The story of fishing the last couple of weeks as everyone knows has been the weather. High winds and strong fronts blowing through the area have made getting on the water difficult.
Last weekend and this week, we have been getting some fishable weather, and the bite at Lake Manatee for crappie has stayed steady with good catches of quality fish each day. Lots of Crappie in the 12- to 14-inch range and the occasional 15-incher have come aboard for some solid fillets.
I had a great trip out on Wednesday with a group of youngsters in their 70s. Al, Ralph, Harry and "O" from Piney Point subdivision caught a nice batch of crappie with beautiful weather and lots of laughs. These friendships I make on these trips make me really happy. I have the privilege to be able to take great people out fishing.
With water temperatures fluctuating from the high 50s to the high 60s, it is imperative to slow everything down to a crawl with trolling speeds of ½ mph and less. Ron's Fish Bites in colors of hot pink and white worked really well this week. With the spawn right around the corner in January and February, the bigger females are going to start moving to their spawning areas, and they will become hard to catch with the smaller males being the bulk of our catch.
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A little reminder to support The Toys For Tots party at Lake Manatee Fish Camp on from 1-6 p.m. Sunday. Let's all come together for this very worthwhile event to help the less fortunate at this festive time of year. I have donated a four-hour crappie trip for auction, and there will be many other items for auction with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Toys For Tots. Any other fishing guides in the area who can find it in their hearts to donate a trip for the good of the needy, I'm sure Lake Manatee Fish Camp would be happy to accept.
Capt. Mike Senecal
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, snook and redfish in Gasparilla Sound on CAL jigs with shad tails and flies with me during the week of Nov. 24.
Mike Penny, from Atlanta, and his guest, Jim, from Texas, and Chip Bates, from Connecticut, fished Gasparilla Sound near Boca Grande on a couple of different trips with me. The best trip was with Mike and Jim on Nov. 24 before conditions deteriorated. They caught and released about a dozen trout, a couple of snook and a red on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos to complete their slam.
Catch-and-release night snook fishing in the ICW is a good option now. Fish peak tidal flows for the best action. Trout, blues, flounder and more should also be good options on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Look for reds and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats. Tripletail should also be a good option in the coastal gulf depending on conditions. Look for them on crab trap buoys.
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.