Sarasota Fla. Report 7/19/98

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

July 19, 1998

By Capt. Bob Smith.

This last week was unpredictable! Although we had some great fishing, we also had some real dead spots that would last for most of the trip. Yes! We caught snook, redfish, and pompano this week and sometimes back to back, but mostly there was plenty of time to catch your breath between fish :). Trout fishing has been more productive, especially north of Sarasota Bay above Long Bar and also east of the ICW. Live grunts and white bait will work the best and can be caught with a cast net. Harts Landings bait shop has had a good supply of small grunts on hand but the white bait you will need to catch yourself.

This is the normal Summer pattern on the bay. The shrimp are too small to be of much good other than fishing for whiting or tipping your jigs. For trout, I use a popping cork, 30 pound leader and a 3/0 hook with a live grunt for bait. You need to adjust the cork so that your bait will swim just above the grass and not be able to hide in it. Although fishing for trout with cork and grunt is probably the most productive, it is not as easy as it sounds.

When fishing with cork and grunt, I use a rod at least 7' long and rated for about 12# test line. You need this for better casting of a long rig (cork to bait is sometimes 4' feet) and setting the hook harder. After I cast the bait out, I leave the line slack except when popping the cork and then I put the slack back in the line. When a fish takes your cork under, you need to give it a 10 to 15 count before you do anything and then reel as fast as you can to bring the slack line. Only when you feel the full wight of the fish do you set the hook. Set it hard and keep reeling to keep the line tight. Due to the grunts being a larger and firmer bait plus the resistance from the popping corks, it will require you to set the hook very hard. This is why it is difficult to accomplish this with a very light or short rod. Set the hook only once and keep a tight line but remember that trout have a soft mouth, so you need a smooth slow retrieve for the big ones. When I use live white bait or shrimp for trout, I like to free-line the bait and use a lighter rod.

Most of the action offshore has been from about the 50 foot depth out to the 80 foot depth. This has been far enough to put some nice grouper and snapper in the boat. The longer runs out to blue water would be worthwhile and are producing dolphin and an occasional wahoo. Remember that the small dolphin are excellent bait for wahoo and sailfish. The weather has been unstable for most of the past week but we have had a few good days to get out to the blue water.

Most of the larger bait fish have been out at the fifty foot depth around M-7. I found large schools of green backs just before M-7 and large white bait mixed with sardines just west of the reef. The reefs have a lot of cuda on them but a few kingfish are still being caught.

Enjoy and Protect.