Sarasota Fla. Report 4/18/97

From: Capt. Bob Smith
Date: 19 Apr 1998
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Sarasota Florida Fishing Report.

By Capt. Bob Smith April 19, 1998

Permit is the new fish on the block! Large schools of permit have invaded the (M) reefs in about forty feet of water and were on the bite at the first part of the week. Kingfish were also doing well on live bait in the same area, but it all dropped off with the high wind and rough water we have had for most of the week. The permit have averaged about 8-12 pounds and feed on live shrimp or small crabs on a 3/0 hook with mono leader. They will take artificial bait on spin or fly. When it is at its best, you can sight-fish the permit as they move in large schools along the surface of the water, but they don't seem to surface in rough water. I let the boat drift to within casting distance of the school. Then I flip a free-lined live shrimp to the school and get ready to move around the boat because these fish run wide. I recommend nothing less than 12 lb test line because they take out too much line and run laterally breaking the line on any debris in the water.

The kingfish have been best on live sardines that we catch in the same area with gold hook bait rigs. I rig with 6 inches of #6 leader wire and a 5/0 hook with 40 lb mono leader on 12-20 test line, but now with high wind and seas, you will need to troll with artificial baits. Spanish mackerel and cobia are also in, but there is nothing we can do until the wind backs off.

I have fished the bay for most of the week where the wind was still a problem but we stayed a lot drier. Sea trout were the prevalent fish and some were well over 20 inches. Pompano were next best, but very spotty and after that a few Spanish mackerel, small cobia and bluefish were taken off the grass flats. My best spot was Ringling grass flats in the morning before the wind got too strong. After that, we had to move to the west side of the bay where we could only pick a fish up here and there. The fish were on and off the bite, but mostly off during the past week. One drift we would get a fish almost every cast and the next drift we would get zip and it would stay that way for some time.

At this end of the bay, the boats working the docks have produced a few snook and redfish but nothing to brag about. A large live shrimp fished free-lined and allowed to sink has worked best for us on the grass flats. The artificial baits are still working well in the right hands.

Enjoy and Protect!