Sarasota, Florida Fishing
Last year I got to spend some time fishing Sarasota, Florida specifically while fishing a Tampa area tournament series. It was the one day my local partner couldn’t make it, so I was off to fish on my own – no scouting, and no idea. I sat in a hotel room the night before studying Google maps – made a plan and did a pre-dawn roll out.
As you can tell, I am rolling in a kayak. But I will get to a funny sort of crossover with some boats during this day. So, to start my day I head out of a little side road dirt ramp and wiggle my way into a dock light area as I had pre planned during my Google map raid the night before. Turns out, this stretch of Sarasota, Florida folks isn’t too keen on anyone fishing their channels – was quite a bummer. Green lights and top water explosions down each. So, instead, I sat outside of the forward facing homes in a channel, that was backed by some really skinny stuff. Less than a foot of grass. I figured, between a grass flat in a channel shooting my line towards the dock lights shouldn’t be a bad plan – blah! nothing.
But I was so focused on slow fishing this short stretch that by the time I hit the first pocket in the bay, the sun had cracked. I found myself in a cool little shallow water pocket, but it was so shallow the kayak was scrubbing bottom. I back out and skirt the edge when I see this mad rush of pushes raid the same flat. I am thinking to myself – What is swimming in 2 inches of water!
Well, whatever it is sure isn’t walking, so I hard paddle my way to come up behind them in the same route I saw them take, low and behold, a 1 foot deep by 2 foot wide channel goes into this thing. But it also turns out, it’s a one way channel, and now I am sitting in it – like a cork on an erupting champagne bottle. At this point I see the golden backs of a Redfish school aggressively feeding in the morning light. I get a grin ear to ear and skyrocket that Zara Spook over the top. Twitch, Twitch, BANG – Redfish on.
I get him back, he is slot sized, but at this point I have seen the Bulls, they are in there. I quickly release him again, cast over the top – Twitch, Twitch, BANG! Another Red, but back in the slot. Another fast release and a final rocket launch – this cork is coming unscrewed. Twitch, Twitch, BANG! – SPLASH! SPLASH! SPLASH! – SNOOOK! Heck yeah, the sun hasn’t even shown itself. I got two of 3 in the books and man is this looking good. But that Snook gave them all the heads up and they roll out. I am a little disappointed the Bull Red’s never hit, but man – you couldn’t get the lure in the water more than 2 seconds. That’s awesome.
At this point, they have moved into the open bay – We are looking at 2-3 feet of water across with grass. The wind/tide combo is moving me right along the Mangroves – So, I let it roll. Maybe 30 minutes into this drift work, of course seeing the Red’s just over there, I told myself, stick to the drift. At this point I get an over slot Seatrout – my slam complete. Of all the tourney stops in that series, that Sarasota, Florida stop was my only slam of the entire year. And it was accomplished by 830 a.m. That’s saying something for this fishery.
To continue – I ended up drifting about 200 yards from the mangrove line. At which point I see boat after boat lined up in the Mangroves casting out. These guys were on top of eachother. Oh yeah, it’s the IFA Redfish series. Well, as I ran into that scene, I look down into a pocket – a good sized Red eating. I drop a paddle tail, and BANG – Fish on. I then realize they are all over here. I drop an anchor, and finish my day with Redfish after Redfish. The next day I heard the IFA guys didn’t see any? I responded with, “They didn’t move, at all, for the 4 hours I saw them.” I guess the thought of losing a spot in the mangroves outweighed looking for fish. However, for that group of 20 or so boats, they were 200 yards or so too far back – I should have waved them over.
Back to the point – Sarasota Florida Fishing is just excellent. I ventured back and got my upper/just over slot Red the next week. Of course, that wasn’t for tourney time.
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