Once again clients on fishing charters spent most of the fishing time focusing on action and variety. This type of fishing is best for novice anglers and children. Casting Bass Assassin 4" Sea Shad baits and drifting live shrimp over submerged grass beds in 6' to 10' of water resulted in many bent rods and a lot of happy clients. Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, bluefish, jack crevelle, gag grouper, and a bunch of ladyfish were landed, with the Middlegrounds being the top spot. Big Sarasota Pass was slow early in the week but then really hot hot towards the end, with action being fast on ladyfish with a few blues and mackerel mixed in. We did do a little snook fishing in Robert's Bay with fair results, landing a few small ones on shrimp.
Clients on fishing charters with Capt Jim had good action this week, landing snook, redfish, jack crevelle, flounder, mangrove snapper, speckled trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and loads of ladyfish! As is the case during the Easter holiday, many of the trips involved children and novice anglers. Big Pass provided fast action for anglers drifting live shrimp and casting jigs. Ladyfish were plentiful along with bluefish and the occasional Spanish mackerel. The deep grass flats at Marina Jack, Robert's Bay, and Middlegrounds were productive as well, with speckled trout, bluefish, mackerel, snapper, and ladyfish hitting Bass Assassin jigs, plugs, and live shrimp. I also had a couple of trips with more experienced anglers, and we spent some time targeting snook, with pretty good success. Friday morning was particularly good as we landed a dozen snook along with several nice snapper, jacks, and a 21" flounder using plugs and live shrimp.
Clients on fishing charters this week did pretty well despite breezy conditions. Winds were up around 20 knots early in the week before a strong front moved through on Thursday, shutting down the fishing for a couple of days. Big Sarasota Pass offered some protection from the wind and provided decent action on ladyfish, sheepshead, Spanish mackerel, and snapper. Schools of bait moved into the bay and netting some and fishing docks and mangrove shorelines in Robert's Bay on the Siesta Key side produced snook, jack crevelle, and snapper. East winds are forecast all week and action should resume back in the Gulf of Mexico.
Fishing was VERY good this week in Sarasoita for visiting anglers and families that were down for Spring Break. Big Pass was full of hard-fishting ladyfish and bluefish, with some Spanish mackerel mixed in. Bass Assassin jigs produced most of the fish. Deep grass flats from New Pass north to Buttonwood Harbor gave up some decent speckled trout to 22", again, jigs were the top producer. The bite was hot out on the beach, with Spanish mackerel, small kings, and sharks feeding on schools of bait. Fly anglers scored using Clouser Minnow patters and spin fishermen did well casting plugs. Docks and mangrove shorelines in Robert's Bay held snook and jack crevelle, live shrimp and pilchards worked well. Weather looks like it will be an issue in the upcoming week.
Spring Break is in full swing and the weather and fishing has been cooperation for our guests! Big Sarasota Pass has been a productive spot, with jigs producing ladyfish, bluefish, and mackerel in the center of the pass. The rocky shoreline along Siesta Key and docks along Bird Key held decent numbers of sheepshead for anglers fishing with shrimp. The deeper flats throughout the area gave up speckled trout, bluefish, pompano, Spanish mackerel, and loads of ladyfish for clients casting red/gold shiner Bass Assassin Sea Shad baits on a 1/4 ounce jig head. Free lining shrimp under docks in Robert's Bay produced snook, jacks, and snapper.
Anglers in Sarasota, Florida got a taste of winter as a severe cold front moved through the area, bringing strong winds and temperatures in the low 40s. Tuesday and Wednesday were not fishable. Action was good on Monday and picked up again at the end of the week and conditions improved. Clients on fishing charters did very well bottom fishing structure in Big Sarasota Pass using shrimp. I was concerned that the fish would be migrating out after the recent full moon, but numbers are good and perhaps a new bunch moved in. Ladyfish were plentiful in the pass and on the flats. Spanish mackerel were working on the surface before the front and should show up after the water clears. Trout and pompano hit jigs and live shrimp on grass flats throughout the area.
Anglers on fishing charters did very well throughout the area this week using several different techniques. Bottom fishing structure with shrimp in Big Sarasota Pass on the north side of Siesta Key produced decent numbers of sheepshead along with snapper and small grouper. Bass Assassin jigs and diving plugs fooled a ton of ladyfish as well as some Spanish mackerel in Big Pass. The flats from Siesta Drive north to Buttonwood Harbor gave up speckled trout, pompano, mackerel, gag grouper, and ladyfish for clients using jigs and live shrimp. I had two fly fishing trips with both producing decent numbers of ladyfish, trout, Spanish mackerel, and pompano.
Sheepshead are spawning this time of year and the rocky structure in Big Pass at the north shore of Siesta Key offers miles of prime habitat for these tasty and prolific saltwater panfish. Shrimp fished on the bottom near the rocks or docks produced fast action on sheepshead along with mangrove snapper, Key West grunts, and juvenile gag grouper. Ladyfish werethick in the middle of the pass and hit small, fast-sinking jigs such as the Bomber pompano jig bounced along the bottom. Bluefish were landed as well, but the ladies were so aggressive it was difficult getting a bait past them. The flats from Robert's Bay north to Long Bar gave up speckled trout, ladyfish, bluefish, and the occasional pompano and mackerel.
The sheepshead bite remained strong in Big Sarasota Pass over the last week. We had to move from the pass itself to the nearby docks and bridges due to very strong tidal flow. The best time to work structure in the pass is on a slack tide. Sheepshead, snapper, and juvenile gag grouper hit shrimp fished on the bottom. Also, the flats in Robert's Bay, Marina Jacks, and Middlegrounds are producing speckled trout, ladyfish, bluefish, and the occasional pompano for clients casting Bass Assassin jigs.
The sheepshead spawning run is in full swing and the sheepies are thick in the passes and area docks and bridges. Virtually every structure is holding these tasty saltwater panfish. The technique is pretty basic; simply fish a shrimp, fresh or frozen, on the bottom or cast near a piling and wait for the tell-tale "tap". Sheepshead often times bite very lightly, other times more aggressively, especially is current flow is present. The structure in Big Sarasota Pass along the north side of Siesta Key has been the top spot for clients on charters. Action on the deeep grass flats has been very good as well, due in part to the unseasonably warm winter we are experiencing. Red/gold shiner Bass Assassin jigs are producing speckled trout, pompano, bluefish, and loads of ladyfish over grass in 6' to 8' of water.