Tuesday, January 7, 2014

December produced a variety of fish in a variety of conditions

Nick Roberts, 19, holds an impressive Myakka River snook that was caught on a MirrOlure Lil John on a light jighead.

December covered virtually every weather situation: sun, wind, rain, cold and warm.

Despite unpredictable and in consistent weather, fishing was fairly good.

Early in the month, Frank Jablonski of Venice joined us for an outing on Sarasota Bay. We fishing the deep grass off Stephens Point and managed 50 spotted seatrout, along with Spanish mackerel, bluefish and ladyfish. Most of the fish were caught on D.O.A. CAL Jigs with copper crush or gold paddle tails and the new VuDu Shrimp.

Vinny Caruso of Bradenton joined me for a day of fly fishing in the Everglades. The two of us combined to catch more than 300 fish, including oscar, largemouth bass, bluegill, stumpknocker and Mayan cichlid.

The Everglades visit showed us that the oscar have rebounded quite well following the 2010 freeze. Vinny and I estimated that we caught 150 oscar between the two of us. Our fish came on popping bugs and Myakka Minnows.

Fly anglers Chris Francis and son Graham from Montana joined me for a pair of outings and experienced slow conditions on one and decent production on the other. We fished the Myakka River on one trip, but couldn't find any snook.

We fished the deep grass off Stephens Point in Sarasota Bay and did fair. We caught 40 spotted seatrout, several Spanish mackerel, pompano, ladyfish, silver trout and sugar trout.

John Elliott and his son, Andrew, fished the river and had a fair day. They landed snook to 35 inches and a spotted on MirrOlure Lil Johns on light jig heads.

Tim Roberts and his son, Nick, were next up on the river. They managed three snook to 32 inches, a spotted gar and a small bass on Lil Johns on light jig heads.

Snook action on the river has been slow to date,  but I expect it to improve after the first of the year -- especially if we get some cold weather. I always tell clients that they're just one cast from a 25-30-pound snook when fishing the river.

Repeat client Jason Beary of Pennsylvania fly fished with me in Sarasota Bay off Stephens Point and did well. We totaled 40 spotted seatrout to 17 inches, four mackerel and several ladyfish on synthetic Clouser Deep Minnows and MirrOlure MirrOdines (mini).

Steve Sorrell of New York, also a repeat client had a decent day despite wind and cold. We fished the Buttonwood Harbor area along the west side of Sarasota Bay and caught flounder, spotted seatrout, redfish, snook, bluefish, jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel and ladyfish on D.O.A. CAL Jigs with paddle tails, MirrOlure MirrOdines and Johnson Sprite Spoons.

I look for large snook action to improve on the Myakka River. Last year, the first and second weeks of January were the top periods for snook. We caught snook up to 44 inches, along with several small tarpon during that period.

In Sarasota Bay, I look for continued action on spotted seatrout, jack crevalle, bluefish to 5 pounds, Spanish mackerel to 5, redfish, flounder and, of course, ladyfish.

Happy New Year and good fishing!

Steve Gibson
Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing

(941) 284-3406

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