The local fishing action is sort of in cruise control right now.
There are very predictable results each day out, except for some days being better than others in a random sort of way. From one day to the next, the tides and weather are pretty much the same but the fish bite in a completely different pattern.
A couple of forays out to structures in 40 to 50 feet of water off Anna Maria and Longboat Key produced steady action, with numerous spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper, grouper, average-sized cobia, sharks and barracuda.
On the inshore waters of Sarasota Bay and Palma Sola Bay, the action was decent but nothing to write home about. Trout action slowed somewhat, which is usually the case mid-summer with very hot water temperatures. The best time to target trout right now is at first and last light or under the lights of bridges, piers and docks. When targeting trout in the daytime, look to much deeper than normal areas abutting grass flats. Redfish have been very scattered and ranging in size from some rats we nailed in the 12-inch range up to slot and over the slot fish.
Mangrove snapper continues to be the hot ticket in terms of numbers and those seeking groceries. The toothy panfish are all over creation and will nail just about any kind of bait, alive or dead. A couple of trips last week produced some nice flounder, still a rare catch since the red tides of four to five years ago.
Speaking of dead baits, a number of reds and snook have been boated using cut bait such as fresh pinfish or ladyfish. As a matter of fact, the largest snook of the week was taken with cut pinfish.
The big tides recently have moved most of the backwater fish around quite a bit. Many species are dropping off the flats on extreme low tides and then remaining in the deeper cooler areas when the tide floods.
Good luck and good fishing. Be careful out there.
Capt. "Zach" Zacharias
Docked on Palma Sola Bay at Parrot Cove Marina/Sunny Shores
115th Street West and 36th Avenue, Cortez, FL 34215
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