Sarasota Fla. Report 3/1/99

From: Capt. Bob Smith
Date: 03 Mar 1999
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March 1, 1999. Sarasota Florida Fishing Report

By Capt. Bob Smith

Offshore and inshore fishing has been excellent! New Pass inlet has been holding pompano, permit, flounder and a few bluefish for the last two weeks. Drifting the pass and bouncing the bottom with yellow jigs tipped with shrimp or sand fleas has been very productive most of the time. Of course there are times when it slows down, but if you come back in an hour or so, you may find them going full blast. Some of the permit have been over 5 pounds, so hang on to your ultra lights.

We have found most of our large sea trout (over 20 inches) north of Country Club Shores. We drifted along the edge of the sand bar fishing the grass with live shrimp. This area was best with a north to northwest wind and remained good with winds over 20 knots and two-foot seas. The largest trout was 26 inches. Whiting are also plentiful in the passes and along the beach.

We did not need to go offshore very far last Saturday to find some very good fishing. Flounder, gag grouper, cobia, hogfish, snapper and plenty of sheephead were on the bite. Fishing within 3 miles off the beach and in 25 feet of water, we fished on the bottom with large live shrimp. Pinfish and grunts would also work but large live shrimp give a larger variety of fish. Flounder were the most prevalent and went up three pounds. Some of the grouper were up to 8 pounds. The mangrove snapper were small but keeper size and the cobia will show up when they feel like it. On Saturday, we did not put any in the boat but we were blasted good. They need to win sometimes too.

Further offshore on the "M" reefs in 50 to 60 feet of water, you can find larger mangrove snapper with an average of two to three pounds each and an occasional keeper grouper. "M-6" has been hot! Kingfish have been in but not very plentiful but it will not be long. You can also find jacks and barracuda on the "M" reefs. Most of the Gulf is good now and you can find fish in all of the regular spots. We just need the weather to hold so that we can get to them, but it is March.

When fishing the "I" reefs that are in 20 to 30 feet of water, use only a to 3/8 ounce of lead to fish the bottom. Never cast out but fish straight down and just off the bottom. This will save you many rigs and get more fish in the boat instead of losing them in the structure. The average hook size is 3/0 and leader size is 30 to 60 pound mono.

Enjoy and Protect!