From: Capt. Bob Smith
Date: 31 Aug 1998
Remote Name: 126.96.36.199
Sarasota Florida Fishing Report.
By Capt. Bob Smith August 31, 1998
Throughout this past week, pompano has been the best bet in Big Pass. You probably won't need to make room in the freezer but you will have a very good chance of getting enough for dinner. You can find them on both tides, but I know the mornings have been working as long as there has been some current. The pompano have been moving around the pass and you may need to move around to find them. When you do find them, keep working the same spot over and over until they move. Watch the other boats to see if they have found any.
We are using mostly 3/8th ounce yellow pompano jigs and Wiggle jigs. You can make your regular jigs better for pompano by cutting back the hairs so that they are no longer than the bend of the hook. White and pink will work but yellow and chartreuse seem to work the best. The best bait by far is live sand-fleas but you need to catch them along the surf. Shrimp is the next best bait and you can buy those.
When fishing live bait in the pass for pompano, I add a 1/4 ounce split shot just above the eye of the hook and bounce it along the bottom. You don't need to use a jig with sand-fleas but it is the hottest combo when fishing the pass. When tipping jigs with shrimp I only use a very small peace of shrimp so that it does not slow down the dropping of the jig. Jigs need to hit the bottom hard and kick up a puff of sand to simulate a crab digging in. That is why you need short hairs on a jig. In fact nylon bristle is best because it has less resistance than hair or feathers. Sand-fleas have very little resistance due to their shape and work well whole on a jig.
The next best fish that is biting well at this time is mangrove snapper. Mangrove snapper love a good wreck! Unlike grouper, snapper prefers the wrecks and artificial reefs to natural hard bottom. I don't mean to say you can't catch both in both places, but the probabilities for snapper are better on the reefs. Small live bait like large shrimp and whitebait work best but snapper will readily take fresh-cut bait and dead shrimp. There are plenty of snappers on the bay and offshore at the 40 feet plus reefs. The snapper are bigger offshore but light tackle with ½ to 1 ounce of lead will work best. That is, if nothing eats them on the way up:).
Enjoy and Protect.