Sunday, April 27, 2014

Wind made fishing tougher than normal in April

Fly-fishing pro and NuCanoe Pro Staffer Joe Mahler of Fort Myers shows off a fine peacock bass.

Wind and unseasonable thunderstorms marked the month of April, causing some postponements and rescheduling.

When we were able to get out, we did well on a variety of fish, including redfish, snook, spotted seatrout, Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle and ladyfish.

This feisty Mayan cichlid was taken on a Myakka Minnow.
Vinny Caruso of Bradenton joined me for an outing to Joe Bay off Southern Tampa Bay early in the month. Using topwater plugs at dawn, we caught several snook to 27 inches. Later in the day, we added snook, redfish to 26 inches and spotted seatrout to 18 on MirrOlure Lil Johns on light jig heads and MirrOlure MirrOdines.

We ventured down to Venice to fish a secluded spot off the Intracoastal Waterway on two occasions and totaled 27 snook, plus mangrove snapper, jack crevalle, spotted seatrout and a sennet (a small, barracuda-like fish). All of the fish were take on MirrOlure MirrOdines.

You might have noticed that I use the MirrOdine quite often. I estimate that I catch at least 80 percent of my saltwater fish on this versatile lure. As a result, most of my clients have turned to the MirrOdine as their "go-to" lure. I prefer the 14MR (mini) MirrOdine. I'm not sure color makes that much of a difference, but I mainly use the chartreuse or green back models.

The lure is easy to cast, easy to fish and easy to work. I cast it out and twitch it with my the tip of my rod. Sometimes I'll twitch twice, then once. I keep my rod parallel to the water. And since I'm right-handed, I hold the rod to my left.

I believe that working the MirrOdine slowly is key to its effectiveness. I basically use the reel to take in slack during the retrieve.

Joe Klenke of Kettering, Ohio joined my for an outing on Sarasota Bay near Buttonwood Harbor. We had to work for our fish, but ended up with 20 spotted seatrout to 19 inches and several jack crevalle and ladyfish.

Stephens Point along the eastside of Sarasota Bay has been productive. We've been getting snook around the docks at dawn on MirrOdines. In addition, we've caught redfish to 22 inches on topwater plugs. After the sun comes up, we move out to the deep grass when we have caught spotted seatrout to 25 inches, Spanish mackerel to 27 inches, ladyfish, jack crevalle and bluefish on MirrOdines, D.O.A. Shrimp and D.O.A. Deadly Combinations.

I joined Joe Mahler, Drei Stroman, Howard Beemer and Ted Schurdell for an outing around Golden Gate east of Naples. We had originally planned to fish The Everglades for exotics, but changed plans because of predicted strong wind. We did fair, landing a bunch of bluegill, Mayan cichlid and laremouth bass. The fish of the day was Joe Mahler's chunky peacock bass.

Vinny Caruso and I drove to The Everglades where we fish along Alligator Alley. We did pretty good before strong wind and a thunderstorm drove us off the water. We caught 35 oscar, 35 bass, 20 bluegill, 20 stumpknocker and five Mayan cichlid on my Myakka Minnow (copper color).

On the way home, we stopped at a recreation area on the north side of the road and did well casting Myakka Minnows from the dock. We caught another 15 oscar and several bluegill.
Everglades fishing should remain good through May until afternoon thunderstorms, heat and mosquitoes end the season.

Pete Walocko of Michigan fished with me once again. We fished off Stephens Point and had to work for our fish. The action was slow because the tide stopped moving for three hours! Once it got going, we caught spotted seatrout, ladyfish, flounder and silver trout. Pete landed a couple of trout in the 20-inch range on MirrOdines.

I hit the Braden River three times with mixed results. The first two outings resulted in 33 bass to 3 pounds, 40 bluegill and 20 stumpknocker on poppers and nymphs. The final trip of the week produced five bass to a pound and five bluegill on poppers and Myakka Minnows.

MAY FORECAST: We look for improved weather conditions, with light winds. If that happens, we expect good action on spotted seatrout, redfish and snook around Sarasota Bay. In addition, bass and bluegill action should pick up in local rivers and lakes.

Fly fishing for small tarpon should be good in The Everglades.

Beach snook action is expected to improve daily and the water temperature heats up and fish move out of the bays.

Steve Gibson
Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pompano top the list of good April action around Sarasota Bay

Pete Walocko of Michigan shows off a fine pompano he caught on a MirrOdine near Buttonwood Harbor.
Fishing was good for Southern Drawl Kayak clients during March. We caught a variety of fish in a variety of situations.

Once again, pompano topped the list. This year has been the best pompano action since 2009. We landed pompano on almost every trip.

Strange as it might seem, we caught most of our pompano on 14MR MirrOdines. Now, I'm told that pompano do not eat fish. They usually eat shrimp and other crustaceans. They might not eat fish, but they eat the heck out of MirrOdines, a lure that's supposed to resemble a scaled sardine (also known as whitebait or pilchard).

Why question it?

We also caught quite a few spotted seatrout during the month.

Redfish had a surge when they showed up on the shallow flats. We caught redfish on gold spoons, MirrOdines, MirrOlure Lil Johns on light jigs and topwater plugs (Zara Super Spook Jr.).

In addition, we caught jack crevalle, loads of ladyfish and a few snook.

Most of the action took place in and around Buttonwood Harbor off Sarasota Bay.

Pete Walocko and Richard Ives started things off early in the month. These two winter residents from Michigan had a fair day. They caught 25 spotted seatrout to 19 inches, three pompano, three Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, sugar trout and ladyfish on MirrOdines.

Derek McNeil of Colorado did fairly well on fly rod. We caught 15 spotted seatrout to 22 inches, pompano, Spanish mackerel, sugar trout, ladyfish and jack crevalle. An olive-and-white Clouser Deep Minnow on a sinktip line did most of the damage.

Maureen Grose of Venice joined me for a shortened outing on a windy day. We cut the six-hour trip down to four hours because of heavy wind. Still, Maureen was able to land a fine pompano. We also caught spotted seatrout, ladyfish, mangrove snapper and a small snook on MirrOdines and Lil Johns.

John Kis of New York had a fair day. We landed spotted seatrout to 20 inches, pompano, Spanish mackerel and ladyfish on MirrOdines.

Ray Esboldt of Minnesota caught spotted seatrout, Spanish mackerel, sugar trout, jack crevalle and ladyfish on MirrOdines. Largest trout of the outing went 4 1/2 pounds.

Bill Suda and Pete Borg of New York booked a pair of trips. But we were only able to get one in because of thunderstorms. We fish Buttonwood Harbor and totaled 35 spotted seatrout, ladyfish, jack crevalle, sugar trout and pompano on MirrOdines.

Vinny Caruso of Bradenton joined me on a windy day. We had to fish Longboat Key canals to get out of the wind. But we managed snook, spotted seatrout, jack crevalle, ladyfish and croaker on MirrOlure Lil Johns. We also hooked a large snook that we couldn't keep out of the pilings.

On an outing to Joe Bay off southern Tampa Bay, Vinny Caruso of Bradenton and I combined to catch snook to 25 inches, redfish to 27 and a load of spotted seatrout to 16 on topwater plugs, MirrOdines and Lil Johns.

April forecast: I look for improved redfish action on the flats, with the best action taking place early and late on topwater plugs and spoons. Snook should make a good appearance in the backcountry and start to show up along the beaches. Also, spotted seatrout, jack crevalle and ladyfish should be plentiful.

Steve Gibson
Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing