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Plenty of live bait out there, but you can't be too choosy


It is that point of the summer when there will not be many changes on the horizon for some time.

It is hot, the water is hot, and fortunately the fishing can be hot as well. Getting live bait is a dicey affair, there is plenty of bait available, but getting the kind and size that you want is another matter.

The best thing to do is gather the best bait you can and then use what you have to your best advantage. A wide variety of artificial offerings will work very well this time of year.

The species list for the next several months is pretty diverse but will remain pretty much the same. On the inshore there has been some pretty decent trout action, and most of the specks are of average size but some nice gators are definitely out there running up to 27 inches. They have been found on open water grass beds in five to seven feet of water.

Redfish are scattered and are ranging in size from 15 inches to 35 inches depending on the area where you are encountering them. Mangrove snapper are the staple catch of mid-summer and can be found in bay ledges,wrecks, dock pilings and deep-cut mangrove shorelines. A surprising number of big mangoes have been encountered on the open grass beds while pursuing trout, bluefish and mackerel.

Surprisingly, there have been reports of pompano in Sarasota Bay. In order to target them you need to use pompano jigs or live shrimp, but it is unusual to have them around with the water as hot as it is at the present time.

Tarpon are still a possibility but the big thick schools of May and June are dispersing and the best bet for encountering a silver king is inshore, where they will be found in smallish pods in deep channels and dredge holes just inside gulf passes and at the mouth of large bays.

Snook have wrapped up their spawning in the past two full moons and are beginning to filter back into the bays, and will be found staging just inside of the passes until the first cold weather drives them farther inshore.

Out on the Gulf reefs there will be steady action with snapper, groupers, mackerel and bonito. Probably the best place to nail some flounder right now is in 30 to 40 feet of water around the perimeters of the artificial reefs.

The strong winds of early summer have abated and the offshore guys are finally beginning to get out to enjoy some of the banner action out there with grouper, snapper, dolphin, AJ's, etc. I have heard there are still some straggler kingfish offshore and an occasional wahoo may be found out there as well.

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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