From: Capt. Bob Smith
Date: 27 Sep 1998
Remote Name: 18.104.22.168
Sarasota Florida Fishing Report.
By Capt. Bob Smith September 27, 1998
We were lucky this time! Georges is gone and we are left with minimal damage to our coast line. Although taking a boat ride is not an option at this time, we will be back to normal in a few days.
The last day I fished was Wednesday and the weather was great. We fished the bay and found trout, pompano and Spanish mackerel. We had plenty of action using live shrimp on the Ringling grass flats but had a hard time getting a keeper trout. The pompano were jumping all around us but it was very hard to get a hookup that we could keep. I had taken 200 hundred shrimp with us in hopes of catching a few nice pompano, but other fish were biting too fast to give the pompano a chance. Pilchards, "whitebait," worked best for larger trout on Helicopter bar just south of Whale Key. Due to the direction of the wind, anchoring at the west end of the bar on the south side worked very well for trout.
As I was running east from marker 23 along the ICW at the north end of the bay, we found schools of Spanish mackerel feeding on schools of bait-fish. The mackerel were leaping out of the water to catch the very small bait-fish no more than a half inch long. Under the mackerel, large schools of jacks and ladyfish were also feeding. We caught a few nice mackerel by running up on the schools and casting small Diamond jigs using a fast retrieve. I am sure pilchards would have worked if you could have gotten them past the jacks. The mackerel were running up to three pounds. With all the bait on the bay, I am sure the mackerel fishing is going to get much better soon. Spanish mackerel will take both live shrimp and pilchards both free-lined and with a float. It is best not to use steel leader. I use a long shank 4/0 hook "202 Gold", 8 to 12 pound test line with a 20 to 30 pound test mono leader. You will find the mackerel mostly in open water in the passes, on the grass flats and in channels. They will favor different places at different times, so you need to be on the lookout.
Enjoy and Protect!