From: Capt. Bob Smith
Date: 28 Oct 1998
Remote Name: 188.8.131.52
Sarasota Florida Fishing Report.
By Capt. Bob Smith October 28, 1998
Although the wind has blown out of the NE at 20 mph plus for the past week, we have had some great fishing along the coast. By Monday morning the kingfish action had started to dwindle. As we started out of New Pass Monday morning, I noticed some of the larger charter boats trolling north of the pass in less than 20 feet of water. We could see some Spanish mackerel being caught and hear some talk of kings on the VHF. We quickly found the bait close to the bell buoy and managed to put several greenbacks in the live well. I opted to head south about a 1/4 mile south of the bell where I had been getting my king action for the past week. I put the boat in idle speed, just enough to swim the baits along. I put two 7' spinning rods out with 20 pound test line, 50 pound mono leader, 6" steel leader and a 5/0 hook. We had just gotten it all together when we got a ferocious hit on the starboard rod. The rod was bent at 90 degrees and the Penn 750 was screaming off line. My two passengers were struggling hard to get the rod out of the rod holder while I was bringing in the second line so I could maneuver the boat. By the time they got the rod out, I could see that more than half of the line was gone and still going. I then got a quick glimpse of a fish jumping more than 150 yards from the boat. It was a forward jump as the fish was still running. I did not get a good look, but I felt it may not be a king or it was the biggest king I ever hooked. I started to chase the fish just fast enough to get back some of the line and then the fish made a big and famous jump. A tarpon, to our surprise, had taken our kingfish bait. Tony had a hard fight for an hour and a half as we maneuvered around the numerous crab traps but he finely succeeded in landing the 5'6" tarpon. After some quick picture taking we had a live release. Tony is from England and was the guest of Bill Kazimir from NJ. Tony, at age 65 had only fished for roach in England or what we might call a large freshwater shiner. This was his fish of a lifetime and he handled it like a pro with very little coaching from me.
Well you don't want to be looking for more tarpon at this time of year, but the good news is that we have plenty of keeper size grouper on the inshore reefs along with schools of cobia. Using live pinfish, greenbacks and large sardines, we found plenty of gag grouper, jewfish, cobia and sharks in 18 to 30 feet of water. I would recommend at least 30 pound test line when fishing for grouper. Live shrimp have produced some mangrove snapper but there was a lot of competition from the trigger fish. The bottom fishing has also been very good farther offshore but with the high winds it has been rough and why run over fish to catch fish. With a NE to E wind, the water has been comfortable out to about three miles. Inshore the action has been good for redfish along Longbar at the north end of the bay using pinfish and live shrimp. The bay and beach have been full of jack for some fast action. There have been some trout, mackerel and pompano on the grass flats but that has been slow.
To pull grouper out of the structure, you need to lock your drag and use heavy leader but if you hook a large cobia, you need to quickly loosen your drag and let the fish run. When anchored, you can also put a live bait out the back and on a balloon for cobia and king. Cobia will take a bait off the bottom as well as off the top and always look for them to follow other hooked fish coming into the boat.
Enjoy and Protect!