Gary Lauchlin caught this 32-inch snook in Sarasota Bay while on a charter trip with Capt. Warren Girle.
Anglers salivating for fall kingfish run
Anglers are anxiously preparing for the fall kingfish run. Dropping water temperatures and the influx of bait in the area should draw the kingfish in from the south within a few weeks. Already, there are tons of Spanish mackerel off the beaches, another indication that conditions are favorable for king mackerel.
Capt. Steve Salgado said mangrove snapper and red grouper are close to shore. He said there also are a lot of trout and mangrove snapper in the bay and anglers can catch an early-morning and nighttime bite for snook. He added there are sharks on the south end of Egmont Key, and anglers can hook them using live threadfins or pinfish.
Capt. Mark Howard of SumoTime Fishing Charters said September fishing can present the best action this coast has to offer. The inshore and nearshore bite has been exceptional the past week, he said.
“With huge pods of bait around the Anna Maria area, blacking out the bait well has been no problem,” Howard said. “Shiners have been thick in the Anna Maria Sound area, Key Royale, Terra Ceia and on the beaches right against the shoreline. I have been filling both live wells on my boat with two throws of the net.”
Howard said redfish have been active around oyster bars, potholes, docks and in the mangroves. He suggests anglers chum with shiners to get the redfish to turn on and fire up the bite. He said as the full moon goes away this week, the redfish should feed heavily.
Speckled trout have been steady in 2-8 feet of water, where seagrass beds enable them to stage.
He said the nearshore bite, from a half to 3 miles out, has been on fire with giant schools of Spanish mackerel, bonito, tarpon and a variety of sharks, such as blacktips and spinners.
Rocky Corby from the Anna Maria City Pier said Spanish mackerel are running through the pier in large numbers, and he said the majority are keepers. Anglers have had luck with spoons and white jigs, he said. Corby added that anglers are still hooking some tarpon in the early morning hours.
Erica Webb from the Rod & Reel Pier said fishing has been slow with the exception of a couple black drum.
Capt. Warren Girle said his anglers on Sept. 23 didn’t catch large numbers of redfish, but caught redfish to 28 inches, trout to 24 inches and one 4-foot hammerhead shark in the bay. “Only the second hammerhead I’ve ever caught in the bay,” he said. He also reported ladyfish, Spanish mackerel and bluefish in north Sarasota Bay.
Girle said he netted bait on a flat in front of Longboat Pass and saw a school of redfish that had just come through the pass in skinny water on an incoming tide. “It had to have been a school as big as my living room, about 150-200 fish in 18 inches of water,” he said.
Girle said he cast four times as the redfish were going away from his boat, but he didn’t get any bites. “It was nice to see a brand new group of fish that just came in,” he said. “I’ve never seen that before.”
Capt. Logan Bystrom said he’s been fishing off the beaches and finding a bunch of Spanish mackerel and sharks. He also has been finding schools of redfish and trout over deeper flats in the mornings.
Capt. Dave Pomerleau, “The Mad Snooker,” said the weather is cooling down, which he said raises the oxygen level and makes the fish more active.
“The cooler the water, the more dissolved oxygen it holds,” he said. “With snook in the summertime, you have to take extra care to make sure they survive because there’s not much oxygen in that hot water.”
Pomerleau said he’s been catching an average of 30-40 snook per trip. “They’re saying the snook got wiped out, well, there’s still plenty of snook where I’ve been fishing,” he said. “I can’t say where I’ve been fishing, but I’ve been fishing real close to the Island. We’ve been fishing under the moon and the water’s smooth as glass at night, with a light ripple. Temperatures are comfortable, it’s 75 degrees, you’re not getting sunburn. You’re just enjoying the perfect temperature night air.”
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