Monday, September 24, 2012

Redfish and trout the highlights of September

Sarasota's Dave Robinson shows off one of seven redfish he caught just north of Long Bar.

Jim Shuford of Sarasota had never caught a redfish on an artificial lure.

That ended shortly into his half-day outing to Buttonwood Harbor off Sarasota Bay. Shuford caught and released a hefty redfish while casting a MirrOlure Little John on a 1/16-ounce jig head.

Shuford was one of many clients and friends of Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing to catch redfish during the month.

In addition to redfish, Shuford had a fair day, catching and releasing spotted seatrout and jack crevalle.

Repeat clients John Mallia and J.D. Mallia of Lancaster, N.Y. had a decent day in the Buttonwood Harbor area. They caught and released 50 spotted seatrout to 2 ½ pounds, redfish to 20 inches and several mangrove snapper. The fish were caught on MirrOlure Little Johns on light jig heads and MirrOlure MR14 MirrOlures.

Zack Dunivin, a student at New College in Sarasota, caught a variety of fish while casting jigs around grass patches near Stephens Point in Sarasota Bay. Dunivin caught spotted seatrout to 17 inches, flounder, mangrove snapper and a 26-inch snook. Most effective lure was a MirrOlure Little John on a light jig head.

Mike Milby of Washington, D.C., and Josh Milby of Lakewood Ranch had a tough day along the east side of Sarasota Bay and just north of Long Bar. They totaled three redfish, a snook, 15 spotted seatrout to 18 inches, ladyfish, jack crevalle and a few ladyfish. Most of the fish were caught on gold spoons or MirrOlure MR14 MirrOdines.

Dave Robinson of Sarasota joined me on a couple of outings. We fished Charlotte Harbor, the mouth of the Peace River and the Punta Gorda Isles canals. Our target was tarpon and we found plenty. But we couldn’t get them to hit.

I had fished the canals the previous week and jumped a couple of juvenile tarpon on D.O.A. TerrorEyz.

Tarpon fish ranges from frustrating to great during this time on year in Charlotte County. I’ve jumped as many as eight tarpon in a morning. I’ve also had some not-so-good days.

Robinson and I made the 45-minute paddle to Long Bar and fared better. We combined for 11 redfish, four snook, plenty of trout to 4 pounds, mangrove snapper, jack crevalle, flounder and ladyfish. The redfish ranged from 24 to 28 inches. Top snook was 25 inches. The fished were caught on gold spoons, MirrOlure MirrOdines and artificial shrimp.

Highlight of the day came in early afternoon when Robinson hooked and landed a tailing redfish.

October’s forecast calls for cooling temperatures and improved fishing. We look for continued redfish success on the shallow flats.

Spotted seatrout are expected to remain plentiful.

Night snook action should be good around light docks. Plus, we should encounter a few larger snook on the flats.

GIBBY’S TIP: If you’re looking for redfish, make sure the flat you’re fishing has plenty of marine life: mullet, crabs, shrimp, worms and baitfish. I look for large schools of mullet and concentrate my effort around them. For this, I like to fish topwater plugs, MirrOlure Little Johns on light jig heads, MirrOlure MirrOdines or gold spoons.

We’re booking up for October, but still have some prime dates left. Please give us a call or drop us an email if you’d like to get out on the water and have some fun.

Steve Gibson

Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing

(941) 284-3406

Monday, September 3, 2012

Redfish and snook come on strong in August

Pete Walocko of Michigan caught the 28-inch snook on his first cast.

Just as predicted, redfish were the fish of the month  for Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing.

We totaled 62 reds during August, a majority of which ranged from 25 to 30 inches. We had two days during which we landed 10 redfish.

Top bait was the MirrOlure Little John on a 1/16-ounce jig head.

Most of the action took place on the shallow flats of Buttonwood Harbor off Sarasota Bay. The light jig head allows us to fish the shallow grass without constantly hanging up.

In addition, we caught redfish on MirrOlure She Dogs and MirrOlure MirrOdines.

Vinny Caruso of Sarasota fished three times and totaled several redfish and spotted seatrout. His best red, which came on a Sebile Stick Shad, went 26 inches. He also caught reds on a chrome Zara Spook.

Vinny and I tested Bishop Harbor and southern Tampa Bay on one outing, but had to dodge thunderstorms. We only managed a few seatrout.

Pete Walocko of Michigan fished one of those rare days when the redfish weren’t cooperating. But he was fortunate enough to catch a 28-inch snook (released) on a Little John and jig head. He also caught a number of seatrout on the same lure.

We’re finding most of the redfish in and around mullet schools. The more mullet, the better.

We’re also starting to get into some nice flounder on jigs fished along grass edges. Flounder action is expected to heat up and peak in November. We anticipate a good number of flounder to 24 inches.

Although the peak season for large spotted seatrout has passed, we’re still getting some quality fish. In fact, we landed a pair of 4-pound trout on one trip. The top lure for big trout is the MirrOdine, a suspending plug that the fish just can’t seem to resist.

We’re getting more snook than usual on the Buttonwood flats. The action isn’t great, but it’s better than it has been since the red tide of 2006.

We fished Little Sarasota Bay one day on a whim and did very well. We landed seven redfish to 25 inches, four snook to 23 and 15 trout to 18. The reds were all caught on Little Johns.

There are some large schools of oversized redfish on the flats – if you can find them. Best areas include Buttonwood Harbor and southern Tampa Bay.

Snook continue to please around lighted docks at night. A good plan is to start fishing a couple of hours before daylight. We get in a little snook fishing, then hit the bay for reds, trout and other species. On occasion, it’s possible to take a Slam (a red, trout and snook) around the dock lights.

Beach snook fishing has been disappointing with high winds, red algae and stirred up surf. That seems to have dissipated and we could experience a late-season flurry of snook action in the surf.

I have ordered my new fleet of kayaks. I’m getting three Native Watercraft Ultimates and a Native Watercraft Slayer 14.5. The Slayer is a new design that is expected to hit the market in October.

I have three Native Watercraft Ultimate 14.5s for sale. I’m asking $750 for my personal boat. It has a bow spray skirt, paddle holder and anchor trolley. The other two are $700 and only have anchor trolleys.

If you’re interested, please let me know as soon as possible. I am offering them to clients and friends first. Then, I will list them publically.

We anticipate good redfish action this month. In addition, we expect snook, spotted seatrout, bluefish and maybe pompano to cooperate.

The fishing has been very good. Contact me if you’d like to fish.

Steve Gibson

Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing