Thursday, March 31, 2016

March resulted in great action for spotted seatrout

Drei Stroman of Fort Myers battles a feisty Palma Sola Bay pompano on fly rod.
How good has the fishing for spotted seatrout been?

Well, I set my goal for the year at 500 seatrout on fly. I've now totaled more than 500 trout (514 to be exact).  Guess I'll have to adjust that goal!

This fly-rod pompano put a big smile on Stroman's face.
But that illustrates just how good the seatrout fishing has been. We've done well on virtually every trip.

Palma Sola Bay has been the hot spot -- as it usually is this time of year. Fish drop into channels and sand holes during colder weather where they're easy targets for fly anglers and spin fishers alike.
During March, we averaged 42 trout per trip. And that included a 10-trout day in Sarasota Bay. On two occasions this year, I caught and released more than 100 trout in a day.

These fish have run the gamut of sizes. We caught plenty of them less than the minimum size limit (15 inches), but also have caught them up to 23 inches. Biggest trout of the month was a 25-incher that I caught in Little Sarasota Bay off Vamo. I found a bunch of trout over deep grass in that area.
John Weimer of Sarasota joined me for an outing on Palma Sola Bay and had a good time. We combined to catch and release 50 trout to 21 inches on Super Hair Clousers and Popovics Jiggy flies. In addition, we caught loads of ladyfish and a couple of sugar trout.
Jay Karol of New York struggles to subdue a pompano.

Drei Stroman and Katrina Hillard of Fort Myers joined me on Palma Sola Bay and had a good outing. We landed more than 50 trout, plus ladyfish, five sugar trout and a feisty pompano.

On a solo trip to Palma Sola, I caught 27 trout on Clousers and Jiggies, plus two sugar trout.
I fished Sarasota Bay for the first time since Nov. 6 and had a slow outing. I caught six trout and a few ladyfish out in the bay. I added another dozen trout from the basin near the launch. Largest fish was 16 inches.

We also did quite a bit of freshwater fishing at Lake Manatee during the month. Most trips were very good, but a couple were slow.

First outing resulted in 20 hand-sized copperheaded bluegill, six speckled perch and a half-dozen largemouth bass on No. 12 nymphs under a strike indicator.

The author with his largest tilapia on fly.
Denton Kent of Sarasota and I combined to land 15 bluegill, one bass and three specks on popers and nymphs. We fished hard on this outing, but found the going a little slow.

The next day saw improved action when John Weimer accompanied me. We caught 25 big bluegill, a bass, seven speckled perch and a 4-pound tilapia. It was the largest tilapia I've ever caught on fly rod. Most of the fish came on nymphs under a strike indicator.

On a solo outing a few days late, I caught 10 bluegill, seven speckled perch and four bass on nymphs. The specks were spawning in shallow water. if you caught one, you could expect more from that area.
John Kis and Jay Karol of New York had a good day in Palma Sola Bay. They totaled 50 trout to 19 inches, loads of ladyfish, a pompano, sugar trout, three Spanish mackerel to 5 pounds and a flounder. 

Most of the fish were caught on VuDu Shrimp. I also caught fish on a MirrOlure MirrOdine mini.

Majestic visitor on a Palma Sola Bay outing.
Ken Babineau, president of the Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers, joined me for a trip to Lake Manatee. Despite low wind and overcast, we struggled to land only five bluegill and one bass. it was the slowed day I've experienced on Lake Manatee in years.

I fished Little Sarasota Bay around Vamo and caught 19 trout to 5 pounds, a 25-inch snook, flounder, jack crevalle and loads of big ladyfish on MirreOlure Lil Johns, topwater plugs and MirrOlure Mini MirrOdines.

The month was on the windy side. I'm hoping the wind calms down just a little for April!

APRIL FORECAST: I anticipate continue strong spotted seatrout action over deep grass. Night snook should come on strong around lighted docks. There also could be some decent tarpon action around docks, too!  Redfish are anyone's guess (as always). In fresh water, I look for bluegill, speckled perch, largemouth bass and channel catfish in Lake Manatee and the Manatee River.
Bookings are coming in for April, so available days are getting fewer. Give me a call (941-284-3406) or email me (steve@kayakfishingsarasota) to make sure you get the day(s) you want.

Steve Gibson
Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing


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