Anglers on recent Quiet Waters fishing trips fished waters from Sarasota north to Tampa Bay during the day and fished waters as far south as Venice during dock light trips at night. We’ve enjoyed a warm stretch of weather starting in the middle of February. Water temperatures are right where the fish like them and snook and redfish have been active.
We’ve done a fair amount of dock light fishing trips this month and the action has been consistent. We’ve run night trips as far south as Nokomis/Venice and as far north as Lower Tampa Bay. We are mainly catching snook, with the occasional redfish mixed in.
Longer day trips have been run in Lower Tampa Bay and as far south as Placida, just north of Charlotte Harbor. Those trips have been focused primarily on snook and redfish. We’re running our shorter half day trips in Sarasota Bay. Those trips tended to produce mostly seatrout, mackerel, and other species found on the deep grass.
There is still red tide present in the Gulf. When it comes inshore, the areas impacted have been limited. The Nokomis/Venice area has been intermittently impacted and we’ve moved a few night dock light trips up to Sarasota and even to Bradenton on a few occasions. Overall, we’ve been able to find plenty of places to fish away from areas impacted by red tide.
We targeted snook during day and night trips. During the day, we found snook in a variety of locations. Creeks, Mangrove edges, and on points or near holes in the open flats. Fly anglers did well using the bigly floating minnow and EP baitfish patterns. Paddle tails on jig heads and shrimp imitations worked the best for anglers using light tackle spinning gear.
Dock light fishing has been steady. Smaller flies are still out-fishing artificial lures. Dock lights in areas with tidal current have been the most productive places to fish. We’ve enjoyed some very productive evenings fishing dock lights. The warmer weather has fired up the snook.
We found redfish in the back country as well as the open flats over the last few weeks. There has also been an increase in the amount of redfish that we’re seeing on dock lights. We had most of our success fishing around shallow bars or over muddy flats.
We did a fair amount of sight fishing for redfish with a fly rod. Highly pressured fish and clear shallow water can make hunting redfish on fly very challenging. Anglers who are willing to make mistakes, learn from them, and then move on to the next opportunity are well-suited for the challenge. Learning to read the fish is also an important aspect to the game. Seaducers and EP baitfish patterns were the top flies for sight fishing for redfish.
Seatrout & Others
There continues to be a good seatrout bite for those anglers interested in bending the rod. The seatrout have been in small groups throughout the grass flats, so you may need to cover some water to find fish. Once you find fish, you should be treated to some good action.
We’re also finding mackerel, jacks, and ladyfish on the deep grass. It’s a different way of fishing, but some folks really seem to enjoy it. It’s been a great way to get fly anglers that are new to saltwater fishing their first saltwater species.
Fly Fishing News
A fly fishing club in Maryland is raising money for a statue of famous fly angler & pioneer Lefty Kreh. The club plans to erect a statue of his likeness at a local park pond in the town that Lefty used to call home. The club is over halfway to their fund-raising goal, but every little bit helps. To learn more about the project or to donate, just click here.
Thanks for Reading,
Capt. Brian Boehm
Quiet Waters Fishing