Nearshore & Inshore still producing
The fishing remained hot in the Gulf of Mexico, plenty of Spanish Mackerel, King Mackerel, and Little Tunny made lines scream aboard the Reelin & Chillin. Then things changed just after Christmas. The weather was great one day then poor the next. Bait became harder to find, so the switch from scaled sardines (white bait) to live shrimp was made. You could still use a chicken rig in the gulf for big sardines, however the cast netting really slowed for white bait in the Sarasota Bay areas. The Mackerels were still hanging around enjoying the shrimp my client's offered, however they started to slow down.
I decided to keep inshore for the last part of the week and try my luck inside. Things paid off for several trips. We found Spanish Mackerel, Pompano, and Ladyfish in Sarasota's Big Pass. Fishing structure from north Sarasota Bay to the Robert's Bay area we found Redfish, Sheepshead, and Mangrove Snapper.
Just a quick review of a few trips aboard the Reelin & Chillin this week:
There are so many trips booked this time of year that I don't have enough space to give details on all the Mackerel catching trips. It went like this: Head out in the morning, catch twenty or thirty Mackerel, come back in at noon. Head out for the afternoon, catch twenty or thirty Mackerel, come back at four. Yes, there were a couple trips that a little surprise was enjoyed like when Tyson Paradis caught a twenty-seven inch Cobia on fifteen pound test line. And like when Kayla Kerns hooked into a Little Tunny on lite-tackle causing me to ditch the anchor and chase her fish for fifteen minutes before she landed it. However, all in all it was a Big Mackerel attack.
The Ibbott's Dave, Ryan, Brock, and Karla had a great Redfish day, as long as you weren't looking for dinner that is. Reason, most fish caught were released because they were over the twenty-seven inch slot. It doesn't get better using lite-tackle with only ten-pound test line catching and releasing these big fish. The day started with Karla landing a twenty-eight inch Red. Then Dave picked up two, the first being twenty-eight inches and the second thirty-one inches. Brock picked up the last one at twenty-nine inches. Several broke off under docks, and a couple were lost at the boat. All fish were handled carefully for a photo and then quickly released alive and well. Not a bad day of angling, only one was caught in the slot, not enough for dinner, however these anglers still deserve a steak on the grill for a job well done.
What's to come:
I'm really looking forward to the Sheepshead coming in. I have been checking out my favorite spots and they are starting to arrive. I have already caught several, some around docks inshore and a couple on nearshore reefs about a mile out in the Gulf. I know there are still Redfish around and some big ones at that. Fishing structure with live shrimp and keeping eyes peeled for schools on the grass flats is my method for catching a few. I still think Mackerel will be around here and there, the Ringling Causeway Bridge would be a great location to check out every now and then. Pompano are not the easiest species to find, however I know they are now around and should be for a little while.
Tight Lines & Good Times, Capt. Terry Frankford
Reelin & Chillin Charters Inc.
Kayla Kerns with a Little Tunny
Karla with a 28
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.