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Tag: terra ceia

Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota & Terra Ceia Bay, FL Fishing Report for 2/28/2016

by on Feb.28, 2016, under Bradenton and Sarasota, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Anglers fishing with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released snook at night in the ICW near Venice on flies, trout and ladyfish in Sarasota Bay on flies and trout and redfish in Terra Ceia Bay on CAL jigs with shad tails during the past week. The best action was with snook at night and on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay with trout and ladyfish.

Jerry Poslusny, from Palmetto, FL, fished the ICW near Venice with me on Monday night. He caught and released more than 20 snook on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. We were in a good weather window between fronts and with a good tide, snook responded well by gorging themselves on glass minnows and they ate our flies just as well.

Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL and Jack McCullough, fished the Terra Ceia Bay area with me on Tuesday. We worked edges of bars and backcountry areas where they had some action with trout and a red on CAL jigs with shad tails. The next 2 days were blown out as a front passed and the wind blew 20 to 30-mph on Wednesday and Thursday.

Frank Zaffino, from Rochester, NY, and his son, Frank, from Pittsburgh, PA, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday. With the wind still at 15 to 20-mph out of the north, we headed south into Roberts Bay where they had steady action catching and releasing ladyfish and trout on Ultra Hair Clousers and my Flats Bunny flies.

Ryan Pflugner, from Sarasota, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Saturday. I found some big trout in skinny water and he had good action sight fishing them. He caught and released a couple of over slot trout and had some shots at others on my Grassett Flats Bunny fly. With bright sun and crystal clear water, it was fun to watch the trout eat a nicely presented fly!

I will be at the News Channel 8 Outdoors Expo & Boat Show (http://wfla.com/outdoors-expo-boat-show/), at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, next Sunday, March 6.  Formerly the Frank Sargeant Outdoors Show, the show is now hosted by Capt. Mike Anderson of the “Reel Animals” TV show and is the largest outdoors show in Florida. I’ll be giving a presentation on the main stage at 11:30 AM on “Fly Fishing the West Coast of Florida”. I’ll also be at the DOA Fishing Lures booth giving my friends Mark Nichols and Capt. Ed Zyak a hand, so stop by to say hello and check out the latest from DOA.

Look for reds and big trout mixed with mullet schools or cruising shallow flats and edges of bars in Sarasota Bay and backcountry areas of Charlotte Harbor and lower Tampa Bay. Catch and release night snook fishing around lighted docks and bridges in the ICW with flies and DOA Lures should be a good option. Trout, bluefish and more should also be a good option on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.snookfin-addict.com, www.snookfinaddict.com and www.flyfishingflorida.us
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
(941) 923-7799

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Capt. Ray Markham’s West Central Florida Fishing Journal- September 18, 2013

by on Sep.18, 2013, under Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

I love this time of year for fishing. Fall fishing can be some of the most explosive fishing of the year from late September through the first several cool snaps that begin dropping water temperatures down into the low 70’s. Recent observed water temperature is around 87-degrees in the Gulf and slightly warmer inside the bays. But as fall settles upon us this weekend, the face of the Suncoast will begin to change.
Shorter days and longer nights will begin the cooling of the air and water temperatures. Cooler water means more dissolved oxygen in the water and fish will be invigorated by it. The extra energy to chase down a lure will be exhibited by fish crashing a top water lure or torpedoing a jig or spoon.
The next few weeks will be prime for the remaining snook that are spawning to begin their move back up rivers, creeks, and into backcountry areas where they will hang for the winter to try and ride out the cold spells. It’s an excellent time to target these fish for catch and release, since most fish caught will be out of the slot of 28-to 33-inches in length. Careful handling of these fish is a must for survival. While they are very hearty and have a low mortality rate for release, care needs to be given to these magnificent fish that will be released. I choose to fish artificial lures and for snook, I love fishing top waters like the big Top Dog from MirrOlure, CAL Jigs with Shad tails, or a DOA Shrimp.
Big fish move into our area over the next couple of months, and lots of them. Snook, trout, redfish, flounder and more, all looking to chow down and fatten up for the winter ahead.
From Sarasota Bay from East around Tidy Island and West to the entrance of Cannon’s Marina and North to Ruskin and along the South Shore of Tampa Bay, schools of redfish and balls of trout will hold in deep potholes and on channel edges on quick dropping negative tides around new and full moons. Throw CAL Jigs and Eppinger Rex Spoons for reds in the holes and channels. Up skinny on early mornings, you can find big trout hanging in the shallows to seek harborage from predators like dolphin. These fish love a finger mullet, and few imposters are better at mimicking these baitfish than the Shallow running DOA Baitbuster and the MirrOlure MirrOmullet XL. Excellent for quiet skinny water fishing, these unassuming presentations will create some surface explosions matched by few others.
I don’t know if it’s the seasonal change in the temperature or just the ‘feel’ in the air, but you can tell it. Every year at this time, I fall in love again with a feeling– it might be the change in ambient light at the close of a day,  the glow of the sunset, or the awakening of a new day with a cool morning’s sun peeking over the Eastern horizon. Whatever it is, it’s a definite change in the air that humbles me, makes me breathe and renews my zest to fall again for fishing.

Capt. Ray Markham runs the Flat Back II out of Terra Ceia, Florida, specializing in fishing with artificial lures using light tackle spin, plug, and fly gear. A Florida native, he can be reached for charter at (941) 228-3474 or via his website at www.CaptainRayMarkham.com.

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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota & Terra Ceia Bay, FL Fishing Report for 2/2/2013

by on Feb.02, 2013, under Bradenton and Sarasota

Anglers fishing 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, Spanish mackerel and blues in Sarasota Bay and trout, reds and a pompano in the Terra Ceia Bay area on lures and flies during the past week.
Martin Marlowe, from NY, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday. We fished the west side of the bay from the Middleground flat to Buttonwood Harbor where he caught and released trout and several bluefish on Ultra Hair Clouser flies fished on a sink tip fly line. Bill and Sally Wester, from Cincinnati, OH, fished the same areas with me on Tuesday. They also caught trout and blues but on CAL jigs with shad tails.
Keith McClintock and Hal D’Orazio, both from IL, fished the Terra Ceia Bay area with me on Wednesday. With a strong front approaching, we had high winds that day so it was challenging. They had good action in the afternoon catching trout, several reds and a 4-pound pompano on CAL jigs with shad tails.
I’ll be doing a presentation on Winter Tide Tactics at the Florida Sportsman Expo at the Lee County Civic Center on Bayshore Rd. in Ft Myers this weekend, Feb 2 and 3, at noon each day. Show hours run 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3. For more details and a discount coupon, visit www.FloridaSportsman.com/Expo. I’ll also be at the DOA Fishing Lures booth before and after the presentations, so stop by to say hello or to check out the latest from DOA Lures.
The best action next week should be with trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, pompano and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Look for reds around docks, in potholes and on the edges of bars when the tide is low or on shallow flats on sunny afternoons when the tide is high.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Rick Grassett
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis- Endorsed Outfitter Guide
CB’s Saltwater Outfitters-2011 Orvis Outfitter of the Year
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
(941) 923-7799
E-mail snookfin@aol.com
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com

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The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

by on Oct.02, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Dunedin, Clearwater and Largo, Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Marco and The 10,000 Islands, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Naples, Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, St. Pete Beaches, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, The Sunshine Skyway and Beyond to Egmont, Upper Charlotte Harbor

The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

It’s been a long time coming, but the University Press of Florida has just released my second fishing book.  If you’re a native and wanting more information on the Gulf of Mexico coastline from Chassahowitzka to Chokoloskee, you need this book.  If you’re planning to winter in Florida, you need this book.  Everyone needs this book. The Table of Contents is outlined below.

To order, simply click on the link on the sidebar to the right of this page and you’ll be taken to Amazon.com.  Thanks–and enjoy!

Part One–The Destinations

1.  Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida

2.  The Upper Suncoast-Hernando and Pasco Counties

3.  Tarpon Springs and North Pinellas County

4.  St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Peninsula

5.  Old Tampa Bay, Tampa and The Bay’s Eastern Shore

6.  Manatee and Sarasota Counties-The Gateway to Tropical Florida

7.  Charlotte Harbor and Her Gulf Islands

8.  Fort Myers, Estero, Sanibel and Captiva

9.  Naples, Marco and The Ten Thousand Islands

Part Two–Practical Matters

10. It’s All About The Fish…

11. …And How to Catch Them

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Capt. Ray Markham’s West Central Florida Fishing Journal- July 29, 2012

by on Jul.30, 2012, under Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

Full moon makes for action on the rise

Over the past couple of weeks fishing has shown steady improvement. Redfish have moved back into the area in good numbers from Cockroach Bay near Ruskin to Long Bar in Sarasota Bay. We have been catching anywhere from 6 to 12 reds per trip on CAL Jigs with Shad tails in night glow/ gold holographic, MirrOlure Lil’ John Jerk Baits, and Eppinger Rex gold spoons in the half-ounce size. Water clarity has improved considerably. Along with cleaner water, our trout catches have gone up.
Due to very warm conditions, the early bite has been good up through about 9 a.m. During pre-dawn periods, top water lures are working very well for some nice trout. The MirrOlure MirrOmullet XL has been a true performer for big fish especially on the incoming tide. The finger mullet imitation has been most productive around mullet schools. An occasional snook will blast the lure too, so in anticipation of that event, I’m using 25-pound test Ande Backcountry as leader material.
After the tide has turned to head out in the afternoons and the water movement increased, so has the speckled trout bite in Terra Ceia Bay. The DOA Deadly Combo and DOA Shrimp have outpaced other baits used for trout during the outgoing tide phase. Our largest trout over the past week was 23-inches, and was caught in lower Tampa Bay near the mouth of the Manatee River.
Flounder catches have been on the rise too, with some hefty flatties to 18-inches coming on Love’s Lures and CAL Shad tails. It’s important to maintain contact with the bottom while working jigs for flounder. Allow the jig to hit bottom and then with a small snap of the rod, hop the jig off the bottom about 6-inches or so, allowing it to drop back down to the bottom, creating a small puff of sand when it touches down. It’s not necessary to use live bait to catch fish, but some anglers like to take a small bit of fresh shrimp and “tip” the jig with the shrimp. The piece of shrimp should be no larger than your small fingernail.
Recently I’ve been experimenting with some Japanese lures from the DUO company. They are still not readily available in the US market, but are making strides in that realm. These unique hard baits offer a wide array of body styles and some of the most unusual action seen from hard baits in recent years. It appears that the action could be just what fish have needed to trigger strikes. Something different, and something new. I’m still trying different hooks and weight distribution with the baits I’m working currently. I’ll feature a few of the baits in my reports with photos and availability in the US in the near future.
Bill Stivers of Sarasota with friends George and Jane Euson of Litchfield, Illinois, along with their 10-year old son, Gordy joined me the other day for a morning trip. Early on, the redfish bite was pretty strong. We were nailing reds to 23-inches for a couple of hours before the action slowed with the tide. Then we switched things up from back bay fishing to the open flats for some trout fishing. Action was steady with CAL Jigs with shad and curly tails and DOA Deadly Combos. It was a good time had by all as we capped off the trip with a couple of flounder, redfish, and some trout for dinner that night.

With the full moon approaching this week, look for the activity to increase with the changes in the tides and the solunar periods. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

Capt. Ray Markham runs the Flat Back II out of Terra Ceia, Florida, specializing in light tackle fishing using artificial lures with spin, plug, and fly tackle and can be reached for charter at (941) 228-3474. For more information, click on Capt. Markham’s website at www.CaptainRayMarkham.com

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Capt. Ray Markham’s West Central Florida Fishing Journal- June 3, 2012

by on Jun.04, 2012, under Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

Hot bite sparked by the week’s soggy ending
By Capt. Ray Markham

Mostly good steady action could describe much of this past week’s fishing with the exception of Friday’s heated action during a cool downpour. As wave after wave of rain came down in, the bite turned on. Trout provided steady blasting of top water MirrOlure Top Dogs. It was snook, trout, redfish, and flounder action non-stop for much of the day. We added small black sea bass and a few others of insignificance to the list but for the most part it was a snook, trout, and redfish day.
Buzz Minton, of Eau Claire, Wisconsin stood steadfast on the bow of my Action Craft flats boat, the Flat Back II to get slammed by snook, trout, and redfish a dozen times over, landing about 16 snook on CAL Jigs with shad tails, 12 or 13 redfish to 24-inches on the same CAL Shads and a couple of dozen trout to nearly 20-inches on the same lures. Buzz, an accomplished caster, made one accurate cast after another to small openings in the mangroves to score repeatedly with the reds and snook. I broke one big red off in the mangroves that looked to be about 38-inches long. We tried to get her out with no success before she sawed through my 12-pound Berkley Nanofil line. The barnacle encrusted prop roots of the mangroves was too much for the line, but it extended the fight an extra 10-minutes over what it would have been had I been using the equivalent size in monofilament line.
As always, we try and use lures that cover the water column to catch the fish where we find them. CAL Jigs with Shad or Curly tails can work the water column top to bottom, and is a good choice when fishing deep. For surface action, one of my go-to lures is the MirrOlure Top Dog, a big bait that catches big fish with its lound rattle and walk-the-dog action. When flash is required on those gloomy days, a favorite of mine for redfish is the Eppinger Rex Spoon in gold or copper. I start with the 1/2-ounce model and change up to a smaller 1/4-ounce version when necessary. During periods of warmer weather, larger baits seem to excel. Warm water adds more algae to the water, obscuring the fishes vision, and baits with a larger profile are easier for them to see. But as water cools and gets clear, we generally scale down the sizes of our baits. And at times, we just match the size of whatever the fish are feeding on.
Early morning water temperature in the Terra Ceia Bay and lower Tampa Bay ran about 80-degrees with the mercury topping out at about 87 most days. With temps running that high, it’s definitely time to consider fishing the coolest hours of the day for the best success. Outgoing late afternoon/ evening this week will be in the negative range dropping water levels down to nothing in some areas. Dry bay bottom exposed by these full moon low tides provide some good opportunities to do some exploring and see where new sand bars are forming and where potholes that hold fish on these lows are. This is the best time to get the “lay of the land”.
The week also provides and exceptional opportunity to go do some shrimping. Catching a 5-gallon bucket full of live jumbo shrimp is a doable thing on the evening outgoing tide. The full moon in June is also a spawning period for shrimp, and some of the largest shrimp of the year will be available for the next week or so. Shrimp that are in the 5 to 6-inch size range are about average for this time of year. All you need is a head lamp, much like the miners use to mine coal, a long handled fine mesh dip net, like those sold at F.I.S.H in Madeira Beach for about $10.00, a pair of sneakers, a cooler with a saltwater ice slurry, and a fishing license and you’re ready to go wading and dipping for some shrimp. Some can fill their limit around the Bunces Pass area in about 2-hours when the tide is running hard.
I’ll be heading to Jensen Beach at the River Palm Cottages and Fish Camp by week’s end to represent the Manatee County CCA Chapter in the
CCA All-release Inter-Chapter Challenge. The tournament is made up of teams from each chapter around the state representing their area and fishing with artificial lures to catch snook, trout, and redfish, photograph them on measuring boards, and releasing the fish. Anglers scores are by the total inches caught of each fish by each team for each species, plus a Grand Slam award and the top trophy award for the team with the largest Grand Slam caught, (snook, trout, and redfish).
After that, River Palm Cottages and Fish Camp will host the DOA Outdoor Writer’s Festival with top outdoor writers and DOA guides from around the country fishing for all species that the area holds. Keep your eyes peeled in future fishing publications for photos and stories from some of the top writer’s in the country as they showcase the variety and sizes of some of the fish caught on DOA Lures from this prime habitat. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

Capt. Ray Markham runs the Flat Back II out of Terra Ceia, Florida on lower Tampa Bay specializing in artificial baits fished on light tackle using spin, plug, and fly equipment. He can be reached for charter at (941) 228-3474 or via email at Ray.Markham@gmail.com.

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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
(941) 685-9439

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Full moon winds up another Grand Slam week in Tampa Bay, 5/5/12, By Ray Markham

by on May.07, 2012, under Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

I’m still running inshore trips, but tarpon season is upon us, and my first tarpon trips of the week will begin next week. The full moon on Saturday created some extreme high tides in the early afternoon, followed by some super low water late in the day.  Most of my trips started in the predawn hours on the flats with topwater lures. The MirrOmullet XL accounted for the largest trout of the week at 23-inches. Reds and snook hammered the CAL Shad, Jerk bait, and Lil’ John Jerk bait from MIrrOlure. Mouths of creeks provided some excellent action where baitfish congregated. Water temperatures ended up a full moon week at 84-degrees in Terra Ceia and lower Tampa Bays this week. Early morning temps were at about 79-degrees, and the fish love this weather. We’re seeing some larger snook on the flats right now as they migrate toward the passes and beaches to spawn. Careful release of these fish will make for a good spawning season this summer. Some days we saw some wind but for the most part days were easily fishable for snook, trout, redfish, and flounder, all of which were caught aboard my boat, the Flat Back II.

Several lures were consistent producers. CAL Shads, CAL Jerk baits rigged on 1/16-ounce jig heads, MirrOlure Lil’ John Jerk baits rigged on 1/16-ounce CAL jig heads, Eppinger Rex Spoons, and the MirrOlure MirrOmullet XL. I’m fishing the CAL Shads on ¼-ounce jig heads for the extra casting distance. I’ll work these lures faster than the jerk baits for reaction strikes from snook, trout, and redfish. For our flounder, a little slower presentation on the bottom is required.

With tarpon season upon us, things are beginning to crank up in lower Tampa Bay over hard bottom areas and around the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Saturday, boat traffic was at a noticable increase as anglers tarpon fishing around the bridge kicked off the Suncoast Tarpon Roundup. Well over a dozen boats were tarpon fishing around the big span. Scattered hard bottom between the Skyway and Bean Point offer some good action as well. I’ll be looking for poons somewhere in between.

Capt. Ray Markham runs the Flat Back II out of Terra Ceia. He specializes in light tackle fishing with spin, plug, and fly tackle using artificial lures and can be reached for charter at (941) 228-3474

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Lower Tampa Bay Fishing Report, 2/25/12, from Capt. Ray Markham

by on Feb.26, 2012, under Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

Spring is in the air and water

By Capt. Ray Markham

Anglers fishing aboard my 1820 Action Craft Flatsmaster SE Hybrid, the Flat Back II reeled in Inshore Grand Slams of snook, trout, and redfish this week, while fishing the waters of Terra Ceia Bay.  The single most important feature in our fishing over the past month has been the extraordinarily high water temperature we’re encountering in the bay and near shore waters.  This week I encountered water temperatures up to 74.9-degrees on the flats in the early afternoon hours.  Normally our water temperature inshore in the warmest areas will hit the low 60’s for an afternoon high temperature.  These kinds of conditions are normally are seen in late April and May.  With that said, I’m using my late spring tactics in lure choice for the species we’re targeting.

While winter fishing, I would throw the DOA Shrimp most times because shrimp are what most fish inshore are feeding on, and it’s the most prevalent bait on the flats and backcountry.  Right now, I’m throwing CAL Jerk baits and MirrOlure Lil’ John Jerk baits rigged on either very light jig heads or a CAL Long Neck worm hook to imitate the needlefish on the flats and at canal, creek, and river mouths.  Big trout love these and will devour them, given the chance.  On the open flats, I’ll work the CAL Shad rigged on a ¼-ounce jig head for trout, flounder, redfish, and snook.  These lures look like glass minnows or killifish, favorite baits for about everything that swims inshore right now.  The CAL Shad caught some nice reds and snook this week.

For some really fun action, nothing beats topwater lure fishing.  Watching big fish blast a lure out of the water and take off with it in its mouth is well worth the price of admission.  For these lures, I choose baitfish imitations that are similar to menhaden, finger mullet, small trout, or scaled sardines.  One of my go-to lures is the MirrOlure Top Dog, a large walking lure.  The veteran of the bunch for big gator trout is the 5M MirrOlure propeller bait.  These lures make some extreme surface commotion, creating flash, foam, spray, and sound, and will attract some huge trout.  Our largest trout this week was a hefty fish taping out at about 22-inches.  A nrumber of trout over 20-inches were caught.  One of my criteria for lure choice is water temperature.  With spring-like conditions and water temperatures pushing 75-degrees, fish will feed on the surface on the flats in depths up to 4 or 5 feet deep.  The Shallow Running DOA Baitbuster can produce some impressive speckled trout too when fishing the early hours of the day in less than a foot of water.

The weather for this February is nothing like it normally is, but then again, neither is the fishing.  Spring time fishing is spectacular, and this is what we’re experiencing right now.  I anticipate this action to continue and even to improve over the next several months, when eyes turn to the silver king!  ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

Capt. Ray Markham runs the Flat Back II out of Terra Ceia, specializing in light tackle fishing with artificial lures using spin, plug, and fly tackle and can be reached for charter at (941) 228-3474.

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West Central Florida Fishing Journal December 11, 2011 By Capt. Ray Markham

by on Dec.12, 2011, under Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

A few days either side of the full moon can be a great time to fish on the low tides, but navigation can be tough and even hazardous at times unless you know the waters well.  This past weekend’s full moon along with some winds from the northeast blew Tampa Bay waters out to negative lows greater than the predicted levels, forcing fish into potholes and into channel edges.
Water temperatures dropped into the low-to mid-60’s over the weekend, with morning temps at 64 and afternoon hitting 68 degrees in some areas.  I had been hearing from a few anglers about a good top water bite, and decided to throw some lures to see if I could get something going.  With the low temperatures I didn’t expect much action in the morning, and figured the afternoon bite would be the time for some action.  Fish were lethargic, and wouldn’t chase many lures on top.  I normally wouldn’t throw top waters with water temps this low, but it was worth a try.
When waters are cool and clear, I scale down the size of lures I tie on and lighten and lengthen my leaders.  I worked the MirrOmullet XL and MirrOlure She Pup, both small walking baits that imitate a baitfish like a mullet.  The results were about what we expected.  Slow action but steady, that produced small trout and redfish.  The more aggressive fish were near the bottom, and that was evident when we tied on CAL Jigs with Shad tails that produced some nice trout, flounder, and ladyfish.
Over the week’s fishing, smaller reds moved into the lower Tampa Bay area, and it seems like most flounder we were catching were smaller as well.  Pre-full moon flounder were much larger and contained roe.  No females with roe were caught on Sunday, on the post-full moon bite, making me think that those ready to spawn, did it over the weekend during the full moon.
We will have some excellent tide periods throughout this week, that should produce some exciting feeding periods.  I have a few open days before the New Year, for those looking to get out and wet a line.

Capt. Ray Markham runs the Flat Back II out of Terra Ceia specializing in fishing with artificial lures using light tackle. He can be reached for charter via email at Ray.Markham@gmail.com or on his cell at (941) 228-3474.

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