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Fishing action coming back as water warms up


Water temperatures are slowly rebounding and the fishing action is picking up as well.


The Gulf water off Manatee County continues to be muddied up out for several miles, and as a result the action on the nearshore reefs has been minimal. When the water clears there should be some good action with big sow sheepies, snapper and flounder on hard bottom in the 20- to 40-foot range with structured bottom.


On the inshore scene there has been some pretty decent action on most days. Concentrating on deep-water docks, my clients have been scoring with redfish to 23 inches, average-sized sheepshead and black drum in a wide range of sizes.


Live shrimp has been the ticket and a low incoming tide seems to be the best producer. It is still wise to sleep late and fish after the sun has worked on the water for a few hours. One trip last week produced a nice catch of speckled trout in Palma Sola Bay. A good tide and a slight breeze made drifting for the specks productive. Interestingly, the bulk of the larger specimens were taken on Cotee Jigs, while live shrimp bombed out except for a couple dink trout and ladyfish. Most of the jig caught trout were in the 15- to 20-inch slot.


There is usually a huge change during February. Most years finds a solid winter pattern early in the month and with some luck a spring pattern sets in by the beginning of March. The weather has been so crazy with the El Nino this year that all bets are off for trying to look ahead with any certainty. All we can do is hope for an early spring, but another freeze is possible before it is all over.

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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