Crappie fishing at Lake Manatee continues to produce some nice catches of big slabs. Water temperatures are climbing back up into the upper 60s, and this is making the fish more active as the major spawn approaches.
The crappie are definitely on the move, so some days we are hunting for fish in different areas from where we were catching them just days before. Ron's Fish Bite jigs in white, blue and hot pink tipped with a good lively minnow have been working well for us. The bass also have been hitting with the cooler water temperatures.
With water temperatures up, I've taken a couple of saltwater trips out in the past couple of weeks also. We were able to catch some nice trout and a few snook with some ladyfish thrown in to keep the kids happy. There is still some whitebait around, and the snook and trout have been happy to feed on them. Chumming with the whitebait has helped stimulate the bite also.
Capt. Mike Senecal
Pontoon Boat Charters.com
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, Spanish mackerel, pompano, flounder and bluefish on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay on flies and CAL jigs with shad tails during the week of Dec. 22.
Keith McClintock, son-in-law Rick Anderson and grandson Garrett Anderson, all from Illinois, fished deep grass flats on the west side of Sarasota Bay with me on Dec. 22. They caught and released trout, ladyfish and a flounder on CAL jigs with shad tails. Alan Sugar, from Michigan, fished the same areas with me on Dec. 23 and caught and released trout and ladyfish on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly fished on a sink tip fly line.
The trip on Dec. 24 was rescheduled due to wind gusting above 20 mph as a front passed through. Action improved toward the end of the week following the front. Ian Mceachern, from Sarasota, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Dec. 26. We fished deep grass flats on both sides of the bay, where he caught and released trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and ladyfish on an Ultra Hair Clouser.
Lane Thurgood, from Virginia, and daughters Bella and Beatrice fished the same areas with me on Dec. 27. Lane fly fished while the girls used spinning tackle. They had good action, catching six species of fish, including trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, pompano, ladyfish and a small gag grouper on Ultra Hair Clouser flies and CAL jigs with shad tails.
Trout, blues, Spanish mackerel, pompano and more should be good options on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Look for reds and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats and edges of bars. Tripletail and false albacore should be good options in the coastal gulf depending on conditions. Look for albies feeding near the surface and tripletail around crab trap buoys. Catch-and-release night snook fishing in the ICW also is a good option now. Fish peak tidal flows for the best action.
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.