I took Greg Bridgewater, his grandson Ty and son-in-law Robert, all of West Virginia, on a half-day outing Thursday morning.
Rare calm conditions allowed us to venture offshore a little bit but the action was not as I had hoped.
Numerous Spanish mackerel were taken along with a few grouper on reefs in the 30 to 40 foot range west of Longboat Pass. We decided to venture back into Sarasota Bay on a big outgoing tide and fished a number of locations that had been producing some quality catches of trout and reds, but nothing was happening.
This was the first morning that I can remember that there was a normal easterly wind but the day developed very hot and devoid of any clouds, although some towering cumulus could be seen on the distant horizon to the east and north. We had about an hour left when we boated up into Palma Sola Bay during the last third of the big outgoing tide. We fished a sharp dropoff along a mangrove shoreline and managed a respectable catch of mangrove snapper and redfish. A decent-sized snook was hooked and lost at the same location.
Our bait was mixed sizes of pilchards and pinfish. The more diminutive of the baits actually proved to be the most productive both offshore and inshore.
The goofy weather pattern of summer 2009 continues. It is either nonstop rain or none at all, and the water temperatures reflect the situation. When we have several days of torrential rains the water temperatures drop to the 80-degree mark, but a couple of dry days drives the mercury up to about 88 degrees, as it was today.
There are tarpon all over Longboat Pass, Sarasota Bay and Palma Sola. It is the time of the summer when the big thick schools of spawning tarpon begin to break up and stage along the edges of deep bay channels and in dredge holes. The largest tarpon I have personally caught was in the month of August just east of the Longboat Bridge on a small live ladyfish tossed into the channel while we were fishing mangrove snapper on a channel edge ledge in 2001.
Good luck and good fishing. Be careful out there: it is very hot!
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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