Mangroves & Redfish
Redfish, trout, mangrove snapper, and a few pompano have tightened lines aboard the Reelin & Chillin. It has been hot, however with the sea breeze it's been bearable on morning trips. Afternoon trips aren't to bad, however the rains can run you off the water. There have been a few exceptions with the rain, with it being warm I had a trip where the folks welcomed the rain as it cooled them off. This is fine unless there is lightning along with the rain - then it's off the water in a hurry.
I have had several great trips this past week including a trip with Alan Riggs from Tennessee. We headed out early one morning with redfish being the target. First cast Alan picked up a slot sized red using a large live shrimp for bait. Soon after he was battling a second redfish from the same mangrove shoreline. Things slowed, so after a few minutes of being robbed by pinfish we moved to the next mangrove, and picked up another red. We must have hit this area just at the end of the feed because we couldn't by a bite after the third redfish. We headed to a deep water grass flat in north Sarasota Bay finding plenty of trout. Alan was using a Billy Bay Halo Shrimp - Penny Root beer, under a Billy Bay popping cork. I was using the same shrimp only the Glow color, and free lining. We both couldn't stop catching trout for an hour. With our limit of four per person we headed to some structure looking for a big red to end the day. With two in the box already I told Alan it would be nice if he could catch one to big to keep - over 27 inches. As his luck was holding out he battled a 29 inch redfish using only 10lb test line. After a quick photo and release we headed back to the dock having a great day on the bay.
A couple more trips produced similar results: Tom Longwell with his three sons, and grandson picked up three redfish, two nice trout around 18 inches, and a pompano. Steve Dabek and son Josh had a great day of action with Josh catching twenty fish altogether if I remember correctly. The start of the day was fantastic with Josh catching five redfish. He was just on them, Steve would cast perfectly and couldn't keep the pinfish away, however no matter where Josh cast he seemed to get the reds. He did a great job for a young man using only 8lb test line and catching fish between six and eight pounds. The day ended with three reds in the box, making for a great dinner for the family.
Fishing Mangroves for Redfish
Just a few simple tactics used can produce some great redfish results. First - approach as quite as possible. We were fishing for reds this week in an area where there is boat traffic, so engine noise doesn't bother them. However, if you stop, throw an anchor out, and drop things on the bottom of the boat your going to spook the fish for sure. So keep the noise to a minimum. Second, casting very close to the mangrove is very important. If you don't get within a few inches you can bet your going to get robbed by small snapper or pinfish. Keep the slack out of your line without pulling the bait away from the mangroves. Be ready to reel, these reds can pick up a shrimp and move back under the mangroves before you know it. If this happens most likely your line will be cut off on barnacles attached to the mangrove roots hanging in the water. Once you hook the red and horse him out from the mangroves you can then play him out. I go light on terminal tackle even though a little horsing is necessary. I have 10lb test on the reel, 20lb test mono for leader, a #4 split shot sinker 18 inches up from the #4 Owner Circle MUTU hook. This light set-up keeps your bait lively, and makes for great light tackle action.
Tight Lines & Good Times, Capt. Terry Frankford
Reelin & Chillin Charters Inc.
Alan's 29 inch redfish
Josh used only 8lb test line to catch this red
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.