Finally the fish at Lake Manatee seem to be getting hungry. They are starting to bite a little better this week than they have in the past month.
Mind you, they are not on fire by any means, and the bite seems to be much better early in the morning and tapers off as the sun gets up and things warm up. But at least they are biting. The crappie spawn is playing itself out as about half the fish we are cleaning have dropped their eggs. As the spawn comes to an end, the fishing should get better.
Bass are feeding heavy right now, getting ready for spawning time in March and April, and now’s a good time to catch good numbers of these fish. Catfish are biting good right now also with the waters starting to warm up.
I want to mention again the Josh Rodgers and Brett Wagner Memorial Bass Tournament happening March 4, I’ve had some calls about motor restrictions on Lake Manatee. Lake Manatee has A 20-horsepower motor limit. This means you can only run a motor up to 20 h.p., you can still fish Lake Manatee if you have a motor larger than 20 h.p. but you must use you’re trolling motor only. I have a 70-horsepower motor on my 24-foot pontoon boat and use my trolling motor on my charters and I can cover the whole lake with no problem. For those of you with larger boats like mine, Lake Manatee has a beautiful boat ramp that is as nice as any ramp in Manatee County, and I’ve been told they are waving their ramp fee for anyone fishing this tournament.
So there are no excuses for fishermen not to fish this tournament. Saltwater and freshwater fisherman alike can fish with every penny going to the families of the two young men who died in a tragic accident. Info on this tournament can be had by calling Britton Couch at 941-685-2426 or Wes Wildman at 941-322-4108 between 5 and 8 p.m. or visit the Josh Rodgers and Brett Wagner Memorial Bass Tournament Facebook page. Thanks, fishermen, for supporting this worthwhile event.
Capt. Mike Senecal
The cold front that managed to move through the area over last weekend did cool the water back down to around 63 degrees. With the colder water temperature, the bite seemed to slow down a little also in the flats early in the week, but by Wednesday the fish were eating again, aggressive on white bait caught at the Skyway bridge.
Our old friend the trout made a nice comeback, with our biggest being 27 inches and several more than 20 inches that were caught and released. We also caught three nice redfish, ranging from 19 to 25 inches, mixed in just for fun. I had an amazing time fishing with my son, Jeff, and grandson, Carson. Again, shiners free-lined on the edge of a grass flat in Terra Ceia Bay did the trick for us.
Just remember, it doesn’t matter if you only have two or three hours to fish, we were able to do all this in about an hour after catching our bait. May I suggest that you fish moving water, tide coming in or out fast will make a big difference. Till next week.
Capt. Arthur Weaver
Anglers fishing with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released trout, reds and snook on flies and jigs during the week of Feb. 6.
Fishing should be better in the afternoon this week due to better tides and warmer water. Fishing protected, shallow grass flats for reds and trout on sunny afternoons and deep grass flats for trout, Spanish mackerel, blues and pompano should be good options. Catch and release night snook fishing in the ICW should also be good.
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service Inc.