Saturday, January 31, 2015

Surgeries over, now it's back to fishing Sarasota Bay and other areas

Bill Haarz of Sarasota battles a fish on fly rod off Stephens Point in Sarasota Bay.
January was an abbreviated fishing month for Southern Drawl. I had two eye surgeries over nine days that diminished the time I could be on the water.

I'm happy to report both surgeries were successful. Not only do I not have cataracts, I also have great eyesight. For the first time in years, I don't have to wear glasses (except cheaters for reading). I went from nearsighted to farsighted in one fell swoop.

We fished Sarasota  Bay at Stephens Point on our first trip out after the surgery. Fishing was fair. We caught 15 spotted seatrout to 17 inches on MirrOlure MirrOdines. We also landed small snook, ladyfish and a juvenile barracuda on MirrOdines and MirrOlure Lil Johns on light jig heads.

We fished the Myakka River out of Venice Park, looking for bass. We didn't find them. We had five hits, but no fish.

We returned to the Myakka River out of North Port and fared slightly better  -- albeit not that much. Fishing with Vinny Caruso of Bradenton, we landed three small snook, three jack crevalle, a mangrove snapper, largemouth bass and a couple of ladyfish on MirrOdines and Lil Johns.

Everette Howell of Longboat Key and Nashville, Tenn., joined me for an outing on the Myakka River out of Snook Haven and we had a wonderful time -- but caught few fish. Over six hours of hard fishing, we landed on e bass, one snook and a gar.

Bill Haarz of Sarasota fly fished Sarasota Bay at Stephens Point and did fair. He had a snook inhale his fly on the first cast, but didn't hook up. He also had another snook hit the fly at another dock, but still didn't hook up. He landed a few trout and ladyfish over deep grass in the bay on Clouser Deep Minnows. We also caught ladyfish and a couple of Spanish mackerel.

A trek to Joe Bay resulted little action. Vinny Caruso and I combined to catch one trout, one jack and a ladyfish.

Wind shut us down for a week. It seems as if the wind has been a pest all month.

We finally got back out and visited Palma Sola Bay. Vinny Caruso and I caught 50 spotted seatrout to 17 inches, flounder and ladyfish on CAL Jigs with paddle tails, MirrOdines and Vudu Shrimp.

If you've never tried the Vudu Shrimp, you might want to. It's a small, weighted shrimp produced by Egret Baits ( in Louisiana. I first tried this weighted shrimp out a year ago and did well.

I used a Vudu Shrimp to catch 30 trout and five pompano in Sarasota Bay near Buttonwood Harbor on my last trip out of the month.

Speaking of pompano, February could be a banner month for the tasty species. They showed up in good numbers last February and we were able to take quite a few fish on MirrOdines, jigs and flies. It looks like it could be an encore performance this time around.

Because of slow fishing, we probably won't be doing any more river trips this season. That's subject to change if the action picks up.

We're contemplating a few Everglades fly-fishing trips and shad trip to the St. Johns River. In the Everglades, we target oscar, Mayan cichlids and native species such as largemouth bass, bluegill, speckled perch, stumpknocker and warmouth.

When fishing The 'Glades, we primarily use light fly rods with floating lines. We use popping bugs, sinking flies and my Myakka Minnow.

We use light fly rods and typical shad flies on the St. Johns.

If you're interested in either trip, please let me know.

FEBRUARY FORECAST: Locally, we look for increased numbers of pompano over deep grass areas of Sarasota Bay. In addition, fishing for spotted seatrout, bluefish and Spanish mackerel should be good. Redfish action should be fair on the flats and along the edges. Snook action should be excellent at night around lighted docks.

Now that we're back in action and can see pretty darn good, please consider a February trip. Give me a call at 941-284-3406 or email me at

Steve Gibson
Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing


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