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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: venice

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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Capt. Rick Grassett’s Sarasota & Venice, FL Fishing Report for 3/17/2012

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

Anglers fishing Sarasota Bay, Little Sarasota Bay, Blackburn Bay and the ICW near Venice 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, trout, Spanish mackerel, pompano, flounder, redfish and a small cobia on flies and jigs during the past week.
Bill Van Horne, from Sterling, IL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday afternoon. With a poor tide and a forecast for windy conditions in the morning, we chose to fish the better conditions in the afternoon. He caught and released numerous trout on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos fishing deep grass flats along the east side of bay. Bill finished the day with 3 nice reds caught and released on a CAL jig with a shad tail in very skinny water at the top of the tide.
Siesta Key winter resident Martin Marlowe and his son, Bruce from RI, fished Blackburn and Little Sarasota Bays and the ICW near Venice with me on Tuesday afternoon and night. They caught and released 7 or 8 snook and a few trout and ladyfish on Ultra Hair Clouser and my Snook Minnow flies. Martin also fished with me on Friday and we caught and released a few trout, ladyfish, a nice Spanish mackerel and a small cobia on flies and CAL jigs with shad tails in Sarasota Bay.
Mary Smiley, from Sarasota, and Linda Foy, from Twin Bridges, MT, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday. Linda hooked a big Spanish mackerel on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly and the fish ran so fast that the handle broke off the reel when it was bumped! They caught and released a few trout and a pompano on Ultra Hair Clouser flies at several deep grass flats on both sides of the bay. Mike and Roxanne Beshoar, from WA, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday. They caught and released a flounder, Spanish mackerel, pompano and trout to 4-pounds on CAL jigs with shad tails at various deep grass flats on both sides of the bay.
Reds and trout may be found along shallow edges of flats and bars 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. Spanish mackerel and bluefish may be found in passes especially when the tide is strong. Spanish 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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Captain Van Hubbard’s fishing report for Venice to Boca Grande, Fl. 2012-1-27

by on Jan.28, 2012, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande

2012-1-27 Another beautiful week in Venice, Fl. paradise.

The weather has been awesome and fishing continues to get better each week.  We caught pompano, trout, redfish, sheepshead and snook this past week. Each day was a little different but all were good. Of course we have some ladyfish and other species to help add action in between the gamefish. Fishing has not been fast and furious like spring time yet but we are usually catching at least twenty fish and some days many more. We had two on at a time, “double headers” of trout, snook, and ladyfish several times this past week. With the fair weather more folks seem to be deciding to go fish this year. Maybe our economy is improving finally because I am defiantly doing more trips this season.  I’m sure the warm sunny days help too.
I was presently surprised to find minnows abundant on both Wednesday and Thursday’s trips. Finding whitebait and threadfins in January is most unusual, go figure? We did manage to catch some bigger trout, up to twenty-four inches, and nice reds plus several snook on Thursday with the minnows. Shrimp under rattle corks has been the ticket most days. The trick seams to be to make noise with the corks with short, sharp jerks every minute or so. The bubbles and noise seems to really help call fish in;  if it’s not slick calm. Very calm days are more challenging so take it easy. I am using the electric motor frequently to move along shorelines and edges quietly. We pick up a few fish and move downwind a little every twenty minutes or so.
The few delicious pompano we did get were just mixed in while we were trout fishing deeper edges. Sheepshead are not thick yet but improving and should get much better if things cool off. They can be tricky to catch but eat great. We did get a windy front with some rain this AM which will bring temps back to normal; like lows in the fifties and highs into the mid and upper seventies.
Water temps ranged from low sixties early in the week to over seventy degrees in protected waters yesterday. My guess is this is why some snook bit once in a while.
I did see a few very small mackerel and little tunny striking in the minnows early mornings in the near shore Gulf, but the winds picked up so we did not get to try them outside last week. If the weather does not run those minnows south we could enjoy some unusual but wonderful action next month. We didn’t get any flounder last week because we were not jigging any. The corks kept our presentations above the grass in front of trout but away from flat bottom fish.
If warmer weather continues expect to see migratory action early this spring and summer. Please set up your snook, kingfish, and tarpon trips as soon as you can to insure your preferred dates. Life is great from Boca Grande to my south, up thru Englewood and north to Venice right now; and I’m smiling right here in the middle! Stump Pass and Lemon Bay waters have been clear and fishy so far this year.
Thank you and Let’s Go Fishin’ soon. Captain Van Hubbard  <www.captvan.com>

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Venice/Placida/Englewood Fishing Report, 1/18/11, from Capt. Van Hubbard

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

We are still enjoying great weather and good fishing.

Our days have mostly been warm and sunny with temperatures frequently up almost to eighty degrees. The Gulf has been stirred up for a few days sometimes but settles fast; I fish mostly inside now anyway. Boat traffic is up with many folks cruising south to Boca Grande or north to Venice for lunch or dinner excursions, so we lots of different rigs daily. With the colder weather up north we have plenty of migratory birds that add entertainment to our outings.
We have caught a good variety recently including; snook, redfish, trout, pompano, ladyfish, sheepshead, catfish, etc… While the bite is not red hot like summertime action we have managed several double headers of snook, trout, and ladyfish this week.  Our best action has been on warmer afternoons recently but that is because of cooler morning last week. Live shrimp have been the bait for most catches. We did get some pompano on jigs with shrimp treats.  The rattle corks are the ticket right now, just remember to make noise with the corks and keep our feet quiet.  Fish have been in unusual places recently and they keep moving around, it’s challenging everyday but fun.
With the winter staying so mild so far my guess is we should have an early spring. So please don’t wait too long to set up your March thru June fishing dates. Folks are starting to realize dates around Easter, Spring Break, and such go fast. It has been good to see snook while looking around and on our lines recently. We can not eat them anytime soon but we sure enjoy playing with em, they put a big smile on Alex’s face on Monday afternoon.
The dolphin, eagles, and other birds offer some memorable moments on most trips. The manatees are hiding back in the deeper protected waters right now but all the other critters are adding frequent smiles to our excursions. White pelicans are very abundant right now for example. We saw huge column of what I believe was sparrows on Monday down by Cape Haze near Englewood.
Tarpon and snook fishing, plus the big Spring migration of mackerel, sharks etc… will be here before you ready so get prepared now. Thank you for your support.

Captain Van Hubbard <www.captvan.com>

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Happy New Year 2012 and great fishing from Captain Van Hubbard, Placida/Venice/Englewood

by on Dec.27, 2011, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande

Weather and fishing are great down here in Venice and Boca Grande, Florida.

I can not remember this good of weather from the Christmas Holidays and I’ve been guiding along this Gulf Coast for more than thirty-five years now. Our fishing is good too. On trips just before and since Christmas we caught snook, redfish, trout, pompano, mackerel, sheepshead, flounder and a variety of fun fish. While the winds have backed off several days fishing inside is so good we haven’t even traveled outside into the Gulf recently. I did hear about a few tripletails but some ridding to locate them. It’s time to begin to think about setting up our Summer snook and tarpon trips if you want to get in on the action for May and June? I’m sure we’ll get some cooler weather soon but we things to cool down some because eighties everyday was hot! I am excited about the New Year and all the opportunities it brings. I am thankful for all the blessings and good catching I enjoyed with many of you last year. It’s great to live here and be able to share this amazing area with visitors.

Don DeCessna and sons Brad and Jack plus grandson John joined me for their annual Christmas fishing trip. The ladies always send tasty cookies so we try to get a mess of fish to treat them. This year it was easy, they had redfish, pompano, and sheepshead to enjoy. Jack caught a nice trout we released but remember that trout opens on New Years and will not be closed in the future! I’m not seeing the larger reds now but several from about eighteen to twenty-two inches.

Reds and trout have been cooperating most of the time. These low tides help concentrate fish because the flats are bare most mornings this week. Warmer waters are providing more snook than we usually catch now. We are catching few mackerel and most days several pompano if we target them.

Spring and Summer fishing will be here before we know it so think about your catch and release snook and tarpon fishing because it’s time to set up your dates and reserve em. Who knows how soon they could come if it stays mild?

I am looking forward to New Years and keeping speckled trout next week! I hope you can find time to get down here and enjoy some of our weather and fishing soon. Captain Van Hubbard

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Capt. Andy Cotton’s Sarasota/Venice Fishing Report, 12/10/11 to 12/15/11

by on Dec.18, 2011, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Siesta Key to Boca Grande

Angler Josh Hund from Sarasota fished with me and had good success in Sarasota Bay. Where plenty of action was found around Stephens Pt. and Long bar Fishing the deeper grass flats in 4-6 feet of water produced most of the fish.
Josh caught Spotted Seatrout to 19″, Ladyfish, Jacks and the bonus of the day was a nice Pompano using DOA Cal shad tail jigs in Greene and Glow/ Goldrush colors.

Night Snook fishing was on fire Thursday night. Sarasota resident Jerimiah Acevedo joined me for his first Night Snook fishing trip with a Fly rod. We fished the lighted docks and bridge fenders on the ICW in Venice Fl “aka” Snook Alley. We caught and released 15 Snook to 23″, Spotted Seatrout and a 18″ Redfish using Grassett’s Snook minnow and white Clouser Flies.
Night Snook fishing should continue to good. With next weeks evening tides being more favorable the closer we get to the full moon on the 24th.

Capt. Andy Cotton


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Captain Van Hubbard’s Placida/Englewood/Venice Fishing Report, 11/30/11

by on Nov.30, 2011, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande

We enjoyed some good weather and fishing for the Thanksgiving Holidays.

Mackerel were scattered from Venice Beaches to Boca Grande and Charlotte Harbor last month. Many were smaller but some were larger two and three pounds. We also found a few tasty pompano they were not thick but we could catch a mess for dinner if we gave em a chance. Lots of ladyfish to keep poles bent between pompano and macks. We used Doc’s Goofy jigs tipped with fresh shrimp for best results. Eddies near the passes are usually hot spots. Changing weather and Christmas shopping will slow trips down, but if you can get out waters are not crowded plus fishing is fine.
If you’re shopping on those windy days consider some fishy toys for your big boys and girls. We all love new toys. Take some time to consider our specific likes in fishing so you can match your gifts to our angling needs.  Most of us have more time than money these days; so spend more time thinking and less rushing to get it over with. Make your dollars count and gain deeper appreciation. Of course I think charters are a great gift if you can swing it, I’m a guide. This is a great way to see how it can be as well as supposed to be done, gain experience and expand knowledge. While we are not cheap, we are a good value and much less than ownership. Our significant fishing experience can shorten your learning curve dramatically.
Other ideas are fishing poles, lures, or even gift certificates. If you have the time, do your research learn more about each other and make the extra effort; the joy you revive is worth every minute or even hour. If you can make the time, enjoy it with others; now is the time to share with family and friends.  The smiles you can inspire are more rewarding than anything else you can share or buy. If you want to be happy just show some kids a good time around our waters and you’ll experience the joy of the holidays. Their smiles are pure joy!
Make Christmas to New Years fishing reservations now because dates are booking up.  We can expect some good action with redfish, sheepshead, trout and pompano.  Next year trout will be open year round. We could even have some mackerel if it stays as warm as it was around Thanksgiving. Enjoy this time with the special folks in your life. Let’s go fishin’ soon.

Merry Christmas      Captain Van Hubbard <www.captvan.com>

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Placida/Englewood/Venice fishing report by Captain Van Hubbard, 11/1/11

by on Oct.31, 2011, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande

Redfish, snook, and trout are active now around Venice and Englewood.

I fished several days last week and we enjoyed some good action. While out side is still slow right now mostly because of strong winds, inside action was fine. Absolutely no signs of red tide anywhere last week!

The weather let us get outside to look for kings Wednesday the 26th. Waters were fine, but baitfish were scarce.  We looked around North towards Venice saw no birds of baitfish. Then all the way South to Boca Grande Pass dark water because of recent rains next we cruised off shore to three different artificial reefs and found only a few minnows anywhere. We did finally catch one nice king mackerel on a live whitebait and a 40 Cabo spinning rig. We also saw numerous schools of smaller Spanish Mackerel working very tiny minnows. We have had a lot of wind and waters have cooled down into the mid seventies. I know we have plenty of minnows north of us but they were scarce here last week. I do expect to see minnows soon as weather pushes more our way. I also expect some good action with Spanish and kings if the winds allow us to chase them.
Friday Mel Weaver and his daughter April of Greenwood, SC. joined me for a brief trip. We dodged the light rain and found plenty of hungry fish. Lots of Speckled trout but most were smaller; we did get one big one. We got into some good redfish action and landed a dozen mostly slot fish. It was fun to get into some double headers and steady action.
Saturday we got rained out so we rescheduled for Sunday. Linda, her cousin Rodney and his son Caleb meet me at Stump Pass Marina to sample our Lemon Bay fishing. It was windy so we stayed close and worked some protected shorelines to pick at the redfish and trout. We had two snook, several trout one very nice three pounder, several sheepshead, and about twenty redfish.  We would catch a few and pole down a hundred yards and get a few more. We fished several different spots; rigged with rattle corks, and Bleeding Bait red circle hooks with live shrimp.  The tide was extremely low so fish were on the drop offs waiting for the tide to turn in. it worked out well we released most but did save a few for lunch at the Stump Pass grille. The skis cleared as we ate so they headed for Venice Beach.
The only way to catch fish is to go fishin”. Let’s go fishin’ son. Captain Van Hubbard.  www.captvan.com email at <charternow@captvan.com>

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Placida/Englewood/Venice Fishing Report, 9/2/11, from Capt. Van Hubbard

by on Sep.04, 2011, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande

Labor Day weekend and life is good.

I am hearing about good fishing but have not been out for a while. I’m sure we can find some action if your interested. Spanish Mackerel are abundant now around Boca Grande Pass and will improve until Thanksgiving. The big king mackerel will be off of Venice soon. I hear rumors of pompano at the Venice Pier but need your company to motivate me to go chase them. Trout and redfish are fine here around Englewood and we could even stumble into a big school of redfish. Snook are available but we can only catch and release them. Gag grouper opens the sixteenth and that is a big bright spot; just don’t procrastinate it closes mid November. Cobia, cuda, sharks, and more are on the reefs so we can get and keep a nice mess of fish plus have fun by mid month.  So far we are lucky on the weather but my guess is that all the press about hurricanes is scaring folks away from the water. This is a great time to enjoy Florida fishin’ fun without crowds!

Business was slow so I decided to go visit friends on the Nature Coast last week. It was nice to poke around in very different habitats. They are short on mangroves but plenty of fish, plus scallops. I saw miles of grass shorelines that are awesome with very few man made structures. Some areas were totally natural as far as I could see; no structures at all! That’s special in coastal Florida these days. It was fun to hang around in an old Florida environment. I went into the woods and even spent two days helping a commercial crabber friend pull traps. My grandfather used to take me crabbing so this was a real treat. It reminded me of many wonderful memories we shared. I even got some soft shell blue crabs to bring home and eat. I am home for the weekend and am not sure what happens next. Make me an offer I can’t refuse and I could spend some time with you? Let’s Go Fishin’ soon. Captain Van Hubbard
www.captvan.com charternow@captvan.com.

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Englewood, Placida, Venice fishing report from Captain Van Hubbard–trips are slow but fishin’ is fine.

by on Aug.18, 2011, under Siesta Key to Boca Grande

Soon we will enter our transition into Fall fishing.

It’s still hot but the moderate temps are now in sight. Soon our water temps will start to fall.  Ever so slightly, but every falling degree enhances our catching. If you’re out on the water look for the appearance of terns; also know to fishermen as mackerel birds. They indicate it’s time go mackerel fishing. Mid September they are going to let us keep a couple of grouper again and we can expect some mango snapper to add to our bag also.  Inside snook are going to be closed this year but redfish are open. Trout are open till November. Pompano and other migratory fish can show up any time and should linger until it gets cold usually around Thanksgiving. With school starting it is a great time to get out and enjoy good action with the least boaters! I have been fishing some and we are catching fish but it has been hot by mid-day. We get out early and stop about lunch time. Soon the shorter days will help drop water temps and stimulate our fishing.

Mackerel; both kings and Spanish are due before you know it. The big Spanish Mackerel can drop in anytime now. Watch for the birds and baitfish schools near shore. We usually start finding fish up along the rocky reefs just off of Venice Beaches. Start looking for activity like striking fish and screaming birds as soon as you clear the Venice Jetties. Schools migrate South with every weather system. We find fish just off of Englewood Beaches also, all along  Manasota Key. Rough North West winds stir up inshore waters and drive fish off shore also farther South. So after a hard blow the fish at Venice should drop back in around Boca Grande’s Beaches. Most guides castnet and fish live minnows which are great; if you can catch and carry them. Hardware also works great and you do not need a live well or time catching baitfish. Spoons, jigs, and lure all produce excellent catching just master one or the other. Do not mix them up in your pattern because they all work best at different speeds. The best way to get set up is to stop in at your local bait shop when they are not busy so they can help you select the proper rigs for your gear. Don’t be stingy because you will suffer cut offs by toothy macks. Carry several spares! Also carry plenty of ice to keep your catch fresh.
Observe other boats catching fish but don’t get in their way if you want them to assist you.

Grouper are scheduled to open September the sixteenth so do not miss out because we do have plenty of grouper to enjoy. Fish should still be out in deeper waters but not too far or hard to find. Trolling hard bottom areas allows you to locate productive spots and catch fish. Natural baits are great if you have productive areas to plunder. All of our artificial reefs, wreaks, and hard bottom areas all hold good grouper and snapper. The more popular spots are fished harder so the fish are smarter. Keep your rigs as light as you can to get fish up clear from the structures. Even popular stops like, Venice hard bottom and Boca Grande Pass holds big grouper and snapper; plus still a few tarpon.

Tarpon are not everywhere like our Summer fishing but you can enjoy some hot action if we find them. Plenty of fish remain in the area but they can be anywhere from Charlotte Harbor thru Boca Grande up to Venice. They don’t sit still and we can’t run that much every day! When we do find tarpon they usually bite.

Snook are closed but are fun catch and release. While some fish will still be around Venice Inlet and Stump Pass many are moving inland now towards Charlotte Harbor as well as the creeks and rivers. Try closer to the passes now and look inside farther later on. Minnows are great but have been small for snook. Pinfish and lures will produce some nice fish. Snook are not thick but we do have some fish to enjoy and repopulate locally.

Redfish are looking brighter every week now. No easy fishing like the days of old but this is the time of year to get on a big bunch if it’s going to happen. We are catching a few more fish and of all sizes. The bigger fish are eating pinfish under rattle corks. Lures are great if you have confidence in them and can work around the floating grasses. The points and oyster bars of Charlotte Harbor have always produced good fish this time of the year. Schooling reds are usually over the slot sized but fun. They start out up in the Harbor and bays working towards the Gulf to join up with spawning stocks off shore. Don’t be surprised to see a giant red cloud of monster reds when mackerel fishing because they are around the baitfish schools now.

Trout are doing great. We can usually catch a nice mess for dinner and a bunch of smaller specks to share hope for even better future fishing. It is nice to have bright spots; please let our Florida Fish and Wildlife officials know we want trout open year round now! Trout closes November and December so enjoy the good fishing while we can.  Look for trout on the deeper grassy edges like off of Turtle Bay Bars. Check out any baitfish schools in current eddies now also. The Cape Haze Point area can be awesome now. The small minnows are perfect trout baits; just use smaller mesh nets. Small pinfish have produced bigger fish for us recently. Use rattle corks and make some noise to attract hungry trout.

Pompano are a favorite of mine and can show up around our passes any time later this month. Venice Inlet and Pier offer perfect spots to catch golden nuggets and learn more about fishing them. I check in both to know when fish are in my area. All our Gulf passes can hold pompano. I like the lead Doc’s Goofy jigs in white, chartreuse and pink.  Add a piece of fresh shrimp or a sand flea to sweeten your offering. I try sharp rod hops with a short drop to the bottom between hops. Remember that pompano do not sit still very long; expect them to move in and out frequently. Be prepared to travel to keep up.

Enjoy this transition period before colder weather sets in into November. Fish are biting Let’s Go Fishin’ soon. Captain Van Hubbard.  www.captvan.com
Email at charternow@captvan.com   phone is 941-740-4665

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