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As temperature has settled, fishing has improved


Things have finally settled in to a fairly normal pattern for the date. The water temperature has stabilized to the optimum level for good action, but the wind has picked up considerably and is supposed to be a factor for the next several days.

Rick and Matt Fuchs, a father and son from Cincinatti, fished with me on several trips this past week. All were quite successful for different reasons. I really enjoy fishing with these two. They have been clients for years and I truly enjoy the fact that they savor the whole angling experience rather than being hell-bent on the quantity and size of the quarry.

The first outing was on Halloween, the last day of trout season, so we went in that direction early and nailed some real nice trout, with the largest at 26 inches. Both "Chug Bug" top water lures and white bait produced well and also took spanish mackerel. Later, at the top of the tide, we did quite well with redfish to 25 inches and snook to 28 inches fishing potholes in close to the mangroves. As I've been reporting for several weeks now, the reds and snook were enticed by both white bait and fresh cut snakefish, pinfish and ladyfish.

Our next trip was not a banner day. It was right after the last cool front and right on the full moon. We did manage a decent catch that included mangrove snapper, mackerel, small barracuda, and a slew of red and gag grouper off a North Sarasota Bay wreck. Matt Fuchs managed to boat some big gags, one of which topped out at 26 inches.

The final trip was out along the beaches of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. The wind was hard from the northeast, so we opted to stay in the lee of the beaches. Kingfish was our target, except for one large specimen that released itself, a sizeable black tip shark, and a flurry of mackerel. That was the picture until we relocated to another hard bottom area in about 30 to 35 feet.

The first fish in the boat was a nice fat Gulf flounder. As most local anglers are aware, there has been very little to smile about on the flounder scene since the red tides of 2004-05. We continued at the spot and enjoyed nonstop rod bending for hours with numerous gag and red grouper.

Much to our surprise, the grouper action was punctuated with eight beautiful flounder that were all well above average in size, topped by a 26-inch doormat. The flatties were also very thick and fat.

Wherever they came from, they were eating really well. Another surprise is the number and size of red grouper we have been nailing in close to the beach and in the bays.

Good luck and good fishing. Be careful out there!

Capt. "Zach" Zacharias

(941) 795-5026

E-mail: zachap@aol.com

Docked on Palma Sola Bay at Parrot Cove Marina/Sunny Shores

115th Street West and 36th Avenue, Cortez, FL 34215


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