We had to move around to find fish, however it proved productive
Weather sure has been an issue for the past couple of weeks. Cold fronts, wind, and rain made the beginning of March seem more like February. My client's and I had to really hunt for the fish, however on several trips we found redfish, trout, sheepshead, mangrove snapper, bluefish, spanish mackerel, and a cobia.
Here are a few fish tails from recent trips aboard the Reelin & Chillin.
The Stuber family Denae, Mike, Sam, and Jake cleaned up on Sheepshead using live shrimp for bait. We fished rocks in one of the passes here in Sarasota. We used two number four split-shoot sinkers to keep the bait down in the fast current. A small number four hook with twenty pound test leader for tackle was used to fool the fish into biting. It worked well enough for this family of four to earn dinner.
Kelly, Rob, Lee, and Glen headed out for a half day trip and cleaned up on Spanish Mackerel in the Middle Grounds of Sarasota Bay. Kelly had the first fish on, a nice eighteen inch Spanish then all anglers started catching a few. We started with small short shanked circle hooks, however when we would loose a hook on the sharp teeth of the mackerel we changed out to a 2/0 long shanked hook. We still lost a few hooks, but managed to land several more fish. We then headed to some grass flat areas looking for trout, with not much luck. Kelly did manage to catch one around sixteen inches with a belly swollen with eggs. She decided to release the fish so it could have it's young - way to go Kelly.
On a trip out with Chuck Wehrmann, ten year old son C.J., and Uncle Mike Quinlan we caught plenty of fish, with C.J. showing great angling skills. All anglers caught and released several fish, including Trout, Ladyfish, and C.J.'s first Redfish. The big fish of the day was C.J.'s Cobia he caught using live shrimp. This fish was thirty-two inches long, weighed nine pounds, and C.J. caught it using only ten pound test line - great job C.J.
C.J.'s Cobia - setup if you can:
We were slowly cruising along an area with docks, large boats, and deep water when we spotted four or five Cobia circling around the mooring line of a forty-two foot cruiser. The Cobia weren't going anywhere so we had time to set up - very important because if in the excitement we quickly threw a shrimp with the light tackle the fish could have easily broken off. We still used the ten-pound test line, however I replaced the number four hook with a 2/0 circle hook. Then the leader was changed from twenty-pound mono to forty. This beefed up the tackle just enough to keep the hook from being straightened and the leader from wearing through. Then we checked out what we would be up against after the fish was hooked. The first obstacle was to pull the fish away from the mooring line. We pointed the bow towards the fish and stayed back as far as possible - when the fish took the bait C.J. just hung on while I quickly backed away. Then behind us was a line of crab trap buoys that we had to steer clear of. We were able to pull away from the mooring line and crab buoys into open water so C.J. could then wear down the fish. A little planning got the fish to the boat for a quick photo before a safe release. Plan if you can...
Tight Lines & Good Times, Capt. Terry Frankford
Reelin & Chillin Charters Inc.
C.J. with a 32
Catch of the Day Spanish Mackerel
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.