From: Capt. Bob Smith
Date: 31 Jan 1999
Remote Name: 22.214.171.124
January 31, 1999 Sarasota Fishing Report
By Capt. Bob Smith
Except for a few afternoons on the bay, the fishing has been excellent both offshore and inshore. Spotted seatrout have been plentiful in the channel north of Ringling Causeway and Plymouth Harbor. Large live shrimp drifted along the grassy edges has produced some of the largest trout. Pompano and bluefish have frequented the passes and we also found a few on the grass flats. Although I use mostly live shrimp to give my clients the edge, artificial lures are working well in the right hands. Soft baits, spoons, jigs and plugs have been taking fish on a regular basis. Redfish are also on the bite around the docks and the North Bay area, Longbar.
Offshore fishing has produced Grouper, snapper, flounder, sheephead, cobia and a few tripletail. Fishing the natural bottom in forty to sixty feet of water has been good to excellent at times. The Icebox area off of Venice to the Cuda Hole area off of Sarasota has held grouper to 15 pounds and Mangrove snapper over 5 pounds. Live shrimp, pinfish, grunts and sardines fished on the bottom has worked well. Discreet chumming adds to the action but don't over do it unless you're looking for grunts and triggers. Closer to shore in 20 to 30 feet of water, we found smaller snapper and grouper with a few nice keepers. The artificial reefs held mostly sheephead and an occasional cobia. Flounder could be found most any place we fished. Check the crab trap floats for tripletail and if you see one, flip it a live shrimp on a free line.
For those who would like to try sheephead fishing, you can find the largest fish along the coast on the artificial reefs, up to 8 and 10 ponders. Use a strong hook. I like the 318 live bait hook in a 2/0 or 3/0 size. Sheephead feed on shrimp, crabs, clams, and sea worms (Crustaceans).
Snapper and grouper will take cut bait, but live bait will give you an edge if it is the right size. Chumming is excellent but you need to know how much and how often to chum. Practice and experimenting is your best teacher for this.
Enjoy and Protect.