There's nothing like back-to-back successful fishing trips to shake off the "cabin crud" and the depressing snook kills we experienced from the cold.
As soon as the weather broke, I got out with clients and despite water temperatures barely breaking the 50-degree mark, we did quite well. Redfish were particularly ready to eat, going after live shrimp and grub-tail jigs with gusto.
Last Friday, we could easily have caught and released 50 redfish, but we actually got a little bored catching them and opted to leave them alone. The reds were running between 14 and 22 inches and were bunched up under docks along with sheepshead, flounder and black drum.
One day produced some nice fat trout that were found in very deep water and were pretty sluggish. The best action came between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. during a major solunar with good tides in various locations in North Sarasota Bay.
On both days we prospected for pompano that had been hitting well before the cold. We did not succeed in getting any to cooperate but we did see some in five to seven feet of water drifting between Sister Key and Tidy Island. If we continue to experience milder weather it should not take long for the pompano and trout to head back to open water.
The Gulf reefs should start to give up good snapper, sheepshead, gray trout and flounder when the water clears a little more.
There has always been a debate over why grouper show up fairly close to shore in the winter. Some claim they move in closer from deeper Gulf water and others contend they are bay grouper that head out to the nearshore reefs and wrecks. I am beginning to be a believer in the latter scenario.
Until the water warms substantially you would be best served to sleep late and hit the water in the afternoon when the sun has had a chance to warm things up a bit.
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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