Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Wind and rough water couldn't stop us from catching fish

Bonnie Hickey of Bozeman, Mont., battles her first beach snook.

We were able to catch a decent number of fish during May -- despite strong wind, rain and rough and dirty water.

Weather certainly has been a major influence on fishing throughout southwest Florida so far in 2018.

 We're hoping things settle down and we can get back to "normal."

This unusual brown peacock bass was impressive.
Early in the month, we made a number trips to The Everglades where we walked in and did quite well on peacock bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, oscar and Mayan cichlid. Despite our success, those trips are over until the next dry season. High water, heat, thunderstorms and mosquitoes will keep angling action in The 'Glades to a minimum for a few months.

That being said, it could be the time to think about an Everglades trip down the road. If you've never caught a peacock bass, you might want to seriously consider this trip.

Over our last four outings down there, we caught and released more than 200 peacock bass. It's some great fly fishing, for sure.

Most of the fish were caught on Junior's Craft Fur Minnow, a creation of Junior Burk, an Indiana fly tyer. We also caught peacock bass on Gibby's Myakka Minnows.

Gibby's Myakka Minnow was effective on peacocks.
I did get out on a couple of beach snook trips in May. Conditions were not good, but we still encountered snook. Mike and Bonnie Hickey of Bozeman, Mont., joined me on a marginal day. We first tried Manasota Key, but encountered rough water and quite a bit of red algae (not red tide) in the surf. We drove north to Casey Key and found better conditions.

At Casey Key, Bonnie Hickey landed a 23-inch snook (the fish broke loose as I was holding the leader). She and Mike also hooked a few others. In all, they got maybe 15 shots at snook, including one fish we estimated at 10-12 pounds.

Jeff Marshall of Venice and Sherri Soper of Arizona spent a day with sight-fishing the surf in trying conditions. The water was calm enough, but the sky was overcast  which resulted in extreme glare on the water, making spotting snook pretty tough.
This over-sized redfish was sight-fished in 18 inches of water.

Still, Sherri  hooked a 24-incher and had a couple of other s take her fly. Jeff landed a decent spotted seatrout and lost another.

John Weimer of the Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers in Sarasota joined me on a trip to Lake Manatee. We launched at the Verna Road Bridge on the east end of the lake. The results were fair. We landed 25 mostly hand-size bluegill on popping bugs and Gibby's Snymphs under strike indicators.

Weimer also fished with me late in the month around Buttonwood Harbor off Sarasota Bay. We caught and released five snook, two redfish to33 inches, a number of spotted seatrout and a few ladyfish. Snook were caught on Gibby's Snook Shrimp, while the reds went for MirrOlure Lil Johns on light jig heads. Fish of the day was one we didn't land. While casting for trout over deep grass, I jumped a 60-pound tarpon that put on quite a show before I lost it!

Marshall  Dinerman of Atlanta caught spotted seatrout to 18 and ladyfish on MirrOlure Lil Johns on light jigs around Buttonwood Harbor. We also landed a fine, late-season pompano on a MirrOlure MirrOdine.

JUNE FORECAST: I can tell you what it should be. Snook should be plentiful in the surf  and willing to hit a Gibby's D.T. Variation. This is the best sight-fishing around when conditions are right. All we need are a light easterly breeze, calm surf, clear water and sunshine! Around Sarasota Bay, I look for decent snook action at night around lighted docks. Spotted seatrout should be plentiful over deep grass. And I think redfish action is beginning to (finally) pick back up after four sub-par years. I've already caught and released more reds this year than in the last four years combined.
If you want to get in on some of this exciting action, please give me a call (941-284-3406) or email me (steve@kayakfishingsarasota.com).

Steve Gibson
Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing

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