Sarasota Fla. Report 7/10/99

From: Capt. Bob Smith
Date: 11 Jul 1999
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July 10, 1999

Sarasota Florida Fishing

By Capt. Bob Smith

Offshore fishing was very good all week but not always easy. We found plenty of little tunny, barracuda, some kingfish and very large Spanish mackerel on "M3". The hard part was catching bait. If you could catch a herring or sardine and free-line it out, you would soon have a fish on. We found most of our bait on the way out but they were in small schools and moving fast. As the week went on, we found them getting closer to the beach and today we hit the jackpot.

I had Albert Jeffers and his wife on board this morning. Al said he would prefer bottom fishing on the natural reefs for grouper and snapper. I was able to get plenty of large Gulf shrimp from the bait shop and they are usually hard to find this time of year so I felt we had a good chance for snapper. As we left New Pass, I could see some boats catching bait just north of the bell buoy. We went over and found acres of bait, mostly herring with some sardines and pilchards. It took no time at all to catch all we needed using the gold hook rigs. We went to a ledge that I call Hope. Hope is in 40' of water and about 6 miles offshore at 240 degrees. There are plenty of ledges in this area that will hold fish. Knowing the exact spot is not necessary. We anchored over the ledge drop-off. Al used an open face reel with 20-pound test line. I rigged it with a 60-pound mono leader, 3/4-ounce lead and 7/0 hook. Al had no trouble getting his limit of gag and red grouper and released many fish. The fish ran up to about 10 pounds and inhaled the live baitfish we had caught. The shrimp did not produce any keeper grouper or snapper.

This is the time of year to get some good bottom fishing in but you need to catch the live bait for the best results. A bottom recorder and marker buoys are also needed for better results. At least take a marker buoy along so you can drift and mark the spot where you hook a fish and go back to it. Jewfish are also on the artificial reefs and large ledges and will quickly eat a nice size snapper or small grouper before you can get it up.

Enjoy and Protect