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Nearshore reefs offer best bets for big action


I only had one trip since the last report, and things remain pretty much the same. The best bet for big action is to head out to the nearshore reefs off the Manatee County coast. Any hard-bottom structure that is attracting schools of bait is also holding a lot of Spanish mackerel, snapper, grouper, sharks, barracuda and occasionally some decent flounder .

On the inshore scene, things have been about average and very tide dependent. On days with a decent tide the action can be pretty good, with mangrove snapper, speckled trout, reds and snook. The trout have not been huge but, as is usually the case in late summer, the best trouting is very early and late during low light periods. The redfish and snook have been very squirrely in their feeding habits and preference for groceries. It helps to try anything and everything at your disposal for bait. You may just stumble upon something that they are willing to eat.

Snook season will open in a couple of weeks and there will be some nice linesiders taken, mostly at night or on big outgoing tides in the late afternoon and early evening. More and more snook are returning to backwater haunts after doing the procreation thing in Gulf passes and at the mouths of big bays and rivers.

Bait is getting a little larger every week and there is a wide variety of species and sizes available right now, with most of the bait being found on the beaches and just inshore of Gulf passes. Small pinfish, grunts, pilchards and Spanish sardines are all in the mix. Other baits in more brackish areas include finger mullet and killifish (chubs). Top water lures are hot right now under low light conditions if you can find areas that are clear of floating grass, which is hard to do right now.

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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