Sarasota to Bonita Beach
The weekend weather forecast is looking pretty good with sun and warm temperatures. The Gulf is reading 79 degrees and that means summer is right around the corner. Tides for inshore fishing are going to be a bit tough, so anglers are going to have to play the “chasing the tide game” for a good part of the morning. If the water isn’t moving where you planned to fish, move on to the next stop.
Tarpon is on everyone’s mind and they are in the house and cooperating. Catches of 100 pound plus silver kings have been common in waters about three to five miles offshore. The baits anglers are using run the gamut from live threadfin herrings to pass crabs. I was told by one captain that it’s good idea to take the ‘kitchen sink’ with you because you never know from day to day what the tarpon may be keying on.
It’s not too hard to find the schools. Just look for the gang of offshore boats in an area of about one square mile and you’re all set. On that note, be courteous. Shut the motor down early and either use a trolling motor or let the wind and current push you into position. Keep your eyes open for tarpon rolling nearby and make your way to intercept them. A well placed cast will be rewarded.
Here’s a tackle tip. Tarpon are brutal fish and they are capable of destroying fishing equipment and tackle. But… I found, over the years I spent chasing them, the lighter you can go with leaders the more hookups you’re going to get. In other words, it’s ok to use 80 pound leaders, but I found if I stepped down to 60 and even 40 pound my hookups increased twofold. If you combine that with learning to land a tarpon quickly on lighter tackle you’ll have a lot more photos of boat side fish to show your friends.
Tarpon are also being found inshore. This applies to mostly windy days when Gulf access is undoable. My favorite spots are just inside of the Sanibel Bridge at both the B-Span and C-Span. Also be sure to check out the long cut from Chino Island north to the Clam Beds in Pine Island Sound and the inside areas of both Redfish and Captiva Passes. The poons move around a lot so take your time and use your eyes to find them. Frigate birds soaring over flats are always a good sign.
Redfish are being caught just about everywhere. They are tailing on open flats during low tides and cruising the mangrove shorelines from mid to high tides. Live shrimp will get the job done, but a lot of bigger ones are being caught on live free-lined pinfish.
The spring push to the beaches for spawn is on for snook. They have been very active in the passes and along most beaches. The only problem right now is an abundance of red drift algae along our shorelines. This is an annual event that will pass in the next week or two. This seaweed doesn’t really hurt anything, it just gets in the way of lures and flies casted along the waters edge.
Ditches and Ponds
A rainy day this past Tuesday was just what the doctor ordered to step the bite up in the canals, ditches and ponds. The bass bite was great yesterday and I look for it to improve as the spring and summer showers continue. There are a ton of cichlids and tilapia in the Ten Mile Canal. Fish near the waterfalls created by the weirs and the bite should be almost continuous. Live worms on small hooks under bobbers will keep you busy.
Have a great weekend and please take a kid fishing.
Capt. Rob Modys