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Fishing Report for 3/6/2009


With two weeks until spring I happily bid goodbye to the winter of 08/09. It has been one of the longest, coldest, and windiest winters in these parts for as long as I can remember.The upside of all this is that in the Manatee/Sarasota area we thankfully escaped any serious fish kills from the cold and we will be experiencing a true spring when the weather finally breaks. Looking to the immediate future, the snook usually break out of their winter holes around St. Pat's Day and if the weather reports of a solid week or better of 80 degree temperatures comes to pass that should hold true. Reds and trout will be headed to shallower water and the pompano action should get even better. The past several years have produced exceptionally good kingfish runs in the area and I have real high hopes for this spring. Last falls king run was cut short by a very early cold spell but in the spring that should not be a problem, in fact cold water temperatures to our north will keep the big macks in our neighborhood for a longer period of time. We have not had a really good cobia run for several years now, so we are due for a biggie this year.

Summing up the past winter; despite the lousy weather it was pretty good with a great diversity of species available. Sheepshead action was down but mangrove snapper remained hot. Trout fishing was much improved over recent years. Depending on who you talk with, the redfish action was either great or dismal. I found it to be off from what I have seen in years past but their cousins, the black drum, were not bad. For the first time in several years the pompano have invaded local waters and that action will only get better going into spring.

On a couple of recent trips after the big blow of last Sunday, my clients and I opted to hit the gulf reefs for the big spawning sheepshead out there and did quite well. Sheepies up to 8 lbs were taken along with some dandy key west grunts, mangrove snapper, triggerfish, and numerous juvenile groupers. Closer in to the beaches, areas with good structure also gave up even more sheepshead and snapper, along with trout,pompano, bluefish, and mackerel.There were some mackerel showing in the area a couple of weeks ago but a pair of hard fronts ran them off but they have shown again. When the water clears from the last blow the spanish action should explode.


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