Saturday, December 1, 2012

Trout, redfish and big bluefish were the headliners of November

Zach Griffith of Missouri shows off one of three reds he caught while "sight-fishing" in Sarasota Bay.

November wasn't what you'd call a month that any Florida chamber of commerce would have wanted.

For the most part, it was breezy and quite a bit cooler than normal. If the pattern hold, we could be in for a cold winter.

However, the month did offer decent fishing action throughout Sarasota Bay.

Zach Griffith of Missouri started things off on a high note. He began the morning spotted seatrout and ladyfish on virtually every cast while drifting the deep grass off the east side of Whale Key.

We moved the a grass edge on the south side of the key to see if some larger trout wanted to play. I got lucky and caught an 8-pound, 29-inch trout on a Live Target plug. We also caught some smaller trout. When that action slowed, we decided to head back to the deep grass where we began that morning.

We never got there.

While poling across the flat, I noticed redfish all over the place. We anchored the boats, got out and waded. Zach hooked four redfish and landed three in an hour.  He caught them all on MirrOlure Little Johns on 1/16-ounce jig heads.

Fly angler Dick Badman of Pennsylvania joined me for a winder day on Palma Sola Bay. He landed a number of spotted seatrout and flounder on chartreuse-and-white Clouser Deep Minnows.

The action heated up pretty good around Buttonwood Harbor and I did well on a couple of scouting trips. I caught trout to 4 pounds, bluefish to 5 pounds, redfish to 30 inches and Spanish mackerel to 4 pounds on MirrOlure MirrOdines and Little Johns on light jig heads.

Regular client Dick Badman tried his hand a fly fishing and again encountered windy conditions. We did manage 10 trout, two snook, a red and a flounder.

Fly anglers Russ Ballagh of Nokomis and his buddy, Mick Coulas of Stoneybrook, N.Y.,  had a fair day on the south side of Whale Key. Russ won a trip that I donated to the Managrove Coast Fly Fishers.

We caught and released trout to 3 pounds, a couple of snook, four redfish, two bluefish and several ladyfish and jacks on spoon flies, Gibby's HOTS Fly and Gibby's Duster.

The following day, fly anglers Dault Roberts of Oklahoma and Phil Napolitano of New Mexico waded the Whale Key flat. Both are professional trout guides. They did well, catching and releasing spotted seatrout, redfish, snook, Spanish mackerel and jack crevalle on Gibby's Fiber Minnow and Gibby's Duster.

I joined the Native Watercraft crew from Legacy Paddlesports for a day of fishing in Tampa Bay. Fellow Native Watercraft guide Neil Taylor picked an area near the Gandy Bridge for us to fish. It allowed us to get out of a very strong wind. Fishing wasn't great, but there were plenty of spotted seatrout, flounder and a few redfish landed.

Joe Tice of Chambersburg, Pa.,  had a good day on fly rod and spin rod. He caught a number of trout and ladyfish on Gibby's Duster. After switching to a spinning rod, he caught and released redfish, snook, trout and sheepshead on MirrOlure Little Johns on light jig heads.

Dick Badman of Pennsylvania endured another windy day. One of these weeks, Dick will get a calm day and loads of hungry fish. Still, he was able to nab quite a few trout to 18 inches on Gibby's D.T. Variation.

I made a scouting trip to the Myakka River to see if any snook had moved upriver. I don't know if they have or not, but I didn't hook or catch any. I only had five hits and caught two large gar and a small redfish.

I fished the Myakka almost exclusively once cold weather sets in. Last year, my clients landed snook to 37 inches, redfish to 32, bass to 5 pounds and gar to 25 pounds,

Repeat client Pete Walocko of Michigan had a good day late in the month. Pete caught spotted seatrout and bluefish along the south side of Whale Kay. He hooked a hefty redfish, but lost it at the side of his kayak near Red Key in Buttonwood Harbor.

I fished with David Martin of Sarasota and had a pretty good day around Whale Key and Buttonwood Harbor. We combined to catch spotted seatrout to 4 pounds, redfish to 29 inches, ladyfish and snook to 23. Most of the fish were caught on MirrOlure MirrOdines and Little Johns on light jig heads.

Large trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, pompano and redfish will be the prime targets in Sarasota Bay in December.

We'll probably switch to the Myakka River in mid-month to target big snook, redfish, largemouth bass, gar and tarpon.

The busy season is once again here, so book your trips  as soon as possible.

Have a great Holiday Season.

Steve Gibson
Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing
(941) 284-3406