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Kingfish make themselves scarce near the shore


Since last week's report, there have been a few significant changes.

Water temperatures are a solid 80 degrees or higher. The crystal clear conditions in the bay are giving way to a summertime soup brought about by all the little critters and plants growing like topsy in the tepid waters. Gulf waters are still gin clear. The bottom structure is clearly visible up to 40 feet on the reefs off Manatee and Sarasota counties.

For the first time in weeks my clients did not get into any kingfish along the beaches. Big spanish were still there, but the kings were scarce in close. Subsequently we traveled a little further offshore to find the big macks, only to be pleasantly surprised by an excellent bite of mangrove snapper, grouper, grunts and banded rudderfish.

The following morning produced the same species but along with a few kingfish up to 36 inches in the mix. Most of the action was in 30 feet of water over significant hardbottom with white bait and small pinfish doing the damage.

On the inside of Anna Maria and Longboat Key there continues to be great spotted seatrout action with specks up to 25 inches fishing grassy areas in about 4 feet of water. In the same areas there have been ladyfish, jack crevalle and some chunky bluefish as well.

An occasional gator trout is being found in close to the mangroves and shell beds in 2 feet. Redfishing is vastly improved in the past couple of weeks. The murkier conditions have caused them to not be nearly as spooky as they had been most of this spring.

There have not been huge numbers but the reds we have encountered are in the 25- to 34-inch range. They are not bunched up anywhere but have been coming in from many different locations around North Sarasota Bay and Palma Sola Bay.

Mixed in with the redfish have been some good snook that are calming down from the end-of-the-season blitz of fishing pressure and over-chumming in most areas.

I think we have some of the most well-fed snook in all of Florida right here in the Tampa Bay region.

Some tarpon have been spotted, a couple hooked while pursuing other species, but the bulk of the fish are still on the horizon. It should not be long, though, as the water temperature is optimum and there are some pretty dense schools of large threadfin herring in near the beaches and the mouth of Tampa Bay to keep them happy.

The big disappointment this spring has been the noticeable lack of cobia in the area once again. I don't have a clue why.

There have been reports of off the charts cobia action in Charlotte and Lee counties. Some reports of occasional ling action are coming in from offshore boats fishing in 80 feet or more, but they have been rare as hens' teeth on the nearshore reefs and in the bays locally.

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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