Sarasota Fla. Report 5/31/98

From: Capt. Bob Smith
Date: 31 May 1998
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Sarasota Florida Fishing Report.

By Capt. Bob Smith May 31, 1998

Tarpon are going to be our number one target fish this month with snook, permit, grouper and snapper piking up the slack. Last week was slow for me as far getting out but the fish are in.

You will need to run along the beach in not more than a 20 foot depth and usually only 200/300 yards off the beach to look for tarpon. You will see the school of tarpon moving along the beach with their backs coming out of the water and most of the time moving fast. It is what we call "Grey-Hounding". The slower the tarpon are moving the better your chances are. Do not run up on them! Position your boat in the path you think the tarpon will take and wait for them to come to you. Of course this is assuming you don't have an electric motor or are able to pole your boat.

Small live crabs (3"-4")are usually but not always the bait of choice. Any large live baitfish will work. Casting lures and fly rods have always been very popular for tarpon but usually not as productive. I like to use at least 30 pound test line on large tarpon to cut down on fighting time and have a better live release. A spinning reel that will hold 250 to 300 yards of 30 pound test line is a good choice for casting the live bait. I use a Bimini twist to double my line. Then I add 6' of 60-80 lb test mono leader with a Blood knot. The 60-80 lb leader will depend on what size blood knot you can cast best through your rod guides. Now comes the part for the tarpon! I like to use at least 150 lb test mono leader for large tarpon and no more than three feet of it. At one end I attach a large swivel and at the other end a 5/0-6/0 tuna hook. These hooks need to be sharpened but are the strongest that I know of. The new hooks on the market are sharper but if they don't penetrate all the way through, they may break at the barb. No matter how sharp a hook may be, there are places it can't go all the way through and then you have a lot more pressure on the bend and point of the hook.

This rig is also good for grouper fishing on the bottom and the grouper are on the bite. I have been finding grouper from 20 feet of water out to past 50 feet, but they have been on the move in and out so you never know where to start. Mangrove snapper have been better in the 50 foot plus areas. You can look for the snook to stack up under some of the docks and the red fish will be under snook. Permit are still on M-3 but they have been spooky. The "M" reefs have plenty of barracuda, amberjacks and jewfish on them.

Enjoy and Protect. http://www.sarasota-fla-fishing.com