Weather Cool Fishing Hot
Windy conditions made for some tough fishing, however with so many barrier islands in the Sarasota area I was able to find cover, and fish. Around northern areas of Siesta Key - south to middle Longboat Key were best during the North West blows. The shores of Sarasota's mainland from south Sarasota to south Bradenton we found calmer waters during the east blows, as well as near shore along the beaches. Snook, redfish, trout, flounder, shark, and spanish mackerel topped the list.
A Fish Tail aboard the Reelin & Chillin
With a low tide, and an easterly wind anglers of the Lakewood Ranch Anglers Club and I headed out Sarasota's Big Pass south to Point of Rocks looking for Spanish Mackerel. Peter Paris, Joe Dovener, and Dick Barrett didn't waste any time getting into the mackerel. Non-stop action for two hours ended with the bite slowing down a little, and the last of twelve wire leaders biting the dust between sharks and mackerel. These anglers caught over thirty-five mackerel, Joe even picked up a nice King Mackerel. A few blacknosed sharks made it to the boat for release as well as several that just couldn't be stopped on light tackle. Joe had some additional luck after moving inshore landing a nice sixteen inch flounder.
Another windy day Alan, Debbie, and Brooke Riggs headed out for an afternoon trip. We hit several locations around Siesta Key finding some small redfish, and snapper. A couple nice trout were landed, however the trout are now out of season, and we did want a little dinner. With the winds gusting at 25mph, and the low tide, things didn't look to good for dinner. I decided to head for a deeper hole adjacent to a large flats area to see if maybe some reds were hanging around. Geez, I'm sorry, I just can't remember exactly were. Anyhow, first Brooke nailed a twenty-six inch red - then another - then another. Alan then landed a few with these two anglers ending up with around a dozen nice reds. They ranged from a couple undersized reds to a couple over sized reds with the rest in the slot. The law says one per person, that's all we kept of course - the rest were safely released.
Captain's Tip - Spanish Mackerel Gear & Rigs
I'm going to give you a run down of how I set up for a mackerel trip. I set up this way for the Spanish mackerel, and any by-catch that might be around like king mackerel, and sharks. You may have different brands, that's fine, I'm just letting you know what I use and why, you can of course adjust any way you wish.
Reel - Okuma Inspira IA 45. Provides a larger spool to hold 150yds of 15lb test line, and still light enough to cast for long lengths of time.
Mono Leader - from the 15lb test line on the reel I tie using the surgeons knot a 4' piece of Berkly Big Game 40lb test mono.
Wire Leader - I make my own wire leader, here's how:
I start with a package of thin wire leader around 39lb test (yes 39 don't ask me why it's not 40). This wire found in your local tackle shop comes in a 200' length. The first thing I do is take the wire out of the package that is coiled up in a ring and cut through it at one spot. Now instead of having one two hundred foot single piece of wire I have a bunch of 20" pieces to make leader with. Saves a lot of time pulling the wire through two or three tie wraps and cutting each one individually. Using the "haywire twist" shown on the back of the package I wrap on a "size five" Fisher 90lb test barrel swivel on one end. On the other end an Eagle Claw 1/0 2X LONG hook. This leader of course gets tied to the 40lb test mono coming from the reel using a uni-knot.
The bait of choice is the scaled sardine - I have been able to net plenty along the beaches close to shore - just look for birds feeding. Live shrimp works also as a second choice.
Now I'm ready for almost anything - plenty of line on the reel for long runs from a surprise king mackerel, little tunny, or small shark. Forty pound test mono to prevent chaffing from the tail and body of these larger fish. A wire leader, and long shanked hook to get past the sharp teeth on these critters. Notice I said "ready for almost anything" this is because often something very large picks up your bait, maybe a blacktip shark or a 40lb smoker king mackerel. This is where you have an anchor with a fender buoy on the end that you can untie quickly and throw over and start chasing the fish all over the Gulf of Mexico. Trust me - it happens - it's a blast - plan for it.
Hope this helps you enjoy a great day on the water, Capt. Terry
Tight Lines & Good Times, Capt. Terry Frankford
Reelin & Chillin Charters Inc.
Brooke nice redfish
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.