Buttonwood Harbor on the west side of Sarasota Bay. While paddling through the Longboat Key rim canal, I noticed a bunch of mullet on a flat to my north. So, I altered course and started to fish. I caught and released 25-inch reds on gold spoons.

After that, I headed out into the bay and fished a grass edge on the south side of Whale Key. I caught at least a dozen trout from 20 to 24 inches on the MirrOlure MirrOdine. The great trout action was interrupted by a fast-approaching storm. Since discretion is the better part of valor, I paddled back to the launch.

I took Graham Peterson and Bill Rittle of Sarasota out on a windy day. It wasn’t too bad in the morning, but kicked up significantly by 10:30. Prior to that, we caught spotted seatrout, ladyfish, gag grouper, redfish, snook and a few flounder – all on CAL Jigs.

We paddled back south and fished a channel heading into Bowles Creek. We anchored on the lee side of a mangrove island and cast jigs into the channel. We landed snook, spotted seatrout, ladyfish, flounder and pompano. We encountered some toothy fish (mackerel, bluefish), but didn’t land any. The “razor cuts” on our leaders were the giveaway.

Freshwater fishing has been good. Two trips to Lake Manatee produced 110 bluegill (at least 50 were hand-sized), shellcracker, speckled perch and channel catfish. Fly choices included No. 10 poppers, No. 12 nymphs and my Myakka Minnow.

This action should heat up in December, with speckled perch taking the forefront.

Flounder action has been very steady. In fact, I believe you could catch 20 or more -- if you targeted them. D.O.A. CAL Jigs with gold paddle tails bounced slowly across the bottom of sand holes and sand bars have been producing flounder to 21 inches.

When we fish the deep grass off Stephen’s Point and Whale Key in Sarasota Bay, we’ve been getting bluefish, pompano, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, gag grouper and plenty of spotted seatrout.

Buttonwood Harbor has been producing steady redfish action – especially when mullet are abundant on the flats. When that happens, a gold Johnson Spoon has been producing reds to 26 inches.

Spotted seatrout action has been hot on the southside flat at Whale Key. Two trips there produced 50 trout from 2 to 5 pounds. Most of the fish were taken on the MirrOlure MirrOdine. The MirrOlure MirrOmullet also has been working.

Steve Gibson

Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing

(941) 284-3406

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