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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: fishing report

“Warmer than normal weather pushing fish ahead of schedule?” April 1, 2012, from Capt. Ray Markham

by on Apr.02, 2012, under Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

Whether or not you think fish are ahead of schedule, only the fish can say for sure.  Trout are right in line for a normal spring, and that includes the normal water temperature range for what we ‘normally’ see as an average spring here. Baitfish schools have actually arrived early, by at least a month or so, and so have tarpon. While the big schools of poons that we normally see in June and July have yet to arrive, fish are being caught in some of the usual haunts you’ll find them in June. The Skyway Bridge area has been a hot spot for early birds looking to catch tarpon here.
Along with the baitfish schools, in come Spanish and King mackerel schools, and boy howdy have the shown up! Lots of big mackerel in the 5-pound size range are here. Average fish are running anywhere from 18-to 24-inches in length. From the beaches, to the artificial reefs, to patches of hard bottom scattered over lower Tampa Bay, loads of big macks are being caught on Gotcha Jigs, Clark and Eppinger Rex Spoons, and CAL Jigs with Shad tails. Along with the Spanish, plenty of bluefish are mixed in to provide some action along with lots of cutoffs from their razor sharp teeth. A trace of light wire has helped prevent lure losses but have also slowed the bite just a bit. Long shank jig heads by DOA CAL help prevent some losses.  Kings are being caught offshore and all the way out the Egmont Ship’s Channel for trollers dragging both hardware and live baits.
Fly anglers who tie glass minnow patterns on long shank hooks will have a field day with Spanish mackerel, but on occasion, macks will hit the line, and that can ruin an expensive line, so I usually recommend that guys who bring their own fly rods to fish, bring an old floating weight forward or sink tip line to fish these fish. A wire trace can also help prevent cutoffs but the long shank hook is the best bet here. These fish have a lot of spunk and will take you into the backing in no time with a 6 or 8 wt. rod, but rods in these weights are perfect for the majority of the fish we have been encountering.
Inside Terra Ceia Bay, we are catching plenty of trout, with many well over the 20-inch max size limit. An assortment of lures is working. CAL Jigs with Shad tails, DOA Deadly Combos, MirrOlure Top Dogs, MirrOlure MirrOdines, and MirrOlure Lil’ John jerk baits have all produced some nice trout.  I still believe some of the biggest speckled trout of the year are yet to come. Fish with roe are just beginning to show and that’s a sign that the spawning fish are moving in. That could increase by this coming Friday around the full moon and over the next month.
Redfish have shown their finicky side on more than one occasion over the past couple of weeks but we’ve usually had some nice mid-slot fish to show for our efforts. CAL Shads and Eppinger Rex gold ½-ounce spoons have been the top red getters this week.
Good catches of flounder around 15-to 18-inches were caught by anglers aboard the Flat Back II. Most are coming on DOA Shrimp fished on the bottom and CAL Jigs with curly tails–all in the night glow color.

Capt. Ray Markham specializes in light tackle backcountry, inshore, and nearshore fishing charters using artificial lures with spin, plug, and fly tackle. He runs the Flat Back II, a custom 1820 Action Craft Hybrid, powered by Yamaha out of Terra Ceia.

He can be reached for charter at (941) 228-3474 or via email at Ray.Markham@gmail.com or flatback@tampabay.rr.com.

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota Fishing Report for 4/1/2012

by on Apr.02, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Anglers fishing Sarasota Bay with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released mostly trout, including numerous slot size trout and some silver trout, on flies and jigs during the past week.
We had a couple of slower days during the week, but in addition to trout we also caught and released a nice flounder, redfish and snook on flies. Although action was slow for us on Monday, we did catch and release a 5 ¼-pound trout on a CAL jig with a shad tail near Whale Key that day. Longboat Key winter resident Nick Reding and Greg Geoffroy, from IA, fished with me on Tuesday. We waded several bars on both sides of Sarasota Bay and they caught and released a few trout and a nice flounder on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly. Bill Moore, from IL, had a good trip when he fished Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday. He caught and released silver and spotted trout to 18” on CAL jigs with shad and 4” jerk worm tails at the Marina Jack and Middleground flats and near Whale Key.
The action was also good on Thursday morning when Anna Maria Island and Sarasota winter residents, Bill Morrison and Gary Marple, fished Sarasota Bay with me. We fished the same areas as the day before and they caught and released numerous spotted and silver trout to 18” on Ultra Hair Clouser flies. Despite good action in the morning that afternoon was slow. Longboat Key and Sarasota winter residents, Nick Reding and Mike Perez, waded several spots in Sarasota Bay with me on Friday. We caught and released trout to 18”, a 23” snook and a red on my Grassett Flats Minnow and a Lefty’s Deceiver fly.
Reds and trout may be found along shallow edges of flats and bars or in potholes when the tide is low or along mangrove shorelines when the tide is high. Look for trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, ladyfish or pompano over deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Spanish and king mackerel, false albacore (little tunny), tripletail and more may be good options in the coastal gulf.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
(941) 923-7799
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, 4/1/12, from Capt. William Toney

by on Apr.01, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

It’s great to be able to fish enough that I have a name for a certain school of redfish in the Ozello area because I stop by and visit them so much. My name for the school of reds is “Lessons in Frustration”. I believe the name says it all and I’ve even threaten to get them in non sporting ways, but I have learned from them and enjoy going to they’re classroom.
Some of the things I have learned from these fish is that they are pressured. Some by anglers, some from trolling motors and some from airboats. The best approach to even have the faintest shot at catching one is to drift or pole your boat in. Lesson 1. Don’t rock the boat, slam a hatch lid, wear fluorescence shirts and wave a fishing pole above your head. Lesson 2. Try to read the body language of the fish, are they “flashing” meaning rolling against the bottom because those fish will eat. If you make eye contact do they take off to the next zip code because they’re boogered up. Lesson 3. Use the right bait, if they run from the shrimp it’s pretty obvious shrimp are not going to work. Try a pinfish or a lure till’ you have a positive reaction to the right color.
Today at “Lesson in Frustration” my clients and I caught a redfish there and how we did it was with a Eppinger spoon cast where the water was just slightly darker than the surrounding water. You might say hey Capt. Will your a fool for wasting so much time on fish that won’t eat. Maybe I am, but that one redfish helped us catch 10 more at another location that came to mind because it has the same slightly darker water. Lesson learned!
Trout fishing has been excellent inshore and out in the Bombing Range. With this weeks tides I recommend starting in the Bombing Range using MirrOlure LIL’ Johns and D.O.A. CAL shads on a 1/4 oz. jighead. The rockpiles are holding most of the fish like trout, bluefish, seabass, flounder and spanish mackerel. As the tide moves in, fish the area around the Bird Rack for more trout and then after lunch fish the inside keys to catch some redfish. High incoming tide this weekend will be around 12pm.
Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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Cedar Key Fishing Report from Capt. Jimbo Keith, 3/27/12

by on Mar.28, 2012, under Cedar Key

Hey there folks hope y’all had a good week. This has got to be my favorite time of year. The Turkeys are gobbling and the gulf is alive. Man have we been catching the trout. Most of which were caught under the Cajun Thunder Corks. As the tide would get high we would switch to just a plain Saltwater Assassin jig. This technique works well when the water is deeper than 5 feet.
We also have been catching fare amounts of Spanish.  They were also caught on these techniques.
Our Red Fish have slowed down a bit. No one really knows why but we expect it to pick up any time. If you’re looking to go fishing get in touch with your favorite fishing guide and get a date booked. The weather is nice and they might not have many dates left. Until next time we’ll see you on the water.

Capt.Jimbo Keith
(352)535-5083
www.cedarkeycaptainjim.com

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Capt. Ray Markham’s West Central Florida Fishing Journal- March 25, 2012

by on Mar.26, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

Anglers aboard the Flat Back II this week caught snook, trout, and redfish while fishing inside Terra Ceia and south Tampa Bays.  Prior to the front that blew in Saturday night and Sunday morning, consistent action with trout, redfish, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and black seabass was the norm.  But after the front passed redfish became very picky.  Still, it was not a big temperature drop, since water temps in the afternoon on Sunday rose to a lofty 80.7 degrees in parts of lower Tampa Bay.

Throwing an assortment of MirrOlures, Eppinger Rex Spoons, and even my Old Faithful, CAL Shad produced lackluster results immediately after the front, and I attributed it to a drop in barometric pressure that was prolonged.  Redfish would hump up on lures and follow them all the way to the boat, but wouldn’t always hit.  I will generally switch colors first when fish follow and won’t eat.  If that doesn’t work, I downsize my bait to see if that will get the bite going, but after the front, we watched in amazement at least 30 redfish following our lures to the boat without taking them.  Snook, on the other hand, did not hesitate to slam the CAL Shad.  We caught some spotted seatrout right after the front as by-catch, since we were targeting snook and redfish making a “boat slam”.

Coming off last week’s new moon, we can expect a monster outgoing tide late at night around the midnight hour.  This is prime time for nocturnal fish, like snook to come out and feed.  Small baitfish patterns like the MirrOlure MirrOdine and CAL Shad produced very well, as did the DOA Shrimp.

Fly anglers experienced a nice bite on topwater poppers and sliders.  Red head poppers with white marabou bodies produced well for trout.  Most topwater action was early in the day just after sunrise in less than 3-feet of water, but the largest trout came from small potholes in about a foot of water surrounded by grass.

The action should be back to normal after a day or two past the front.   ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

Capt. Ray Markham specializes in light tackle and fly fishing with artificial lures.  He runs the Flat Back II out of Terra Ceia and can be reached for charter at (941) 723-2655 home, or (941) 228-3474 cell, or email at ray.markham@gmail.com

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Report, 3/24/12, from Capt. William Toney

by on Mar.25, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

There is all sorts of great fishing action here on the Nature Coast in Citrus County. If it is a species that roams the nearshore waters of the Gulf then it’s a good chance you can catch it now.
On the high incoming tides redfish are on the rocky points of most keys in the Chassahowitzka NWR, Pea Pass and Fish Creek. Eppinger Rex spoons have been a great bait as with cut lady fish and live shrimp. Before you ice down 2 legal redfish per angler in your boat, take a minute to think about this – do you have the most fun catching that fish or cooking it ? One upper slot redfish will make a great meal for two adults and if we limit our take then I believe we’ll have plenty of redfish for the future.
Trout fishing is as good as it gets and there are two choices on where you can catch them. On the shallow rocks in Homosassa Bay and around St. Martins Keys the D.O.A. 5.5 jerk bait and the MirrOlure She Dog top water plug are getting the big trout. This past week  with clients fishing the Black Diamond catch and release photo tournament. We caught a 27″  7 lb. gator trout on the D.O.A. glow jerk bait sight casting in 15″ of water. The fish was released in excellent condition and was very heavy with roe.
The other trout spot is in the Foul Area and expect the trout to have company like, blue fish, sea bass, flounder, pompano, spanish mackerel, small gag grouper and grey grunts. Long drift’s across broken bottom is the best way to get into the action but if you catch multiple fish in one spot anchor down and stay with them. The best baits have been MirrOlure LIL’ Johns and the new D.O.A. Tandem Rigs.
Reports of a good Kingfish run out in 25′ to 30′ have been coming in along with a spattering of some big cobia. If you do make a offshore run check the stone crab buoys for tripletail, a local stone crabber told me about that! Look for high incoming tide in the morning this weekend. Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota & Gasparilla Sound, FL Fishing Report for 3/25/2012

by on Mar.25, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Siesta Key to Boca Grande

Anglers fishing Sarasota Bay and Gasparilla Sound with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released trout and reds on flies and jigs during the past week.
We fished the Marina Jack and Middleground flats and near Whale Key in Sarasota Bay on Sunday and Wednesday of last week and caught and released silver and spotted sea trout to 19” on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos. Paul Denesha and his son, Avery, from IN, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Tuesday morning. We focused on potholes in skinny water near Long Bar where they caught and released 7 or 8 trout on a Deceiver fly and a CAL jig with a shad tail. St. Pete winter resident, Wes Demmon, fished Sarasota Bay with me that afternoon. With the sea breeze and tide up, we fished skinny water on the west side of the bay. Wes caught and released 5 reds to 23” and a few trout near Bishop Point and Buttonwood Harbor on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos. A great afternoon!
Harry Beaty and Chris Denney, from Ontario, Canada, fished Gasparilla Sound with me on Friday. They had good action near Sandfly and Devilfish Keys with trout to 22” on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos. Harry also caught a 22” red on a CAL jig with a shad tail in Turtle Bay.
Reds and trout may be found along shallow edges of flats and bars or in potholes when the tide is low or along mangrove shorelines when the tide is high. Look for trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, ladyfish or pompano over deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Catch and release night snook fishing in the ICW should also be a good option.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
(941) 923-7799
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com

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Crystal River Fishing Report, 3/19/12, from Capt. Kyle Messier

by on Mar.19, 2012, under Ozello to Crystal River

Over the last few weeks anglers fishing the Nature Coast of Florida have been extremely blessed with great weather and some unbelievable fishing action. To say that I am surprised at how well the beginning of Spring has been over the recent weeks still remains an understatement. With water temperatures hitting the magical mark of 69 degrees weeks earlier during this New Year plenty of species are reaping the benefits of our great weather situation, but none more so than the Redfish.

Tons of Speckled Trout, Pompano, and Spanish Mackerel are making their mark on our local flats at the moment but the crown jewel of the both the Crystal River and Homosassa areas is the UNBELIEVABLE Redfish action that is occurring as we speak.
Schools of 40-70+ fish are scattered all over the local flats and backcountry bays and with most of these fish in the upper slot to way outside the 27” slot there is a fish memory to be had with every hook up.

Over the recent weeks we have used a variety of techniques to target and land some of these hefty Redfish. Live Shrimp, Pinfish, Cut Mullet and a variety of lures have yielded some great catches but I have found that going old school and throwing extremely light lines with larger Gold and Silver Spoons has produced the best catches to date. What does a spoon imitate you may ask? I have been trying to figure that one out for years but I am assuming the flash mimics some type of injured bait fish and these fish are drawn to the flash and vibration.

During a recent trip I had the opportunity to fish Larry and Rob Wolcott. We spent the early morning hours trying to sight fish some of these large schooling Redfish using both Shrimp and Jigs. After spending about an hour watching these fish basically swim over and around our rigs we made the decision to anchor way off of some of these schools and throw spoons to the WAVE (That’s right a wave of fish!) of fish as they swam down the shore line. For those of you that may not be aware of the situation Spoons can be casted a mile and only need a basic retrieve to be successful. Our first attempt at this technique proved unsuccessful as we both panicked and hit 2 of the lead fish on the head (it’s a wonder we didn’t give those 2 fish concussions). But the second go was a success as Rob landed his Spoon at a great intercept point and was rewarded with his first and biggest Redfish to date.

The great part of that story is that there are many more where that came from and there will be even more as the week’s progress. If you have ever had the opportunity to look at a satellite map of the Crystal River and Homosassa areas you would see that there are thousands and thousands of unspoiled islands, creeks, and coves that make up the landscape of our area. It’s this vast amount of real estate that allows us to have one of the best Redfisheries in the state and I enjoy showcasing it on a daily basis.

Capt. Kyle Messier
(352) 634-4002
kylemessier@yahoo.com
WWW.FLORIDAFISHINGADVENTURES.COM
WWW.CRYSTALRIVER-FLYFISHING.COM

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Venice/Placida/Englewood Fishing Report, March 18, 2012, from Capt. Van Hubbard

by on Mar.18, 2012, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande

Venice weather is great and fishing is fine.
We are enjoying blue skies and crystal clear waters from Boca Grande up thru Englewood and North to Venice. I am fishing south one day and north the next following the fish along their migrations. Bait fish are not easy but available most days; I did struggle last Friday morning but found some in the afternoon? Backwards but glad to get em. Our fishing has been very good most trips and challenging on a couple. Fish are not acting normal yet; my guess is the unusually warm weather is confusing fish too? I’m just glad it’s warm; we have bait and many species of fish with visitors anxious fish. Dolphins and manatees are every where for additional entertainment!
Spanish and king mackerel are appearing most trips. Numbers are not consistent but we always find some action around the near shore artificial reefs. We use minnows and a chum bag to attract and hold feeding fish near by. It’s exciting to see feeding fish chase baits right by the boat in the clear water. You never know what you’ll see also; cobia, jacks, mackerel, tunny, sharks, barracuda, and more!
Several times we even caught a fine mess of flounder by bottom fishing with minnows and cut baits on light spinning gear. Baitfishes frequently swarm our chum bag and draw the big ones right in to us. Try not to jerk your hook away before they close their mouths!
If snook and redfish are your thing we have enjoyed some great snook action and a few redfish with lots of trout mixed in. now that we have minnows and warmer waters the fish are on the move. This is an awesome time to experience or Gulf Coast fabulous Spring fishing. We have had some winds but days start of calm and a breeze from the East until later in the afternoon when it shifts to the westerly seas breeze. The breeze keeps it from getting hot and my T-Top provides shade if you want it. The technique here is to fish lively minnows with or without a small cork. I use a Bleeding Bait Circle hook to attract the fish with a Target Bead strategically placed about a quarter inch past the barb to prevent double hooking the minnow. My Daiichi hooks are the sharpest made and work great plus protect fish we want to release unharmed! Snook are closed but everything else we fish is open.
Tarpon are due soon if weather patterns hold and they should. A few are already showing up around Boca Grande Pass and south. I expect good action early with great odds locally by mid April!
I am going to need to adjust my rates very soon to compensate for crazy fuel costs; so don’t wait to book your trips. Sometimes it works out last minute so always contact me to see but reservations are best. Thank you. Let’s Go Fishin’ now! Captain Van Hubbard.  <www.captvan.com>

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“Persistence on slow tide days lead to good catches”–a Tampa Bay Fishing Report, 3/18/12, By Capt. Ray Markham

by on Mar.18, 2012, under Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

Slower tides this week made for a little slower action most days, but still with diligence, anglers aboard the Flat Back II were able to score some impressive catches of fish.  Variety of fish caught was also a real plus.  Most days were spent targeting a number of different species.  Among those caught were snook, trout, redfish, flounder, black sea bass, Spanish mackerel, gag grouper, and ladyfish.
Trout were mostly targeted in areas where there was some tide flow, grass patches, and good depth.  Most trout were caught in 4-to 8-feet of water in lower Tampa Bay and Terra Ceia Bay.  Shallower depths prompted me to tie on either a DOA Shrimp, DOA Deadly Combo, or a Paul Brown Original lure.  Each lure met with good success.  It seems that a pretty strong puffer bite was on as well, as many soft plastic baits were chomped into oblivion.  Deeper depths called for plugs or lures that would sink to a greater depth or speed.  DOA Deep running Baitbusters, CAL Jigs with Shad tails rigged on quarter ounce CAL Jigheads and MirrOlure TTR26 lures scored big catches of nice trout.  The CAL Shad also put black sea bass, Spanish mackerel, snook, gag grouper, redfish, flounder, and ladyfish in the boat.  It proved again to be the most versatile lure used.
Fly anglers using Clouser Deep Minnows on 8 wt. rods did well with trout fishing over grass beds in lower Tampa Bay near Emerson Point.  Sink tip lines or full floating lines with 9-foot leaders that were allowed to sink at least 5 feet put the fly down where these fish were hanging.
Persistence was the key to catching fish on these slow tide days.  Signs of good quantities of baitfish on the flats and in deeper depths makes me think we’re right on the verge of a fishing explosion here on the West Coast.  Reports of excellent catches of kingfish are coming in from offshore anglers.  I’m expecting to see tarpon in greater numbers just about any time.  Water temperature is hitting the mid-70’s now and that’s just about prime time for just about everything to show up.
Capt. Ray Markham specializes in light tackle backcountry, inshore, and nearshore fishing charters using artificial lures with spin, plug, and fly tackle and runs the Flat Back II, a custom 1820 Action Craft Flatsmaster SE Hybrid powered by Yamaha out of Terra Ceia. He can be reached for charter at (941) 228-3474 or via email at flatback@tampabay.rr.com or Ray.Markham@gmail.com.

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