Sarasota Fla. Report 12/20/98

From: Capt. Bob Smith
Date: 20 Dec 1998
Remote Name:


Sarasota Florida Fishing Report.

By Capt. Bob Smith. December 20, 1998

Although our first winter front dropped in on us this week, we still had some good action on the bay. The redfish are still hot in the north east corner of New Pass and hitting well on live shrimp. It is a very small area that allows no more than two or three boats to be within casting distance at any one time, so you need to get there early. Even if you get there early, a tide change or an increased current could move you off of it. This is characteristic of the redfish feeding habits! One small spot will produce fish after fish but not one bite when fishing five feet to either side. We free-lined large live shrimp using 8 to 12 pound test line rigged with 30 pound mono leader and a 3/0 hook. A small splitshot can be added if the current gets too strong.

On Thursday, we drifted Big Pass with live shrimp on the bottom hoping to find a pompano or flounder, but we found plenty of large ladyfish and landed a 42" cobia instead. The cobia hit just after I had tightened my customer's drag. I had just explained that he needed to fish with a stronger drag in Florida saltwater than what he was accustomed to in the fresh water back home. As I went to help someone else and looked back at him, he was holding on with two hands, the rod was bent in a perfect (L) shape and the reel was screaming. The cobia took half a spool of line on the first run up current. Tom Williams landed his first cobia and did it on 12 pound test line in about 15 minutes and did a good job of it.

I also found that Harts artificial reef in the middle of the bay was very active during the week. The reef is holding a lot of bait fish and we caught grouper, snapper, sheephead, trout and bluefish while drifting the reef. To land the keeper size grouper on this reef, you need to fish with a stout, short line and drift the bait just above the structure with a small weight of a quarter or a half ounce. For most of the other fish, I use no more than 12 pound test line with 30 pound leader.

The grass flats are also producing fish but I did not get to fish them myself. Reports of trout, bluefish, ladyfish and jacks were coming in from the boats that stopped to fish them.

It looks like the warm weather is coming back and if the wind allows it, I will be looking for cobia, grouper and flounder along the beaches on the artificial and natural reefs.

Enjoy and Protect!