Big reds, and trout on the hook
Angler's aboard the Reelin & Chillin have been catching, trout, redfish, mangrove snapper, pompano, permit, and bluefish, to name a few more popular species.
When I have the time to cover many of my favorite locations, sooner or later one or more of these will produce. This proved true with four angler's out on a full day trip. We would hit a spot, fish for a few minutes, if we had action we would stay - if not we would move on. All angler's managed a respectable catch, Andria started off with a nice trout around eighteen inches caught just at the north end of Quick Pt. where the flats met with the channel. Working our way north fishing grass flats and picking up a few fish along the way we ended up at Long Bar. We saw hundreds of mullet feeding and cast to them. Kristan, Andria, and Michelle all managed to pull a redfish from the school. Working our way back south we ran some crab trap buoy's. A triple tail was spotted - Nate placed a live shrimp just a few feet from the trap and the fish bit. A nice four pound triple tail made for a great battle on light tackle. We stuck to live hand-picked shrimp, and Berkley Gulps for bait on this trip.
It's always nice to find a great spot that produces big fish consistently, it happens often, unfortunately these spots only stay hot for a week or two, then the fish move on. I was lucky enough to find one just spot to put my anglers on, it was fantastic while it lasted. I managed to make it work for several trips over a two week period. The trip with Bob Cooper and family was the normal trip for a couple weeks. Using only ten pound test line Bob picked up a thirty inch redfish - Riley a twenty-three, Keith a twenty-seven, and Cullen with the big boy of the day a thirty-four inch red. Did I fish the hole out? Is this why there were no more reds after a couple weeks? The answer is NO - the reason is ninety percent of the fish were over the twenty-seven inch limit and released. Also, if I knew of a spot like this and my angler's were on a meat mission, I would only take them there if they agreed on keeping one or two fish. It's just not fair to all of us to wipe out a great spot just for dinner.
Plenty of trout, bluefish, and a few pompano to be found on the grass flats in north Sarasota Bay around Whale Key. Look for diving birds working the bait and you should hook up with no problem. Live shrimp work, however they go quick. Any kind of shiner you can net will also work - good luck finding any big enough to put on a hook. Lot's of bait around, all small. Berkley Gulps work great, just about any color, white and penny are my favorites. D.O.A. shrimp are also a great choice.
Captain's Tip - shrimp today, pins tomorrow
When it's working it's great. I found a spot with oversize redfish, using live hand-picked shrimp for bait. I was catching several per trip consistently. Then one day nothing - my shrimp were being devoured by small snapper and pinfish. I thought maybe the fish moved on, then I looked over the side of the boat and noticed silver dollar size pinfish flashing in the grass. One throw of the cast net brought a dozen pins, and grunts. Making this story short as short as possible. The reds bit for a little over a week on big shrimp then wouldn't touch one. For the next week and a half they devoured pins and grunts - go figure. This tells me that I need to head out with several different baits when possible, and to adapt if necessary. When fishing with two or more anglers, switch up baits, one with a shrimp, one with a pin, and maybe even one with a chunk of cut mullet. All will catch reds at one point in time, and all will not catch reds at one point in time. Just think, if I would have arrived at this spot when the fish weren't interested in the shrimp - I would have caught nothing and never came back. That's about forty oversize reds on several trips that my anglers would have missed out on.
Tight Lines & Good Times, Capt. Terry Frankford
Reelin & Chillin Charters Inc.
About The Author: Captain Terry Frankford
Company: Reelin & Chillin Charters Inc.
Area Reporting: Sarasota
Bio: Fishing experience in the Sarasota area for over thirty years - mostly salt water inshore and nearshore. Became a full time guide in November of 2003 after retiring from Verizon Communications as a Network Planning Engineer. U.S.C.G. licensed Master #1125021 – includes Commercial Assistance Towing. Completed Auxiliary boating Skills & Seamanship course. Certified in Senior Lifesaving, Advanced First Aid, CPR, and Open Water Scuba Diving.