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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: andy cotton

Capt. Andy Cotton’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Forecast, November 2014

by on Nov.06, 2014, under Bradenton and Sarasota

There will be a lot of different options this month, although December can be one of those months where weather can affect when and where I fish. The action in the coastal Gulf with Spanish mackerel, false albacore and tripletail should continue to be good as long as the water temps stay mild. If the water temps drop too low it will send these fish packing to the south or out in deeper water. Cast or troll spoons, swim-baits like the DOA CAL Shad can also be cast or slow trolled for these fish. Tripletail can be found offshore around the crab pot floats, live or a DOA shrimp is the ticket for scoring these fish along with small flies tied with a weed-guard to help prevent snags on the crab pot lines. Although tripletail are not easily spooked, try to make each cast count as these fish will only tolerate so any times being plunked on the head.

Snook season closes December 1st therefore these fish are catch and release only! If CPR (catch, photo and release) is your game there will be plenty of snook to be caught around lighted docks and bridge fenders. At peak tidal flows snook can be found feeding heavily on glass minnows and shrimp. Small white flies in baitfish patterns or gurglers should produce strikes for the fly guys. Spin anglers will score with a DOA tiny TerroEyz or DOA Shrimp in Nite Glow # 305 or Holographic glitter #382. Be mindful this time of year of water temps, anything below 60 degrees and I would not target snook.

Look for redfish and large spotted seatrout in potholes and along sandbars on the shallow flats. Work the potholes with gold spoons, swim-baits or lightly weighted weedless flies. Fly tackle in the 7 to 9 weight range rigged with a floating fly line or sink-tip is plenty for most gamefish on the flats.I like to get out of the boat and wade this time of year as it is a more stealthy approach to these fish. You can also work an area on windy days more thoroughly by getting out and wading. Remember seatrout over 20 inches are mostly breeding stock females and should be handled with care boat side.

Grass flats inside the passes should hold a mix of Spanish mackerel, seatrout, flounder and pompano. When looking for flounder and pompano  find a mix of sand and grass on the bottom and set a slow drift with a drift sock for flounder and drift with tide for pompano. Keeping your baits close to the bottom is key for flounder and pompano. I like to use DOA CAL Shad tail or Grub tail on a 1/4 ounce jig head to get to the bottom. Slowly retrieve or vertical jig your lure making sure it always comes in contact with or near the bottom. Fly anglers will score with sinking fly lines with dumbbell weighted Clouser style patterns tied on long shank hooks. This is my all-purpose type of fly on the deeper flats this time of year with toothy fish like Spanish mackerel and bluefish being found in the same spots. You may also find Spanish mackerel and bluefish feeding on the surface, so diving birds or showering bait may clue you in to feeding fish below.

Depending on the weather conditions, this can be another great month for fishing. Pick your days and tides wisely and hopefully you can end the year with more fishy tales.

Capt. Andy Cotton is the owner/operator of O’Fish All Guide Service “LLC” in Sarasota and is an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide out CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key. He can be reached at (941) 685-9439 or at www.ofishallguideservice.com

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Capt. Andy Cotton’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Forecast October 2014

by on Sep.29, 2014, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Siesta Key to Boca Grande

Fall fishing should be in full swing this month, with a wide variety of species that can be targeted. From breaking fish in the coastal gulf to a variety of gamefish on the shallow flats.

Snook will start to move in from the beaches and passes as the water temps start to fall. You will find them along mangrove shorelines, in potholes on the shallow flats and along sandbars. I like to work these areas with top-water plugs and DOA soft plastic baits. Look for these fish at night staging along seawalls, bridge fenders and other structures where there is good tidal flow. Target these spots that have over-head or underwater lighting and fish the shadow lines with swim-baits or deceiver style fly patterns or surface flies like a gurgler.

The large schools of redfish that were found last month will start to break up and scatter across the shallow flats in Sarasota Bay. Look for schools of mullet or bait flipping on the surface as this may be a good indicator that there is fish feeding in the area. When looking for redfish I prefer to get out of my boat and wade the areas where redfish are working. This gives you more of low profile and stealthy approach to spooky fish. A variety of baits will work but I prefer to use a DOA CAL Shad tail or DOA shrimp rigged a weedless worm style hook or on fly a Grassett’s Flats Minnow tied with a weed guard to prevent snags in heavy grass.

Look for big spotted seatrout in the same areas as the snook and redfish on the shallow flats and in potholes. Fishing a topwater plug early in the morning can be deadly on over-slot fish. The deeper grass flats will hold trout in different size ranges along with Spanish mackerel, bluefish and pompano. A DOA CAL Shad tail jig or Deadly combo with DOA shrimp should produce steady action.

Another good option this month is juvenile tarpon. These fish can be found up creeks and residential canal systems around the Peace and Myakka rivers. These fish usually range from 10 to 30 pounds, with some smaller and larger fish mixed in. Snook tackle will be plenty to handle these smaller fish. A rootbeer color TerrorEyz or DOA Glow shrimp are two of my top pics for juvenile tarpon. Fly tackle in the 8 to 9 weight range with a fast sinking line and a small bunny fly or a scaled down version of the flies that you would use on adult tarpon. Large tarpon may be found in the deeper water that surrounds the grass flats in Sarasota Bay and Charlotte Harbor. These fish can be spotted feeding on schools of ladyfish. A DOA Baitbuster cast in to the frenzy should produce a strike.

The coastal Gulf of Mexico should be alive with plenty of bait and predators to follow. Schools of Spanish mackerel and false albacore will be moving along the beaches, so keep eye out for birds diving and bait scattering on the surface as these are good indicators that there is trouble below. I like to get up wind of a school of breaking fish and drift slowly to the fish while casting spoons, swimbaits and flies in to the mix. King mackerel can be found working the edges of these schools and sometimes can be seen skyrocketing through the fury. Look around marker buoys and crab pot floats, you may spot tripletail floating just under the surface. Generally tripletail are not spooky fish and will readily take a wide variety of live and artificial baits. Small baitfish and shrimp fly patterns will entice these fish in to biting.

Capt. Andy Cotton is the owner/operator of O’Fish All Guide Service “LLC” in Sarasota and is an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide out CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key. He can be reached at (941) 685-9439 or at www.ofishallguideservice.com

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Capt. Andy Cotton’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report 9/15/14

by on Sep.29, 2014, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Anglers fishing with me this past week aboard the O’Fishall out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key caught a variety of species this past week. The best bite was with spotted seatrout, Spanish mackerel and bluefish. We have been concentrating on fishing deeper grass flats using DOA deadly combos with a holographic silver glitter/glow shrimp and CAL Shad tail jigs. I am finding schools of breaking fish that are working the outside edges of the deeper grass flats in Sarasota Bay. These schools of fish consist of Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, jack crevalle, bluefish and sharks.

Joe Staffieri and his son Joey fished with me on Saturday morning. We fished the deep grass around Stephen’s Pt. and Buttonwood Harbor in Sarasota Bay. Stephens’s Pt was the most productive with breaking fish and terns diving in 10 feet of water. We set a drift up-wind of all the action and started casting DOA CAL Shad tail jigs in to the fury of feeding fish. Joe and Joey caught released jack, ladyfish and bluefish to 4 pounds. The duo had fast action for a couple hours until the tide stopped towards the end of the trip then the bite began to slow down.

Capt. Andy Cotton is the owner/operator of O’Fish All Guide Service “LLC” in Sarasota and is an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide out CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key. He can be reached at (941) 685-9439 or at www.ofishallguideservice.com

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Capt. Andy Cotton’s Sarasota Fishing Forecast for September 2014

by on Aug.30, 2014, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Snook season reopens Sept.1st Bag limit is 1 fish per person, per day between 28”-33”. I am going to continue on my boat with just catch photo and releasing these fish.  These are hard fighting fish that seem to fight with a little wit and can take charge of the fight by wrapping the line around structure and breaking you off. By harvesting less of these fish we leave more for sport. Anglers that wish to harvest a few fish for a meal have several other species available at any given time including spotted seatrout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, pompano, flounder, and more. You will still find snook travelling the edges of the beaches where the surf breaks on to the sand. There is a trough where these fish can be spotted and gives you an opportunity to cast a white fly mimicking a baitfish or a DOA CAL Shad tail jig. I like to use a deceiver style fly pattern or Grassett’s Snook Minnow  and I really like the DOA Shad tail in 308 Glow/Holo Flk Belly with a 1/8 ounce jig head. Cast ahead of the fish and use a straight strip or steady retrieve. Snook will also be found on shallow flats, along sandbars and potholes. Target these fish in the early day light hours with topwater plugs and surface flies.  Night snook fishing will continue to be a good option to beat the heat and bend a rod. Concentrate on structure with good moving water using the same flies and lures you would use on the beach.

Tarpon will become really thin on the beaches but with a lot of patience, the fish you find will readily eat. Most of these fish can be found around bridges, deep grass flats and spotted rolling in the deeper channels before boat traffic gets going in the morning. We often find tarpon in the bay feeding on bait schools. These bait schools are usually made up of ladyfish that have minnows balled up. Tarpon will eat both the ladyfish and gorge themselves on the minnows. Wide profile flies and the new DOA Cal Shad tail in 4” on a jig head or rigged weedless casted in to the fury should score. With these large schools of bait in the bay it will not only attract ladyfish and tarpon there will be several other species taking advantage of the feeding frenzy. You will find jack crevalle, bluefish, small sharks and other species of fish joining in.

Schools of redfish will be found working shallow flats, look for pushes of water similar to boat wakes or bait scattering as these can be the signs of a feeding school of redfish. Sometimes big schools of redfish can be found on the deeper flats in the bay. So when you are running to your favorite shallow water spot keep your eyes peeled as you may stumble across some reds working deeper water. When redfish are schooled up I like to use topwater plugs or flies cast in front of the school. Watching several fish fight over and trying to eat a lure on the surface is a blast!

The deeper grass flats will hold spotted seatrout, flounder, Spanish mackerel and bluefish. You should have good action fishing the flats with clean moving water and using clouser style minnow patterns or soft plastic swimbaits.

The coastal gulf should come alive with schools of spanish mackerel and sharks feeding on schools of bait. Look for activity on the surface from breaking fish or bait schools being pushed to the surface from fish below. Diving birds is also a good indicator there may be fish present. Fly poppers, clouser minnow fly patterns and a variety of jigs, spoons and surface plugs will work for these fish. A small trace of wire may be required to prevent cutoffs.

September provides us with a lot of different types of fishing. No matter what you choose starting early or late day to early evening will be your best chances at producing fish.

Capt. Andy Cotton is owner/operator of O’Fish All Guide Service in Sarasota and is an Orvis Endorsed Guide out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key. He can be reached at (941) 685-9439 or at www.ofishallguideservice.com

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Capt. Andy Cotton’s Sarasota Fishing Forecast for August 2014

by on Jul.30, 2014, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Capt. Andy Cotton’s Sarasota Fishing Forecast for August 2014

Even though August can be a brutally hot month, there are plenty of different species to target. We will begin to see tarpon starting to thin out on the beaches and move into the passes and bays in Sarasota. There still may be a good shot at a few fish early part of the month along the beaches and shallow bars. Look for them rolling on the deep grass flats and around bridges during the day. At night you can spot tarpon cruising along the shadow lines feeding on ladyfish or slurping crabs off the surface. The same baits and flies we were using on the beach will work for tarpon inside. Try to key in on what they are feeding on then use live bait or an artificial that is similar. With the abundance of smaller bait on the flats like glass minnows you will find ladyfish feeding on them and sometimes tarpon joining in on the frenzy. I always keep a tarpon rod rigged with a DOA Bait Buster on the boat this time of year while I am fishing the flats, just in case you see tarpon feeding on the surface. Juvenile tarpon may be found in canals and creeks. These fish are usually 10 to 25 pounds with some larger fish in the mix and once hooked will provide you with the same acrobatics as the bigger fish. Gear up with medium heavy spinning tackle, braided line, and 40 to 60 pound leader. My lure of choice is a DOA TerrorEyz in root beer color or ½ ounce DOA Glow Shrimp casted ahead of rolling fish.

Redfish will start to school up this month. Keep an eye out for pushes of water that look similar to left over boat wakes. Sometimes these schools can be made up of dozens or even hundreds of fish. Once these fish are located, ease up to them close enough to make a long cast to the school. Work around the edges or let the school come to you. Top water, sub-surface plugs, and DOA CAL Shad Tails should score for spin anglers. Surface flies like gurglers or poppers or Puglisi and deceiver style flies should be effective for the fly guys.

Snook season remains closed in August so catch, release, and handle these fish with care. Snook can be found in the surf along the beaches, around lighted docks, and bridge fenders throughout the ICW as well as residential canals. Soft plastic swim-baits or live bait will work but a DOA Tiny TerrorEyz is my “go to” lure when fishing the docks at night. When fishing for snook along the beaches I use a DOA CAL Shad Tail jig or a deceiver style fly pattern casted to the surf and fished back to the boat with a steady straight retrieve varying the speed.

A mixed bag of mangrove snapper, black seabass, spotted seatrout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish and small sharks on the deeper grass flats can be caught. Drift the deeper flats (6 to 10ft) around the passes and cast ahead of the boat using DOA Deadly Combos and Cal Shad tail jigs on spinning tackle. On fly, use clouser style minnow patterns on a sink-tip fly line. Mangrove snapper are great fun inshore on light tackle they can be found around docks and channel markers, mangrove shorelines and potholes on the grass flats. A variety of live baits, artificial lures and flies will fool these guys in to biting.

Spanish mackerel and false albacore may start to show up in the coastal gulf this month. Look for schools of bait offshore and around the shipping channels near Egmont Key. Use spoons, diamond jigs, and small baitfish fly patterns. I like to run a small trace of wire or heavy fluorocarbon to help prevent cutoffs from the mackerel.

Capt. Andy Cotton is owner/operator of O’Fish All Guide Service in Sarasota and is an Orvis Endorsed Guide out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key. He can be reached at (941) 685-9439 or at www.ofishallguideservice.com

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Capt. Andy Cotton’s Sarasota Fishing report for 7/6/13

by on Jul.08, 2013, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Anglers fishing aboard my boat, the O’Fishall, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitter’s on Siesta Key had a great Tarpon bite this week. With poor weather conditions the first part of the week, by July 4th the weather had improved just enough to venture out onto the beaches to look for Tarpon but was still not favorable.

Jesse and Leslie Simpson from Kentucky had great success with me on July 4th despite 4’seas and windy conditions off Siesta Key beaches. The angling duo jumped 3 Tarpon and Jesse landed his first Tarpon ever while floating a live pinfish under a cork!

Fly angler Steve Cohn fromAustralia was all set for a day of Fly fishing for Tarpon with me on Friday.  With rough and windy conditions in the Gulf that were not favorable for Fly fishing, we decided to switch to plan B and fish some lighted docks for Snook and the deeper grass flats on the east side of Sarasota bay. Steve caught and released on fly, Snook, Spotted Seatrout, Mackeral, Jacks and Ladyfish using a synthetic Clouser style minnow pattern.

Saturday the 6th, anglers Tony Wilson and his father-n-law Bruce Miller of Sarasota, Fl joined me for a great day of Tarpon fishing! The first Tarpon bite of the morning came before daylight as I was baiting up hooks and getting ready to move in to position. We had a pinfish floating under cork and Bruce jumped his first Tarpon. The fish jumped a made a run and then came unhooked, after further inspection the fish had opened up and bent a 6/0 Owner hook. Tony hooked up next and after several jumps close to the boat he landed his very first Tarpon using a live pinfish. After a quick measurement and DNA sample we released the fish. Tony and Bruce finished the day with jumping 5 Tarpon and landing 1.

Tarpon fishing should remain good for the next week. If fish are not showing well on the surface, anchor up or drift while using a live pinfish or crab under a cork. Inshore, look on the shallow flats and the bars early for Reds and fish the deeper flats for Trout, Spanish Mackeral and Bluefish. Early morning or night Snook  fishing  around the lighted docks and bridge fenders is another option for anglers to beat the heat .

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Capt. Andy Cotton’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report, 9/10/12

by on Sep.10, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Flats fishing produced a mixed bag this week. Anglers caught and released Spotted Seatrout, Spanish Mackeral and Bluefish on topwater and sub-surface plugs.

Dennis Stell from Sarasota fished with me on Sunday. We fished the west side of Sarasota Bay near Buttonwood Harbor. Despite the threat of rain and windy conditions Dennis caught and released several Spotted Seatrout to 21″ using topwater Mirrorlure Shedogs and Mirrordines. Not too bad considering the weather would have kept most folks off the water.

Night Snook fishing as we approach the new moon 9/16 or early morning Snook fishing should produce well before hitting the shallow grass flats in search of Reds or deeper flats for Trout.

Capt. Andy Cotton
O’Fish All Guide Service

http://ofishallguideservice.com/

captandysguideservice.com
captacotton@gmail.com
(941) 685-9439

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Capt. Andy Cotton’s Sarasota, Fl Fishing Report 7/10/12

by on Jul.15, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Tarpon fishing this past week in shallow water was very tough. The weather conditions were great, we seen a lot of fish but the bite was slow.

Kurt Tenebaum and his father-in law Don McGovern joined me for a couple of days of shallow water Tarpon fishing off the beaches in Sarasota, Fl. Kurt and Don had several shots each day with a fly and casting  artificial lures. We had fish showing interest but no bites.

Dennis Stell from Sarasota, Fl Tarpon fished with me this past Sunday.  We fished the shallow edges off the beaches from Longboat Key to Siesta Key, FL . Dennis had several shots at a lot of Tarpon with a few leaning pretty hard on the 10” Hogy lure he was using but no takers.

Site fishing in shallow water for Tarpon will get your heart pounding. For you hunters out there, it is a very similar feeling to “Buck Fever”. You will see the fish coming and try to present your Fly or artificial lure just ahead of the fish. If all goes well and the fish eats it will be a sight you will never forget.

As Tarpon season progresses this month the bigger schools will break up and these fish should feed more aggressively.

Flats fishing for Trout, Reds and other inshore species should continue to be good. Just remember to fish early part of the morning, because of the high temps during the later part of the day.


Capt. Andy Cotton
O’Fish All Guide Service

http://ofishallguideservice.com/

captandysguideservice.com
captacotton@gmail.com
(941) 685-9439

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Capt. Andy Cotton’s Sarasota, FL and Terra Ceia Bay Fishing Report 5/16 to 5/20/12

by on May.22, 2012, under Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

The Tarpon bite off the Sarasota County beaches was pretty good this past week.

Bill Moore and his 2 sons, Mark and Scott from IL, and Bill’s brother Chris Moore from OR fished a 2 boat trip with me and Capt. Rick Grassett on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Chris and Scott fished with me on Wednesday and we had 4 bites on live Blue Crabs and fought 1 Tarpon for over an hour, while leadering this wide bodied fish we broke it off.

Wednesday night through Thursday morning the weather took a turn for the worse and we had rain with a strong west wind roughing up the beaches. Switching up fishing partners, we fished in the bay from Stephen’s Point and grass flats near Buttonwood Harbor and found a large school of Jacks. Mark and Chris hooked a pair of Jacks, numerous Spotted Seatrout and a small Shark using DOA CAL Shad Tail Jigs and Topwater plugs.

Friday morning we fished off the beaches near Point of Rocks in Sarasota and Scott Moore hooked his very first Tarpon on a live Blue Crab. This fish gave us quite a show, with several jumps and tail walking on the water. We leadered this fish and estimated it to be about 90 lbs.

Myself and Capt. Ray Markham hosted a 2 boat group of anglers from Canada on Saturday. We fished lower Tampa Bay to Terra Ceia Bay. Robert Godin and friends caught Snook, Redfish, Trout, Flounder, Sea bass and Ladyfish using DOA CAL Shad Tail Jigs and Curl Tail Jigs in Gold and Glow color

Capt. Andy Cotton
captandysguideservice.com
captacotton@gmail.com
(941) 685-9439

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Capt. Andy Cotton’s Sarasota, FL Fishing Report, 4/9/12

by on Apr.09, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Anglers fishing with me this past have caught Snook, Redfish, Spotted Seatrout, Spanish Mackeral, and Flounder.

Terry Crews of Sarasota, Fl. Had an awesome day fishing with me in Sarasota bay. We fished the flats from Bishops Pt. to Whale key and caught Spotted Seatrout, with most of these fish averaging in size of 18″ to 22″ using DOA Cal Jigs in Keylime and Stark Naked colors.

John Collins from California fished a night Snook trip with me on Sunday night. We fished the bridge fenders and dock lights in the ICW near Venice inlet aka Snook Alley. John caught and released several Snook on fly, using gurglers and Grassett’s Snook minnow fly patterns.

Kurt Tenenbaum and his father-in-law Don McGovern  fished with me on Saturday. Despite very windy conditions we fished the east side of Sarasota bay. Don caught and released spotted seatrout using spinning tackle and DOA Cal jigs. Kurt caught and released Spotted Seatrout and a nice 22 1/2″ Redfish on a Clouser minnow fly pattern.

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