From: Capt. Bob Smith
Date: 04 Dec 1998
Remote Name: 220.127.116.11
Sarasota Florida Fishing Report December 4, 1998 By Capt. Bob Smith
It has been a great week for fishing along the beach with cobia, Spanish mackerel, flounder and some gag grouper. The fish have moved in and out of the artificial reefs located in 18 to 30 feet of water so you need to have a little patience during the slack time. Some boats found as many as 30 cobia coming up to them at one time. We have been anchoring on the reefs and fishing the bottom with large live shrimp using only a 1/4 oz split shot, 50 pound mono leader and 3/0 to 5/0 hook. 12 to 20 pound test line will cover most of the fish but putting down a big rod baited with a large grunt or pinfish may get some serous results. When the Spanish mackerel show up, you will want to free-line your bait or use a jig. Live pilchards have been best for the mackerel but are hard to find. The live shrimp or jigs have been working well enough. Bull redfish is in the same area and taking the same bait as the cobia and has been up to 30 pounds. Some of the other fish we have been catching around the reefs are flounder to 3 pounds, small snapper and some keeper gag grouper.
Kingfish are still being caught in 50 feet of water but have slowed down. Barracuda are plentiful and the bottom fishing is OK, but why run over fish to catch fish.
Pompano are hitting in Big Pass, but not all the time and you need to make sure the tide is moving. Drift the pass and fish the bottom with live shrimp, sand-fleas or bounce a yellow jig on the bottom. Along with the pompano, you will find plenty of jacks, ladyfish, some mackerel and small bluefish.
The Gulf has been beautiful so I have not fished much on the bay lately, but I see plenty of action on my way in and out plus my VHF keeps me undated. We are having some great fishing now but it is not 24 hours a day and stops as fast as it starts.
I use a very tight drag when fishing the bottom so that I can keep the grouper out of the structure. If you think you have a cobia on, you need to back off your drag because a cobia needs to run. One way to tell if you have a grouper or cobia is that the grouper will pull straight down and other fish like a cobia will start to pull more laterally. This is the time you need to back off your drag. Cobia are strong and long-lasting fish, so you need to play this fish. Most are lost at the boat because people try to boat them too early. Cobia have pulled a gaff or two out of my hands over the years :). I find a large salmon style net works best for fish up to forty or fifty pounds.
Enjoy and Protect!