Fishing this past week out of Island Discount Tackle has been productive and action-packed. Inshore fishing for snook, speckled trout and redfish has provided plenty of rod-bending action with redfish and speckled trout fillets coming to the dinner party.
Snook fishing is heating up as they make their way to the passes and the beach preparing for the summer spawn. My bait of choice has been a lively shiner rigged on a 30-pound flourocarbon leader with a 1/0 hook. On my recent charters, my clients have enjoyed the explosion of the snook knocking the shiners out of the water. Please remember snook season closed May 1, so it is strictly catch and release for these silver line siders.
Redfishing has been good with some big oversized bruisers chewing in 2 feet of water and tight to the mangroves. Rigging a lively shiner with a popping cork and making it gurgle will draw the strikes when the water is gin clear. Look for the reds to cruise the oyster bars and potholes along mangrove shorelines.
Looking forward, the tides will remain strong for the coming week, helping to fire up fishing action around Manatee County. Be at your favorite fishing hole when the tidal flow is strongest to increase your chances of having that special day on the water. Until next time, learn to keep the slack out of your line and feel the thump of the predator inhaling your bait.
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Capt. Mark Howard
Sumotime Fishing Charters
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 tarpon in the coastal gulf and trout and bluefish in Sarasota Bay on flies during the week of April 27. With water temperatures above 80 degrees before the front, tarpon showed up in good numbers in the coastal gulf as we approached a full moon on Monday.
Frank Zaffino, from Rochester, N.Y., fished for tarpon on the coastal gulf a couple of days with me early in the week. Our schedule had to be adjusted by moving forward a day due an approaching front, which turned out to be a good thing. He had several shots, a couple of eats and caught and released an estimated 90-pound tarpon on a fly on April 27. The fish battled him hard, jumping numerous times before coming to the boat. Our second day was cut short by rain, lightning and rough sea conditions, and the third day had to be canceled altogether because of a strong west wind.
Fly anglers Seth Koch, from Pennsylvania, and Bill Miller, from Mississippi, fished deep grass flats on both sides of Sarasota Bay with me on May 1. They caught and released trout and bluefish on Ultra Hair Clouser flies fished on sink tip fly lines.
Sean Sherman and his wife, Rachel, from New York City, fished for tarpon with me on May 2. They had numerous shots at schools of tarpon, as well as singles and doubles, with flies, DOA Baitbusters and 4-inch CAL shad tails. Sean hooked up with a fish on a fly at the tail end of a large school and successfully fought the fish to the boat. A great job!
Tarpon fishing in the coastal gulf should be a good option when sea conditions are good. Look for reds, snook, flounder and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats and edges of bars. You may also find trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, flounder or pompano on deep grass flats, particularly close to passes.
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.