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Find where to catch the big one this December with the help of Sarasota County fishing charter captains.
From Manasota Key to Longboat Key, Sarasota County's coastal waters are great fishing territory thanks to a healthy diversity of habitats and freshwater rivers streaming into the bay. Here are some recent fishing reports by local charter captains out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters:
Captain Rick Grassett:
Capt. Grassett took anglers out on his action craft skiff, the Snook Fin-Addict, catching a variety of species in Sarasota Bay including trout and flounder on CAL jigs with shad tails and live shrimp.
Friday, Nov. 27, Grassett took our Tom Lamb from Geneva, Switzerland, grandson James Muhlfield and great grandson Thomas Muhlfield, both from California, and Daniel Burton-Morgan, from the UK. Action included trout, flounder, jacks and ladyfish. Daniel and Thomas caught their first ever fish.
"Some of the best action now will be with false albacore, tripletail, Spanish mackerel and more in the coastal gulf when conditions allow it. Catch and release snook fishing around lighted docks and bridges with flies and DOA lures should also be a good option. Look for redfish, snook and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats and edges of bars,” says Grassett.
Captain Jim Klopfer
Capt. Klopfer reports steady action the past week. Around docks and bars in Robert's Bay, Klopfer reports catching Black drum up to 20 inches, speckled trout up to 22 inches, snook, redfish, mangrove snapper, flounder and jacks using live shrimp and pilchards. Out on deep grass flats Klopfer's charters caught bluefish, mackerel, trout, ladyfish, jacks and more using Bass Assassin jigs and free lining live shrimp.
Klopfer took out Stephanie and Mike Kusibab from Chicago along with their son Jason Wednesday, Nov. 25. With a late start, not leaving until mid-morning, the group caught black drum, snapper and flounder off some docks. Then, action picked up after Klopfer netted a well full of bait and started chumming.
"It was basically 'fish on!' for the next 45 minutes as the chum drew the fish in. Most of the fish were jack crevelle but a few small snook and snapper were mixed in as well,” says Klopfer.
Captain Roy String
Capt. String took out Scott, Dale and Aidan Conner Saturday, Nov. 28. They started their trip on the beach looking for Spanish mackerel and bonita. After a little bit they went a couple miles offshore to a ledge. They started catching mackerel, a few grunts and small reef fish. Then, Dale hooked a big fish. Fighting for about 15 minutes, the fish turned out to be a 25 to 30 pound redfish. A minute later, Scott hooked an even larger one, around 30 to 35 pounds. On the way, Aidan landed a nice Tripletail and had another tripletail on.
December fishing forecast according to Capt. Grassett
According to Capt. Grassett you may find reds along with trout concentrated in potholes, along the edges of bars or tailing on shallow grass flats on negative low tides this month.
This is a good month for catch and release snook, as the season ended Dec. 1. However, if the water dips below 60 degrees, the snook might be too stressed to be a viable target species. Docks that have a good tidal flow and deep water under them should have steady action.
There should be still good action in the gulf with Spanish mackerel, blues, false albacore and tripletail. Rough and cold water later in the month may slow the action and move fish south, or further offshore. Terns diving or hovering low over the surface indicate false albacore, blues, and mackerel may be feeding on the surface. Once you find them, top water plugs or CAL jigs with shad tails will do well. Fly angles should use glass minnow fly patterns, poppers or crease flies.
Add wire or a heavy fluorocarbon to your leader when blues and mackerel are around. Look for tripletail around crab trap floats or channel markers. If you find them, make your first shot count since they will be tough to catch once they know you are there.
Read more reports and learn more about these charter captains here.