Monday, October 29, 2012

Gator trout, big flounder expected in November

Vinny Caruso of Sarasota with one of several big flounder taken on jigs in an hour near Buttonwood Harbor.

                Big spotted seatrout showed up in good numbers in Sarasota Bay just as expected.

                And that’s good news. We anticipate good action on big trout through April.

                From Jan. 1 until now, Southern Drawl clients and myself have caught a total of 35 trout weighing 5 pounds of more from Sarasota Bay. The largest trout of the year was a 9-pounder.

                “Gator” trout are among the most fun fish to catch. They’re unlike our typical “school” trout. These big fish are wary and fight impressively when hooked on suitable tackle.

                For bigger trout, we like to use a variety of artificial, including D.O.A. Shrimp, MirrOlure MirrOdines and topwater plugs.

                The best spot are along the west side of Sarasota Bay near Buttonwood Harbor.

                Fly angler Chuck Dodd joined me for a day on Sarasota Bay and did fair. Dodd managed a number of seatrout and a snook and jack crevalle on Clouser Deep Minnows.

                An old buddy of mine, Frank Ross of Ocala, formerly a photographer at the Sarasota Journal, joined me for a day on the bay . He brought along one of his old Navy buddies, Dave Love of Pennsylvania. We caught nearly a dozen species of fish, including spotted seatrout, snook, flounder, mangrove snapper, jack crevalle and bluefish. Most of the fish were caught on light jig heads and 4-inch MirrOlure Little Johns.

                Vinny Caruso of Sarasota fished with me on two occasions. The first outing was his first fly-fishing outing. We fished Lake Manatee and totaled 80 bluegill. Most of the fish were taken on No. 12 and No. 14 nymphs under a strike indicator.

                Patrick O’Connor of Rotonda fished Lake Manatee with me and did very well. Using a variety of nymphs, we caught a mess of bluegill and a pair of hard-fishing channel catfish.

                Lake Manatee produced nicely for me during the month. I caught big bluegill, bass to 4 pounds, shellcracker to 1½ pounds, speckled perch, channel catfish and tilapia. Most of the fish were caught on nymphs, but we also used No. 10 popping bugs and my Myakka Minnow.

                We had some negative low tides earlier in the month and found tailing redfish in Palma Sola Bay. First time out, I caught one red on a topwater plug. The next day, I flyfished and landed three reds on a Gurgler. In addition, I caught seatrout, flounder and jack crevalle.

                I made a solo trip to the Long Bar area of Sarasota Bay and had a fair day. It’s a 45-minute paddle, but often is well worth the effort.  This day was only so-so. I caught a pair of reds, a snook, 10 trout and a couple of jack crevalle.

                On his second trip of the month, Vinny Caruso and I did well. We landed 25 trout to 5 pounds, redfish to 27 inches, a 25-inch snook and 11 doormat flounder.

                It’s getting the time of year when you can go out and target flounder. They’re plentiful on sand edges and will hit most any soft plastic on a light jig head. 

                I fished the 8th annual Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers/Sarasota Coastal Conservation Association Fall Fly Fishing Challenge and again won a division. Despite 25 mph wind and rough conditions, I caught 67.75 inches of trout for the victory. I would have had well more than 100 inches of trout had I not released the first five I caught, thinking they were too small to fool with!

                If we get some negative low tides, Pine Island Sound (all-day trips only) will give anglers at shot  at tailing redfish, snook, spotted seatrout and tarpon. It’s the best chance of a Grand Slam that we have.

                We’ve had some windy conditions caused by Hurricane Irene. The big storm didn’t do any damage here, but did produce some win. We expect conditions to settle.


1.       Large spotted seatrout;

2.       Flounder;

3.       Redfish;

4.       Snook at night;

5.       Bluegill;

6.       Speckled perch.


Steve Gibson

Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing

(941) 284-3406

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