|Vinny Caruso of Bradenton, Fla., battles a feisty Everglades oscar on fly rod out of his NuCanoe Frontier.|
February wasn't the best of months for Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing for a number of reasons.
Chief culprit was wind and cold weather. We often can prepare for cold weather by dressing warmly.
|Vinny Caruso's first peacock bass.|
There's little we can do about wind.
For much of the month, we targeted spotted seatrout, perhaps the most plentiful species in Sarasota Bay and surrounding waters. We averaged more than 30 trout per trip, catching a high of 50 on one outing. Most of the fish were below slot (minimum 15 inches), but we did catch a few larger trout to 20 inches.
One highlight took place when we caught five pompano from one of our favorite spots in Buttonwood Harbor. That spot yielded strong pompano action the year prior. However, similar action hasn't materialized this time around. We caught the pompano on Vudu Shrimp (http://www.egretbaits.com/egret_vudushrimp.html).
We visited The Everglades on a couple of occasions and did well. On the first trip, we caught 50 oscar, 15 largemouth bass to 4 pounds, 20 bluegill and a pair of Mayan cichlid. All of the fish were caught on fly rod and Myakka Minnows.
If you fly fish and have never tried the Myakka Minnow, you should do so. I created this fly for panfish and other species about 10 years ago after a frustrating day on the Myakka River . You can read about it at: http://gibbysfishingblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/story-of-mighty-myakka-minnow.html
If you like to fly fish in fresh water, you should give the Myakka Minnow a try. You can order then from me. I am the sole source of Myakka Minnows in the country. Minimum order is a dozen. Cost is $60 (plus shipping and handling). I offer them in black, gold, copper and silver. To order, call me at (941) 284-3406 or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The second trip to The 'Glades was interesting. Vinny Caruso of Bradenton, Fla., and I visited a spot along U.S. 41. The morning was chilly and the fish were hunkered down. We fished an hour without a hit. So, we loaded the kayaks on the trailer and headed for Alligator Alley.
We caught a number of fish early (Vinny caught his first peacock bass), including bass and bluegill. But the action didn't get going until it warmed up. That's when the action exploded. We caught oscar, Mayan cichlid, largemouth bass, bluegill and shellcracker. I caught the largest bluegill I've ever caught in Florida. Vinny caught his largest shellcracker.
All fish were caught on Myakka Minnows.
A cold front moved through the following week, keeping us off the water for nine days. I used the time to tie flies, an activity I had been unable to do prior to my eye surgeries. With great vision, tying flies is now fun and easy!
I tied plenty of Myakka Minnows, plus Clouser Deep Minnows, Gibby's Trout Dusters, Gibby's Snook Flies and Gibby's Big Eye Baitfish.
I visited Tampa Bay on the Fly (www. http://tampabayonthefly.com/), a fine fly shop located in Tampa and owner by Enver Hysni. The shop is a great source for materials and equipment. I also visited Bill Jackson's (http://www.billjacksons.com/) in Pinellas Park, to pick up tying supplies.
When the weather settled, I returned to Sarasota Bay. Fishing off Stephens Point, I caught 32 spotted seatrout, two impressive Spanish mackerel and several ladyfish on MirrOlure MirrOdines (http://www.shopmirrolure.com/). I prefer the Mini MirrOdine (14MR) in most any color. This is my "go-to" lure in most saltwater situations.
Dave Robinson of Sarasota joined me for a day on Sarasota Bay. We launched at Buttonwood Harbor and did pretty well. We combined to catch 30 spotted seatrout to 20 inches, ladyfish and a pompano. A majority of the fish were caught on the 14MR MirrOdine. A majority of the trout were slot fish (15 to 20 inches).
Richard Ives of Detroit and a buddy fished Buttonwood Harbor with me the next day. We caught plenty of trout, but most were under slot.
We're hoping the weather this month is better than February. We're looking for improved fishing.
MARCH FORECAST: We look for improved action on all fronts. Spotted seatrout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, pompano, jack crevalle and ladyfish should be plentiful over the deep grass on the east and west sides of Sarasota Bay. Redfish action should improve on the flats, particular early in the day on topwater plugs and spoons. Night snook action is expected to heat up around lighted docks. In fresh water, we anticipate strong action on fly rod in The Everglades for oscar, Mayan cichlid, largemouth bass and bluegill. Locally, bluegill, speckled perch, largemouth bass and channel catfish will cooperate on fly in Lake Manatee and the Manatee River.
March is a busy month and we're booking daily. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to schedule a trip.
Also, you can keep up with my activities by viewing my blog (http://gibbysfishingblog.blogspot.com/). I also report daily on Twitter (@gibby3474) and on Facebook.
We've added a GoPro camera to our arsenal and will begin adding video for you view pleasure.
Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing