From: Capt. Bob Smith
Date: 02 Jul 1998
Remote Name: 18.104.22.168
Sarasota Florida Fishing Report.
By Capt. Bob Smith July 2, 1998
The "M" reefs are still holding plenty of fish! As long as you can catch the bait, you can catch fish but the choppy days can be a problem. Start looking for bait as soon as you get in the Pass, especially if the wind is up a little. The bait can get really spooky on the reefs. There are still a few nice kingfish coming in and lots of barracuda and amberjack. We are still getting a few big mangrove snapper and gag grouper that is if the big jewfish will let you have them :). Top water tube lures in light red or orange have been a hot color for the cuda.
To fish the reef with free-lined live sardines, greenbacks and pilchards on top, I use 15 to 20 pound test line and only run at idle speed when pulling the bait. The further back you drop the bait, the deeper it will run. I never use pinfish or grunts for this. Sometimes I do add a small lead, but this is rarely needed. The best method is to stop the boat over the reef. Then get a lively bait to run from the boat with an open bail or free spool. This is deadly if the bait is hot and you only get to do this one or two times before the bait is played out. I use four feet of 40# mono leader, six inches of #6 steel wire and a 5/0 hook. If the fish are not on the bite, I will take the steel off and hope for a lip hookup. This may get them feeding and then you can go back to the 6 inch steel leader. Pulling a heavy line makes your bait go to the surface due to the line resistance. You will see some larger charter boats using heavier line to cut back on customer screw-ups :).
You may find better grouper action fishing in 70 to 80 feet of water as they are starting to move out to deeper water. The Swiss Cheese is a good place to start but don't forget the Hopper. You can find out how to fish for grouper on my web site under Tackle n' Tails.
Tarpon are still along the beach. Good luck! Large trout, pompano, redfish, small snapper and snook are some of the fish coming off the bay. Small pigfish fished with a float is still best for the big trout and most other fish except pompano. You need sand-fleas, shrimp or jigs for pompano.
For instructions on how to make or where to buy a gold hook rig for catching bait, you can go to Tackle & Tails on my web site. This is something you need to know in order to produce more fish offshore and anyone can do it.
Enjoy and Protect.