|Dean Gillispie of Fairborn, Ohio battles a feisty Spanish mackerel, one of several fish he caught on the day.|
November action started out very good in Sarasota Bay, with snook dominating the picture. Over a four-day period early in the month, we caught more than 50 snook to 27 inches on a variety of lures. Best producer was the mini MirrOlure MirrOdine (http://www.shopmirrolure.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=mirrodine&x=0&y=0 ).
|A healthy Sarasota Bay pompano taken on a MirrOdine.|
Fishing the flats around Buttonwood Harbor, we also caught a variety of fish, including spotted seatrout, redfish, flounder, mangrove snapper, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and pompano. Most of the fish were taken on MirrOdines, but we also caught them on Zara Spooks and MirrOlure Lil Johns on light jig heads.
My brother, Scott, and his friend Dean Gillispie of Fairborn, Ohio joined me for a day and had a great time. They had delivered a motor home to Bowling Green, Fla., and had a free day before flying north. The action wasn't great, but we tallied snook, redfish, spotted seatrout, mangrove snapper, flounder, Spanish mackerel and pompano.
Blake Young of Belingham, Wash., fished Buttonwood Harbor with me on a slow day. We noticed a lot of floating dead fish, some dying fish and fresh dead fish on the bottom. That can only mean the dreaded red tide, a pesky algae bloom that robs fish of their oxygen supply. We fished hard and caught spotted seatrout, flounder, mangrove snapper, ladyfish, jack crevalle and bluefish.
Blake is the owner of NuCanoe (www.nucanoe.com). I use both the NuCanoe Frontier and NuCanoe Pursuit, both great fishing boats and fantastic fly-fishing vessels.
Since that time, red tide has invaded the bay, virtually shutting fishing down along the west side.
Latest report is that the tide is gone, but I don't know what an effect it has had on fishing. I will get a closer look this week.
There are still plenty of fish around. We just switch areas and move to locations that don't have red tide.
November is usually a great month for freshwater fishing. We tested Lake Manatee on several days and did very well. Using light fly rods, we caught a variety of fish, including hand-sized bluegill, largemouth bass, shellcracker, stumpknocker, speckled perch and feisty channel catfish.
I usually start the day casting No. 10 popping bugs. I'll fish poppers until the action slows, then switch to No. 12 nymphs and No. 14 scuds. I've found that when the surface action slows, it's just beginning sub-surface.
I fish the nymphs and scuds under a strike indicator. I have used the "Thingamabobber" by WestWater Products (http://westwaterproducts.com/thingamabobber.html) for my strike indicator for several years and have found it works well. It's easy to attached, stays in place and will signal the lightest strike. I usually use the half-inch Thingamabobber. They come in assorted colors. I usually opt for the pink or orange because they're easy to see.
I was fortunate to be invited to fish Lake X with the NuCanoe Pro Staff and Blake Young. The lake is a former quarry that is no longer being worked. It's located east of Fort Myers. To get there, head east. When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
We all fly fished and caught plenty of bass. I totaled 20 on bass poppers, my Gibby's Bunny Worm and a pink-and-chartreuse Clouser. Most of my fish were small/
NuCanoe Pro Staffer Drei Stroman landed a four-pounder to take big fish honors.
It was a slow day, according to the fellas. Typically, they catch upward of 50 fish per person up to 6-7 pounds.
DECEMBER FORECAST: I look for improved redfish, snook and spotted seatrout action. Snook will be best after dark around lighted docks. Redfish will be on the flats. Trout will cooperate over deep grass. In addition, December usually is very good for pompano, bluefish and Spanish mackerel in 4 to 8 feet of water over grass. We usually begin heading to The Everglades in late December to fly fish for oscar, Mayan cichlid and native freshwater species. The action usually heats up about the third week of the month.
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