Sarasota Fla. Report 7/12/98

From: Capt. Bob Smith
Date: 12 Jul 1998
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Sarasota Florida Fishing Report.

By Capt. Bob Smith July 12, 1998

Permit, snapper and grouper were on the "M" reefs but the wind knocked me off the Gulf for the last few days and Thursday was a shutdown probably due to the approaching weather.

On the bay, the pilchards are just big enough to net and make great snapper bait on the Gulf reefs. The grouper will eat most everything but the small grunts and pinfish will last longer on the hook so as to give the grouper a little more time to get to your bait. I found the permit on "M-3." They were feeding on top and they were not spooky. I was lucky to have some large live shrimp and it was an easy cast to them. The permit we caught were between 10-12 pounds and were able to smoke our light spin tackle. Large live shrimp are almost impossible to find this time of year, but small crabs will work just as well.

Whiting seems to be plentiful along the beaches this year. They like shrimp or sand-fleas so that means you have a good chance of hooking a pompano while fishing for whiting.

Sea trout have been good on the bay and this is the time of year we get the biggest trout. The best bait is live pigfish or grunts fished on a float. It will stay like that throughout the summer until the grunts get too large. Live pilchards (White Bait) are the next choice and are easier to procure with a cast net. Both baits are good for snook and redfish. The largest number of big trout are coming from the north end of the bay from Longbar North but you can find trout throughout the bay.

This year the pompano run has been an unusual phenomenon! We have been able to catch pompano year round with a number of heavy runs throughout the year. In the past, pompano have only run for two weeks in the Spring and two weeks in the Fall and then left the area except for a few strays. Both the scientist from Mote and area fishing guides are puzzled by it, but I am sure the net ban has a lot to do with the pompanos' comeback! Although the pompano are not as thick as they have been, it is not unusual to add a couple to your day's catch. Pompano feed along the beach in the surf, in the passes and all the sandy bottoms around the grass flats. The best bait is sand-fleas! You can catch sand-fleas along the beach at the water's edge. Live shrimp and small crabs are almost as good and you can buy the shrimp at most bait shops. A Pompano jig tipped with a small peace of shrimp or a whole sand-flea works very well. POMPANO DO NOT EAT FISH! Along the surf, they feed better when waves are breaking on the beach and stirring up the crabs. In the passes, they like the water moving and how fast or slow is more important than whether it is going in or out of the bay. Although the movement of water on the flats is subtle, it is still very important as to when and where the fish will feed. Pompano will feed both day and night.

Enjoy and Protect!