Anglers on recent Quiet Waters fishing trips, run out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, found good fishing for snook, reds, and seatrout on both day and night trips. Wind was a real factor for the better part of two weeks, but it finally laid down a bit in recent days. Despite the windy conditions, we enjoyed good shallow water fishing in the waters around Sarasota, FL. We had a good mix of fly fishing and conventional light tackle trips over the past couple weeks with a good mix of anglers.
Snook fishing on the shallow flats and in the back country has been good. We’ve been finding plenty of eager snook around sandbars, potholes and oyster bars. On colder mornings it was common to find snook camouflaged over darker bottom. Keeping it simple with paddletails, spoons, and plugs has worked well. Fly anglers have found success with the floating minnow and the JT clouser minnow.
We’re still having our best numbers on dock lights. That’s especially the case on fly fishing trips. Smaller flies seem to give fly anglers the advantage on dock lights at night. The JT clouser minnow is a simple fly that gets excellent results on dock lights throughout the year. We’ve been using that, combined with a few other glass minnow patterns and a few surface flies.
Fly anglers have been getting plenty of shots at redfish on sight fishing trips during the day and they have also found a few redfish on dock lights at night. Reds have been all over the place in shallow water and they have, for the most part, been eager fish. On spinning tackle, paddletails and the Aquadream spoon did best. The key with shallow water reds, and any shallow water fish, is to deliver and present the fly or lure to them without them knowing you are there. If you can consistently do that, then you will shift the odds more in your favor.
We’re seeing some really big seatrout out there. We’ve found some big trout in potholes, on sandy bars, and in deeper grass as well. Suspending plugs and paddletails on jig heads worked well. For the class-size seatrout, the paddletail is hard to beat. A straight retrieve usually works best, but there are times when they want it bounced off the bottom.
Snook and reds should continue to dominate our shallow water fishing. If you happen to locate a gator trout, it pays to spend a little extra time in that area to the find others that are usually not far away. Water clarity has been excellent and that has made for some excellent sight fishing. It’s a great time to find cobia wandering the flats or the occasional big jack.