Sarasota Fishing Report

Sarasota fishing report, Sarasota fishing charters

Capt. Jim Klopfer
April 19, 2014
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

I ran charters every day this week, and despite breezy conditions, charters were fairly successful, including quite a few decent trout. The wind and "dirty" water (caused by the wind churning up the sand) made for more challenging conditions than we normally experience in mid-April. Still, anglers landed speckled trout to 25", bluefish and Spanish mackerel to 2 pounds, jack crevelle to 5 pounds, sheepshead, mangrove and lane snapper, red and gag grouper, sea bass, flounder, and ladyfish. Most of the fish fell for live shrimp though DOA and Cotee jigs caught a few, too. Big Pass, Stephen's Pt., and the flats north of New Pass were the best spots.

 

I started the week off on Sunday with Sarasota resident Paul Brunelle and his son Jay, the trip was a birthday present for Jay. They have their own boat and wanted to see some spots and techniques. We started off bottom fishing in Big Pass, catching sheepshead, snapper, and grouper. Then, we drifted the pass and caught ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, and jacks. A move up north resulted in speckled trout to 20", mackerel, and a lot of ladyfish at the Middlegrounds, Country Club Shores, Mooring, Bishop's Pt. , and Stephen's Pt using jigs and live shrimp.

 

On Monday Buddies Tom Brundz and Tim Gekas took their sons Zach Brudz (11) and Justin Gekas (14) out on a charter. A drift in Big Pass resulted in very little but a move to the Yacht Club Channel produced speckled trout, gag grouper, sea bass, Spanish mackerel, and loads of ladyfish using jigs and free lined live shrimp. I hit a couple of Bird Key docks looking for sheepshead but the pinfish were so thick we could not get a bait past them. We finished up at Marker # 5 with Zach landing a nice Spanish and Justin catching a big ladyfish.

 

The Bucko family from Wisconsin fought the wind on Tuesday morning. We basically picked at them, catching fish (sheepshead, ladyfish, snapper, trout, and a mackerel) in Big Pass, the Yacht Club Channel, and Radio Tower casting jigs and free lining shrimp. We finished up with a little better fishing at Country Club Shores, catching bluefish, trout, and ladyfish.

 

Chris Hardwick from Darien, CT took his two boys and dad out on Wednesday. It was cool and breezy following the front that had moved through the night before. Action was sporadic at first, they caught a few ladyfish in Robert's Bay and some sheepshead, mangrove snapper, and a flounder at the Siesta Drive Bridge. We did finish up with some decent action on bluefish, slot-sized speckled trout, and Spanish mackerel at Stephen's Pt, mostly on glow CAL jigs.

 

Keith Williams from the UK took two of his sons, Toby (5) and Thomas (13) out on Thursday. It was Toby's first fishing trip. They caught quite a variety of species. With a slack tide, I worked the structure along the north side of Siesta Key in Big Pass and the nearby deep grass flats with live shrimp once the tide picked up. Sheepshead, mangrove snapper, red grouper, lane snapper, gag grouper, speckled trout to 18", flounder, jacks, and ladyfish were caught on shrimp.

 

I had the best charter of the week on Friday with Ron Beech from Miamisburg, OH and his two sons Nathan (13) and Chris (16). They caught a bunch of species, including speckled trout to 25", Spanish mackerel, silver trout, jack crevelle to 5 pounds, gag grouper, sheepshead, mangrove snapper, ladyfish, sea bass, and more. Big Pass started off slow then the bite turned on as the tidal flow increased. Nathan caught a big jack and they all caught snapper and sheepshead. The current became too strong to fish so we moved to the deep flats where they caught mackerel, ladyfish, and trout. Chris had the hot hand with the speckled trout, landing two fat beauties of 21" and 25" on large live shrimp.

 

Dick Wahba and his 12 year old son Charlie from New York City finished off my week. Conditions were difficult, NW winds at 15-20 knots with dirty water, but we worked at it and wound up with a decent bag of fish. A couple of slot speckled trout along with several smaller ones, a decent silver trout, 2 12" mangrove snappers, jack crevelle, and a couple of very large ladyfish hit free lined live shrimp near Bird Key.

Sarasota trout

 

Sarasota Fishing Report Capt Jim Klopfer 4/12/2014

Capt. Jim Klopfer
April 12, 2014
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

I had quite a diverse week of charters, a couple of family trips in Sarasota Bay, a fly fishing charter, and a freshwater bass fishing charter. Weather continued to be an issue this past week as another severe front moved through the area. Monday was breezy, Tuesday a rain-out. Fishing was steady before and after the front. Sheepshead are still biting in the area and the speckled trout bite was good on Saturday on the west side of the bay using live shrimp and Gulp! Specks to 20" were caught and released. Largemouth bass to 5 pounds hit Rapala SkitterProps and white spinnerbaits in Lake Manatee.

 

On Monday Shawn Hawthorne from Hastings, MI went out on a charter with his buddy Rob Case and children Leah (15) and Collin (13). Strong winds were predicted by mid-morning, so I started off hitting the deep flats before it became too breezy. Spanish mackerel, trout, jacks, sea bass, and ladyfish hit jigs and shrimp. As was forecast, the wind picked up out of the south and we "hid" in Big Pass along the north end of siesta Key. Bottom fishing over submerged structure resulted in non-stop action on sheepshead, mangrove snapper, and gag grouper. Most of the fish were small, but they put enough on ice for dinner. Tuesday was breezy with a line of rain and thunderstorms moving through, Wednesday VERY windy, no fishing for me.

 

On Thursday Dave Noble from Hampstead, NC spend the morning fly fishing. Fishing was fair following the front, the water coming in from the Gulf of Mexico was filthy. Still, using Clouser patterns, Dave caught slot speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, silver trout, ladyfish, snapper, and jack crevelle.

 

Tom Medved and his brother Bob from Minneapolis, MN were in St Petersburg this weekend and wanted to go bass fishing. This is not something I do everyday, but is a nice change of pace. We met at Lake Manatee around 6:45 and as we headed out fish were popping near the bridge. Bob hooked an average bass, then lost a nice one, and landed a channel catfish on a topwater plug in 15' of water! Tom landed a nice pair of bass that were pushing 5 pounds. The Rapala Skitterprop in gold worked best. Bob got hot later in the morning with a white spinnerbait. They caught around a dozen fish with steady action, a fun morning with excellent anglers!

 

The Zordich family from Youngstown, OH, Steve and Kathy along with their boys Steven (11) and Alex (08) had a productive trip on Saturday morning with great weather. The water near the passes was dirty, so we started at the middlegrounds, catching a nice bluefish along with several small trout and ladyfish. A move to Country Club Shores produced more ladyfish and trout, then a bump up to the Moorings resulted in a lot of speckled trout, several pushing 20". Most of the fish hit live shrimp though Steve caught several using Gulp!

Sarasota trout

Capt. Jim Klopfer
April 5, 2014
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

The sheepshead bite continues to be fantastic throughout the area! Docks, bridges, and rocky ledges are holding good numbers of these tasty saltwater panfish. Clients have also been catching a lot of small mangrove snapper, with the occasional nice one mixed in. A live or fresh shrimp fished on the bottom is all it takes. Speckled trout to 20", Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, bluefish, jack crevelle, gag grouper, black sea bass, and ladyfish hit gold D.O.A. CAL jigs, white Rapala X-Raps, and live shrimp in Big Pass and the nearby deep grass flats.

 

On Monday Jack Grumet from the Hudson Valley area of New York went out on a 6 hour charter. We hit the mouth of Phillippi Creek first thing; no bites. I then headed into Big Pass where the sheepshead bite was on. We caught a bunch to 3 pounds, along with some mangrove snapper using live shrimp. A move to the nearby deep flats resulted in slot trout, ladyfish, and jacks on jigs. Things slowed late morning and we just picked at them for the last two hours.

 

Todd Bruce, his girlfriend Nicole, and daughters Hazel (8) and Ruby (11) from Minnesota experienced fast fishing on Tuesday. Once again the sheepshead bite was hot, and even though they were not keeping any, they are still great fun to catch. The girls caught a bunch, then the tide became a bit too strong, so we moved to the Bird Key flats and caught speckled trout, bluefish, jacks, ladyfish, and sea bass on jigs and free lined live shrimp. All told, they caught around 60 fish, a fun morning!

 

On Wednesday Blake MacKenkie and his son Mason from Chicago had a good trip with steady action. The sheepshead bit very well, and after putting a few in the box we moved on. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, sea bass, jack crevelle, and ladyfish hit jigs and live shrimp in Big Pass and the flats near Bird Key.

 

Lisa and Steve Schreck took their 2 boys Aiden (11) and Quin (12) out on Thursday. We got out a bit late and the tide was running too strong to fish for sheepshead in the pass, so we started off drifting live shrimp and casting jigs. Several ladyfish, a jack, and a Spanish mackerel were caught. We moved on to the flats and caught a few trout and more ladyfish, but the bite was kind of slow. The wind picked up out of the south, so I headed back to Big Pass for a little protection from the wind. We finished up trolling Rapala X-Raps and catching 8 mackerel and a nice bluefish.

 

The sheepshead bite was crazy for Candra and Ray Kurzer and their grown son Cody, all from Sebewaing, MI. We left Centennial park at 7:15 and headed for Big Pass. At 9:00 we had probably landed 50 sheepshead and mangrove snapper, putting enough in the box for a meal. Every shrimp that hit the bottom got eaten almost immediately. They also caught (and released) speckled trout of 20", 18", and 17", a couple of mackerel, ladyfish, and sea bass on jigs and shrimp on the nearby grass flats. The wind cranked up so we headed in, great morning!

nice Sarasota sheepshead

Capt. Jim Klopfer
March 29, 2014
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Sheepshead were definitely the savior on my charters this week. We have had quite a bit of unsettled weather with wind and rain of late. This results in "dirty" water, which means the wind has the sand all stirred up. Most fish do not like this, but the sheepies don't care. In fact, sometimes it even improves the fishing as they become less shy of leaders and terminal tackle. Whatever the reason, under these conditions I target them and this week clients had great success putting these tasty saltwater panfish in the boat. They are fun to catch, fight hard, are interesting looking, and taste great! This has been a VERY good year for sheepshead! They can be caught using shrimp (live, fresh, or frozen) fishing on the bottom near structure. Both Big Pass and New Pass have been quite productive. Clients also landed speckled trout, pompano, Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper, gag grouper, jack crevelle, and ladyfish.

I started the week fishing with Bill and Judy Whisler from Long Grove, IL and their children Karen and David. To say the sheepshead bite was on would be an understatement; it was perhaps the best I have ever seen! We were anchored up on a ledge in Big Pass and every bit that entered the water got crushed. After filling the box we were still releasing 2-3 lb sheepshead two at a time. They also caught several nice mangrove snappers, a pompano, and a Spanish mackerel. We left them biting, as much to catch our breath as anything, and moved to the Bird Key flats where they landed ladyfish, speckled trout, and another mackerel. A fantastic morning of fishing!

Windy and rainy on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday morning was cold with winds at 25 knots, so we bumped the trip back to 1:00. Being flexible this time of year is advantageous. Tom Stark, his wife Cindy, and son Michael met me at Ken Thompson Park. The water was stirred up and it was still breezy, so I ran to Marina Jack seeking a little shelter from the wind. We made several drifts and caught some ladyfish using jigs. A move to Robert's Bay resulted in a couple of jacks, a Spanish mackerel, and more ladyfish. We finished up in Big Pass catching several sheepshead and snapper. Fair fishing, but considering the conditions, it was a pretty good trip. They were from Iowa and just happy to be out on a boat in the Florida sunshine!

Henry DeYoung and Rich Ruis fished with me on Thursday morning. This is the 5th year in a row they have been out, and every trip has been different. They wanted a few fish for dinner, so we targeted sheepshead under docks in Big Pass. The bite was steady and we put a half dozen keepers in the box in an hour along with catching some snappers and small grouper. A move to the deep grass flats resulted in speckled trout to 17", pompano, jacks, and ladyfish using free lined live shrimp.

Siesta key resident and long-time client Carl Guse took his son John and grandson Tommy out on a charter at the end of the week. We fished in a light drizzle for most of the trip, but the bite was steady. With dirty water and an outgoing tide, we caught sheepshead and mangrove snapper in Big Pass using fresh and live shrimp.

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
March 22, 2014
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Sheepshead continued to bite well this week on live and frozen shrimp, providing action and dinners for clients. Plenty of ladyfish were landed on the deep flats at the Radio Tower, Marker # 5, and Bird Key flats using jigs and shrimp. Clients did not catch very many Spanish mackerel, but did land a couple very nice ones at Stephen's Pt. Weekly fronts have kept the water in the inshore Gulf of Mexico cool and stirred up. A week of east winds should clean things up and get the action out on the beach fired up.

 

Lou Marcy took out his family for a trip on Sunday. A severe front was approaching and we did well the first couple of hours, catching Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, and ladyfish on the deep flats and several sheepshead under docks. Then, it started to blow. With winds at 20 knots + out of the south, the fishing was tough. We headed in with a nice mess of fish for dinner. I did not get out Monday or Tuesday due to bad weather.

 

I ran two trips on Wednesday. David Johnson, his daughter Linda and her husband Jim Kreider had a good trip in the morning. They caught Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, and a gag grouper first thing as the tide was falling. Heavy fog moved in, keeping it a bit cool. Fishing picked up with the incoming tide. Speckled trout to 18", jacks, ladyfish, and more hit free lined shrimp on the deep flats near Big Pass. The afternoon was a bit slower as the tide brought in a bunch of stained water from the Gulf. Ladyfish bit good in Robert's Bay and we caught a couple of sheepies near Bird Key. we finished up trolling in Phillippi Creek, hooking a nice jack and losing it on a channel marker.

 

I ran two trips again on Thursday, with similar results. Sheepshead bit VERY well under the docks in Big Pass. Nothing huge, but plenty of keepers, making for some tasty fish dinners! Clients also caught ladyfish, trout, a pompano, and a huge Spanish mackerel using live shrimp and jigs.

 

John Englander, Bill Kish, and Doc Dojutrek fished with me on Friday. We started off hitting the docks and putting several sheepshead and snapper in the box. I then moved to Big Pass in search of pompano, but they caught more sheepshead and snapper along with ladyfish and jacks on shrimp-tipped jigs. A move to the flats at Marker #5 and Marina Jack resulted in more jacks and ladyfish. I ran up to Stephen's Pt. where the action was not great, but several quality fish were landed, including a 3lb and 4 lb Spanish mackerel and a nice 23" speckled trout.

 

The bite was a bit off on Saturday for JoEllen and Shaun Fahey from Stone Lake, WI. Slack tides may have been the cause, but for whatever reason we worked hard, but did catch a nice 18" speckled trout, a 2 pound Spanish mackerel, and some jacks and ladyfish.

Sarasota Spanish

Capt. Jim Klopfer
March 15, 2014
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Clients caught a wide variety of species on charters this week. The two techniques we used were fishing live shrimp under docks and casting jigs and live shrimp over the deep grass flats. Speckled trout, silver trout, Spanish mackerel, jack crevelle, gag grouper, black sea bass, mangrove and lane snapper, flounder, black drum, sheepshead, and ladyfish were all caught this week. The docks in Big Pass, Robert's Bay, and the Bird Key flats were the best spots.

I started the week off on Sunday afternoon with Steve Cook from Quebec, his 17 year old son Andrew, and his buddy Phil. They wanted a few fish for dinner, so a stop at a good dock quickly resulted in a half dozen sheepshead in the box. We moved to the deep flats in the Yacht Club channel and caught speckled trout to 20", jacks and ladyfish on jigs and shrimp. We finished up at some docks in Robert's Bay, landing black drum to 20", flounder to 18", and a big sheepshead.

 

On Monday Harry Corey was down from New Jersey visiting his brother-in-law Jim. Again, fish was on the menu and the docks did not disappoint. Sheepshead have been very reliable this year! They also caught speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, and jacks on glow CAL jigs and free-lined shrimp.

 

I ran two trips on Tuesday as the front was approaching. Longboat Key resident Jim Mitchell and Charlie Beard did well on a variety of species. Sheepshead, keeper mangrove snapper, gag grouper hit live shrimp under docks in Big Pass and pompano, Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, sea bass, jacks, and ladyfish hit jigs and shrimp on the nearby deep flats. In the afternoon John Lorenz and his twin boys had a similar trip. They put a half dozen fat sheepshead in the box fishing docks and caught ladyfish, trout, and bluefish using jigs near Country Club Shores.

 

I was off Wednesday and Thursday due to weather. Mike Adkinson and Ricky Steele caught a nice variety on Friday. Free lining shrimp on the edges of grass flats and under docks produced speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, silver trout, flounder to 18", gag grouper, mangrove snapper, blue runners, lane snapper, and ladyfish.

 

Lauren Biszewski from Chicago, IL and her children Sophia and Buck, who were both in town from college, went out on a fishing trip. We started off anchored up on the edge of a flat and action was very steady on Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, and ladyfish. We moved to nearby docks and caught sheepshead to 3 pounds and gag grouper. We finished up fishing deep edges again, this time landing an 18", and a 20" speckled trout along with a pair of flounder, one of which went 18". They ended up with a nice bag of fillets for dinner! All of the fish were caught using live and frozen shrimp.

nice Sarasota flounder

Capt. Jim Klopfer
March 8, 2014
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

I started off the week with a productive Myakka River fishing charter with Mike White from Illinois. We boated 3 nice snook in the 25" range, a small fish and mike landed a gorgeous 33" fish! That's why we fish the river; there is an opportunity to land a trophy fish on every trip. All of the fish hit a #10 gold Rapala X-Rap Slashbait.

 

On Tuesday Jeff Bishop from Cleveland, OH went out with me. The tide was still falling as we idled north, so we worked the edges of the Intracoastal Waterway. Jeff caught a huge jack crevelle on a white X-Rap. Spanish mackerel and ladyfish hit jigs and live shrimp in Big Pass and the surrounding flats. He also caught some sheepshead under docks along Bird Key.

 

I had a very productive trip with Doc Dojutrek and John Englander, both transplants from the Chicago area. They caught Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, speckled trout to 20", black sea bass, jack crevelle, and loads of ladyfish using jigs, plugs, and live shrimp at the Marina Jack, Bird Key, and Ringling deep grass flats. We hit a couple of docks and caught a couple of sheepshead at the first one, then hit the "mother load" at the second! In 45 minutes we limited out on big mangrove snapper, every one was between 12" and 14".

 

Thursday I launched the boat, but bad weather forced us to cancel as severe storms were rapidly advancing. Friday it was blowing 25 + out of the northwest, no fishing!

 

On Saturday I ran a 4 boat trip out of CB's. I had John Miliziano, George Keough, and Chuck Toner aboard. Action was steady on the flats near Big Pass, despite cloudy water from the recent blow. Speckled trout to 18", Spanish mackerel to 2 pounds, jack crevelle, sailcats, and ladyfish hit shrimp and jigs. We moved to docks and caught sheepshead and finished up with a snook.

Sarasota jack crevelle

Capt. Jim Klopfer
February 22, 2014
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

I had another diverse week of fishing charters, 2 in Sarasota Bay, 1 in Nokomis, and 3 Myakka River trips. Sheepshead, big mangrove snapper, and nice-sized Spanish mackerel pleased anglers this week on saltwater charters, Marina Jacks, middlegrounds, and docks in both passes were the most productive spots. The bite in the river is slowing down, the water may be getting too warm, though clients landed bass and snook on all of the trips.

 

Bill Thiel from Naperville, IL treated hish daughter Julie, grand daughter Grace, and son-in-law Tom to a charter on Monday. We started off in the channel near the Siesta Drive bridge where Grace caught a big ladyfish on her first cast! With the skunk out of the boat, we hit the docks in search of fillets. An hour later the box had 7 nice sheepies cooling their heels, destined for a fish fry. We then drifted the deep flats at the Radio Tower and Marina Jacks. Grace added a slot trout to the box and several more released along with a lot of ladyfish. Bill finished off the trip with a nice Spanish mackerel

 

I had Myakka River trips on Tuesday and Wednesday, with similar results. There was very little cloud cover or wind and bright sun, resulting in an early bite. Snook to 25" and bass to 2 1/2 pounds were landed, and a huge snook wrecked a Rapala right near the boat, made a run, and tossed the bait. Action slowed mid-morning; it was just "too nice", but made for gorgeous mornings with great scenery and company.

 

Bill Kish and his friends Dana and Kelly had a very good trip in Sarasota Bay on Thursday. They wanted some fish for dinner, so I hit some of my productive docks in Big Pass. The first two held spot-tails, the third put 5 sheepshead and 8 nice mangrove snapper (all between 12" and 15") in the box. Live shrimp was the ticket. We then caught several Spanish mackerel in Big Pass casting jigs and trolling Rapalas, most of which were keepers, but on the small side. The Marina Jack flat had a bunch of ladyfish, Radio Tower was slow, and the Middlegrounds produced more mackerel to 3 pounds, bluefish, speckled trout, and ladyfish on jigs and free lined live shrimp. At the end of the day we had a cooler full of fish and decent action.

 

Dr. Larry Rose from Houston, TX fished the Myakka River with me on Friday. It was a bit slow, at first light we had no wind or current, and the sun came up quickly with no cloud cover. Then, the wind cranked up. We caught several chunky bass and a small snook before we called it a morning a bit early.

 

I had a great trip on Saturday morning with two surgeons from North Georgia; Ed Artwell and Scott Daniel. Scott has a place in Nokomis and wanted to learn a few spots and techniques, so I met them at the Albee Rd boat ramp and headed north. I saw a mackerel jump, stopped, and for two hours we caught Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, ladyfish and jacks free lining shrimp in the channel. Boat traffic picked up, so we trolled X-Raps on the flats and caught jacks and ladyfish. We finished up at the Albee Rd Bridge, landing several sheepshead and a nice mang. Great trip, great guys, and plenty of fillets for dinner!

Sarasota mackerel

Capt. Jim Klopfer
February 15, 2014
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Well, our winter "pattern" returned on charters this week. Gorgeous weather early, then a severe front moved through mid-week shutting things down. Before the front, action was steady both on the deep grass flats and around docks near both Big Sarasota Pass and New Pass. Spanish mackerel were plentiful, hitting jigs, white Rapala X-Raps, and live shrimp at Marina Jacks, Radio Tower, and Middlegrounds. Speckled trout, bluefish, grouper, flounder, and ladyfish were also caught. Docks in both passes are holding good numbers of fat sheepshead. These tasty saltwater panfish prefer a live shrimp fished near the bottom. Snook were caught both in Robert's Bay and in the Myakka River.

 

Long time client Bill LaPiere from Massachusetts ran a 6 hour charter with me on Monday. Six hours is a nice trip; it gives us the chance to do several different things. We started off at Marker #5 and Marina Jacks, just picking at them. There was very little wind and we did not drift much at all. We caught a few Spanish mackerel and ladyfish casting jigs. The Radio Tower was a bit better, though mostly ladyfish. A move to the middlegrounds resulted in more mackerel trolling white (08) Rapala X-Raps. We ran to New Pass and made a drift; no luck. But, mackerel were flipping on the surface and we caught a half dozen trolling. I hit a deep grass edge near Bird Key and Bill caught several trout and a keeper flounder free lining live shrimp. A quick stop at a dock along Bird Key resulted in a couple nice sheepshead on live shrimp. We finished up at a dock in Robert's Bay where Bill landed a couple of snook on shrimp.

 

Patti and Ken Wanous from Aitkin, MN fished with me on Tuesday. They wanted a few fish to eat so I went right to a reliable dock in Big Pass and in short order 5 fat sheepies went in the box. We then caught ladyfish, trout, mackerel, and grouper in the Yacht Club channel, Radio Tower, and Marina Jack flat free lining shrimp and trolling Rapalas.

 

Ray Moreland from the Chicago area fished with me on Wednesday and Thirsday. On Wednesday we fished Sarasota Bay with his father-in-law Deke and his brother-in-law Richard. We started off at the Middlegrounds and Radio Tower catching Spanish mackerel, trout, and ladyfish using jigs and live shrimp. We moved to nearby docks and caught several sheepshead, then, it started to blow. A severe front was approaching. We trolled white Rapals X-Raps in the Grand Canal on Siesta Key and in Hudson Bayou and caught several jack crevelle to 5 pounds and a mackerel.

 

On Thursday Ray fished the Myakka River. With winds at 25 + knots out of the northwest, I was probably one of the very few guides to fish that day. The river offers protection from the wind, but it was still breezy. Fishing was fair, Ray landed a decent snook early then we caught a small snook, a gar, and lost a "mystery fish" that we never saw.

Sarasota snook

Capt. Jim Klopfer
February 1, 2014
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

I sound like a broken record; good fishing early in the week, then a severe front moves through mid-week shutting things down. Monday and Tuesday were gorgeous! The Spanish mackerel bite has been surprisingly good on the deep grass, especially given the cold water. Trout, bluefish, and ladyfish also provided plenty of action, the Radio Tower and Middlegrounds were the best spots. Sheepshead to 3 pounds, mangrove snapper to 12", and gag grouper were caught under docks along Bird Key using shrimp. Then, the front moved through. Wednesday was windy, Thursday cold and rainy, and rain on Friday. But, the upcoming week looks fantastic, and the fishing should be very good both in Sarasota Bay and in the Myakka River.

I started the week out with a good trip on Sunday afternoon with friends Brett Moore, Len Hoffman, and Kevin Miller, all from the Chicago area. The tide was slack and there was very little wind, so I decided to try the docks in Big Pass. Good move! Sheepshead to 3 pounds, mangrove snapper to 14", a nice jack, and small gag grouper kept the boys busy. We also got broke off several times by what I assume were big grouper. With dinner in the box we moved to the nearby deep grass flats in search of action. Speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, and a flounder hit gold and glow DOA CAL jigs.

 

I had another good Sarasota fishing charter on Tuesday, just before the front moved through. Jim Wiener took his wife Deanna, father Bob, and sister Lori out fishing. They wanted enough for dinner for 10 people. Fortunately, the Spanish mackerel were very co-operative, a bit unusual in 55 degree water. We idled out of the Ken Thompson ramp and mackerel were flipping on the surface, but at first we could not get them to bite. Then, the breeze picked up and so did the fishing. We did equally well drifting live shrimp, casting jigs, and trolling white Rapala X-Raps in the (08) size. Small speckled trout, a bluefish, and ladyfish were also landed. We finished up at the Middlegrounds catching more Spanish mackerel, trout, and ladyfish.

 

The slightly warmer temperatures and rain should result in continued good fishing in the Myakka River for snook, though bass, gar, juvenile tarpon and other species occasionally crash the party.

Sarasota sheepshead

 

Sarasota Fishing Report, Sarasota fishing charters 

Capt. Jim Klopfer  (941) 371-1390
January 25, 2014
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Weather continues to be the story, it kept me from fishing several days this week. Water temperatures are in the upper 50's, which is cold for our fish. I ran both of my saltwater charters early in the week before the front, and did most of my fishing south of Blackburn Pt. Pompano, ladyfish, jacks, and Spanish mackerel were caught on live shrimp fished on a Cotee jig head. Most of the fish were in the channel or on the edges. I attribute this to the water being so cold. Snook and bass are biting in the Myakka River.

 

On Monday Tim Wilhelm from Ann Arbor, MI took out his kids Georgia and Zack, and his nephew Leo. This was my fourth trip with Tim and his family, and as usual, Georgia spanked the boys, catching the most pompano. The total for the boat was ten. We worked the edge of the Intracoastal between Markers 19 and 21 near Nokomis with live shrimp on a jig head. They also caught plenty of ladyfish and a nice Spanish mackerel. Plenty of fish for everyone, including Capt Jim!

 

On Tuesday I picked up Peg Heaslip and her neighbor Frank Lovell at Frank's dock, just south of Blackburn Point. We started off catching several jack crevelle on jigs right near the bridge, then moved south to look for the pompano. Unfortunately, we could not escape the ladyfish and could not find the pomps. But, they did catch quite a few fish.

 

A severe front moved through Tuesday afternoon, bringing cold and wind with it. The rest of the week was chilly and breezy. I did fish the Myakka on Saturday afternoon by myself for a couple of hours. The water temperature was 60 degrees. I caught a couple of snook and a bass on Rapalas.

Casey Key pompano

Sarasota Fishing Report    (941) 371-1390 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
January 18, 2014
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

 

Once again, weather was the story this week. I was only able to get out twice this week as a couple of fronts moved through bringing wind and cold with them. The best action is still on the deep flats in 6 to 10 feet of water using jigs. The Middlegrounds, Radio Tower, and the Moorings were the best spots for me this week.

 

I had a decent trip on Friday with Doc Dojutrek, John Englander, and Bill Kish. We left 10th street at 10:00 a.m. to let it warm up a bit. The first stop was the Radio Tower and I was surprised to see Spanish mackerel working on the surface. We caught a couple and a few ladyfish using DOA CAL jigs and Gulp! Shrimp. A move to the Marina Jack flat resulted in some speckled trout and a few ladyfish. We then hit some docks along Bird Key in search of sheepshead. We had a couple on that shook off and caught a few mangrove snapper and grouper, but it really wasn't going on. The water coming in the pass was pretty dirty. My buddy Capt Rick Grassett called and said he was doing pretty good on bluefish and mackerel at the Moorings, so I ran up there. The water was very clean and we caught a few bluefish and ladyfish. Thanks Rick! We finished up at the north end of the Middlegrounds with a pretty steady bite over the last two hours. Ladyfish, trout, and decent Spanish mackerel provided steady action.

 

The water temperature was in the mid 50's. Once the water cleans up and warms up a bit, action should continue to be good on all of the deep grass flats throughout the area. I did not get out to the Myakka River this week, but the cold should only improve the fishing

Sarasota mackerel

Sarasota Fishing Report Capt Jim Klopfer (941) 371-1390

Capt. Jim Klopfer
January 11, 2014
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Well, after several mild years, it looks like we are going to have a "real" Florida winter this time. There was a small window Monday morning before the wind cranked up. A variety of species hit jigs on the deep grass flats with the Middlegrounds being the best spot. Tuesday and Wednesday were cold and breezy, Thursday was overcast with some rain. I fished the Myakka River on Friday and we landed a 34" snook and lost another big one. This is a unique trip that very few guides in the area offer. Clients get to see the "real Florida" and every trip provides the opportunity to catch a trophy snook along with largemouth bass, juvenile tarpon, and gar.

 

I fished with Ed Devries and Matt Kalhemegan, both from Indiana, on Monday. A severe front was moving through and we had a small window to fish. It was foggy first thing, then cleared up. They cast gold and glow DOA jigs on the deep flats at the Radio Tower, Middlegrounds, and Marker # 5. They also caught a few fish on trolled Rapala X-Raps. Bluefish to 3 pounds, speckled trout, jack crevelle, flounder, and loads of ladyfish were landed. Just as the trip was ending, the front moved through, the temperature dropped ten degrees and the wind cranked up to 25 knots. Time to go! Tuesday and Wednesday were cold and breezy.

 

I fished with Sarasota resident Doc Dojutrek on the Myakka River on Friday with outstanding results! One thing the cold weather did was get the river fishing fired up, a lot more snook moved upstream. Casting Rapala X-Raps and Jointed BX Minnows resulted in several bass to 2 pounds and a dozen snook, including a 34" fish and another big one that we just could not handle. This river fishing should cobntinue until the water starts to get too warm, which is usually late March or early April.

Photo: Sarasota Fishing Report Capt Jim Klopfer 1/11/2014
Capt. Jim Klopfer
January 11, 2014
Sarasota - Saltwater Fishing Report

Well, after several mild years, it looks like we are going to have a "real" Florida winter this time. There was a small window Monday morning before the wind cranked up. A variety of species hit jigs on the deep grass flats with the Middlegrounds being the best spot. Tuesday and Wednesday were cold and breezy, Thursday was overcast with some rain. I fished the Myakka River on Friday and we landed a 34" snook and lost another big one. This is a unique trip that very few guides in the area offer. Clients get to see the "real Florida" and every trip provides the opportunity to catch a trophy snook along with largemouth bass, juvenile tarpon, and gar. 

I fished with Ed Devries and Matt Kalhemegan, both from Indiana, on Monday. A severe front was moving through and we had a small window to fish. It was foggy first thing, then cleared up. They cast gold and glow DOA jigs on the deep flats at the Radio Tower, Middlegrounds, and Marker # 5. They also caught a few fish on trolled Rapala X-Raps. Bluefish to 3 pounds, speckled trout, jack crevelle, flounder, and loads of ladyfish were landed. Just as the trip was ending, the front moved through, the temperature dropped ten degrees and the wind cranked up to 25 knots. Time to go! Tuesday and Wednesday were cold and breezy. 

I fished with Sarasota resident Doc Dojutrek on the Myakka River on Friday with outstanding results! One thing the cold weather did was get the river fishing fired up, a lot more snook moved upstream. Casting Rapala X-Raps and Jointed BX Minnows resulted in several bass to 2 pounds and a dozen snook, including a 34" fish and another big one that we just could not handle. This river fishing should cobntinue until the water starts to get too warm, which is usually late March or early April.

 

Sarasota Fishing Report Capt Jim Klopfer  (941) 371-1390

Capt. Jim Klopfer
January 4, 2014
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Mother Nature did not make things easy for us this week. Most days were either breezy or rainy, or both. The best action was on the deep flats and in holes as the tide was very low in the morning. Gold DOA jigs and live shrimp fooled trout to 20", pompano, bluefish, jacks, and ladyfish. Small snook hit Rapala plugs in the Myakka River.

 

Sunday was a rain out. On Monday C D Duncan, Tom Miller, and Frank Austin, all friends from Charleston, West Virginia had a good morning casting jigs at Marker # 5, the Radio Tower, and the Middlegrounds. They wanted a few fish for dinner and put 3 pompano (Tom caught all 3), a pair of nice bluefish and an 18" trout that hit a trolled Rapala in the box. They had steady action on those plus ladyfish, jacks, and smaller trout.

 

On Tuesday Jen and Dave Buckley from Gettyburg, PA went out with me. I stopped at a grass flat with a sharp drop off and on the first cast Jen landed a 20" trout on a live shrimp, nice! Action was steady on trout, ladyfish, and jacks using shrimp and jigs.

 

I started the year off with a river snook trip on the Myakka. Kevin Schapley from North Port went out and the bite was fair, we caught a few snook but nothing big and a channel cat that took a Rapala. The forecast for Thursday was wind by mid morning and since my client had his 3 daughters, we canceled. Friday and Saturday were cold and windy.

Photo: Sarasota Fishing Report Capt Jim Klopfer 1/4/2014
Capt. Jim Klopfer
January 4, 2014
Sarasota - Saltwater Fishing Report

Mother Nature did not make things easy for us this week. Most days were either breezy or rainy, or both. The best action was on the deep flats and in holes as the tide was very low in the morning. Gold DOA jigs and live shrimp fooled trout to 20", pompano, bluefish, jacks, and ladyfish. Small snook hit Rapala plugs in the Myakka River.


Sunday was a rain out. On Monday C D Duncan, Tom Miller, and Frank Austin, all friends from Charleston, West Virginia had a good morning casting jigs at Marker # 5, the Radio Tower, and the Middlegrounds. They wanted a few fish for dinner and put 3 pompano (Tom caught all 3), a pair of nice bluefish and an 18" trout that hit a trolled Rapala in the box. They had steady action on those plus ladyfish, jacks, and smaller trout.


On Tuesday Jen and Dave Buckley from Gettyburg, PA went out with me. I stopped at a grass flat with a sharp drop off and on the first cast Jen landed a 20" trout on a live shrimp, nice! Action was steady on trout, ladyfish, and jacks using shrimp and jigs.


I started the year off with a river snook trip on the Myakka. Kevin Schapley from North Port went out and the bite was fair, we caught a few snook but nothing big and a channel cat that took a Rapala. The forecast for Thursday was wind by mid morning and since my client had his 3 daughters, we canceled. Friday and Saturday were cold and windy. 
Sarasota Fishing Report Capt Jim Klopfer 1/4/2014
Capt. Jim Klopfer
January 4, 2014
Sarasota - Saltwater Fishing Report

Mother Nature did not make things easy for us this week. Most days were either breezy or rainy, or both. The best action was on the deep flats and in holes as the tide was very low in the morning. Gold DOA jigs and live shrimp fooled trout to 20", pompano, bluefish, jacks, and ladyfish. Small snook hit Rapala plugs in the Myakka River.


Sunday was a rain out. On Monday C D Duncan, Tom Miller, and Frank Austin, all friends from Charleston, West Virginia had a good morning casting jigs at Marker # 5, the Radio Tower, and the Middlegrounds. They wanted a few fish for dinner and put 3 pompano (Tom caught all 3), a pair of nice bluefish and an 18" trout that hit a trolled Rapala in the box. They had steady action on those plus ladyfish, jacks, and smaller trout.


On Tuesday Jen and Dave Buckley from Gettyburg, PA went out with me. I stopped at a grass flat with a sharp drop off and on the first cast Jen landed a 20" trout on a live shrimp, nice! Action was steady on trout, ladyfish, and jacks using shrimp and jigs.


I started the year off with a river snook trip on the Myakka. Kevin Schapley from North Port went out and the bite was fair, we caught a few snook but nothing big and a channel cat that took a Rapala. The forecast for Thursday was wind by mid morning and since my client had his 3 daughters, we canceled. Friday and Saturday were cold and windy.

Sarasota Fishing Report Capt Jim Klopfer (941) 371-1390

Capt. Jim Klopfer
December 28, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

A front moved through on Monday night, bringing strong breezes and falling temperatures; I did not fish Tuesday or Wednesday. Fishing was very good before the front in the inshore Gulf of Mexico for mangrove snapper, sheepshead, Spanish mackerel, jack crevelle, and a nice 18 pound cobia. Action quickly rebounded in Sarasota Bay as the weather cleared. Pompano to 3 pounds, bluefish to 4 pounds, Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, speckled trout, sea bass, jacks, and ladyfish hit gold D.O.A. CAL jigs and free lined live shrimp at Marker # 5, Big Pass, Radio Tower, and Middlegrounds.

I started off the week on Sunday fishing with Dr Bill Ritchey from Akron, OH and his daughter Laura. They have fished with me a bunch of times, so for a different experience we did a Myakka River charter. The bite was a bit slow, but the scenery was great and Laura did bring a 30" snook to the boat.

 

Dave Buckley from Gettysburg, Pa took his son Brady and nephew Aaron Cool out on Monday, just before the front moved through. We decided to try a little light tackle bottom fishing on the inshore reefs and had an outstanding morning! A pair of sheepshead to 2 1/2 pounds, ten mangrove snappers to 14", a half dozen Key West grunts, and 4 Spanish mackerel went in the box, along with a 16 pound cobia that Aaron caught. It took him 20 minutes to land it on 10 lb spinning tackle, great battle! We also caught several nice jack crevelle. Most of the fish were caught on live shrimp.

 

On Thursday Sydney Markum took out some relatives who were in town visiting from Kentucky. We had a large group so we used a CB's pontoon boat. They had a good morning, putting a pair of pompano, 3 Spanish mackerel, and a black sea bass in the box and catching jacks, ladyfish, bluefish, and trout. The best spot was Marker # 5. Dave Buckley, who fished with me on Monday, also used a pontoon boat on Friday to take out his family. These are actually very good platforms from which to fish. We had a good morning, starting things off with several 4 pound jack crevelle in the Intracoastal and catching a nice pompano, a couple of 3 pound bluefish, and a bunch of speckled trout and ladyfish using jigs at Marker #5 and the middlegrounds.

 

John Brennan from Brookfield, WI and his daughters Cari, Teresa, and Laura went out on Saturday morning. Action was steady on the flats near Big Pass. Jigs and live shrimp produced Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, jacks, large ladyfish, and a nice flounder, which the captain got to take home for dinner!

 

Photo: Sarasota Fishing Report Capt Jim Klopfer 12/28/2013
Capt. Jim Klopfer
December 28, 2013
Sarasota - Saltwater Fishing Report

A front moved through on Monday night, bringing strong breezes and falling temperatures; I did not fish Tuesday or Wednesday. Fishing was very good before the front in the inshore Gulf of Mexico for mangrove snapper, sheepshead, Spanish mackerel, jack crevelle, and a nice 18 pound cobia. Action quickly rebounded in Sarasota Bay as the weather cleared. Pompano to 3 pounds, bluefish to 4 pounds, Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, speckled trout, sea bass, jacks, and ladyfish hit gold D.O.A. CAL jigs and free lined live shrimp at Marker # 5, Big Pass, Radio Tower, and Middlegrounds.


I started off the week on Sunday fishing with Dr Bill Ritchey from Akron, OH and his daughter Laura. They have fished with me a bunch of times, so for a different experience we did a Myakka River charter. The bite was a bit slow, but the scenery was great and Laura did bring a 30" snook to the boat.


Dave Buckley from Gettysburg, Pa took his son Brady and nephew Aaron Cool out on Monday, just before the front moved through. We decided to try a little light tackle bottom fishing on the inshore reefs and had an outstanding morning! A pair of sheepshead to 2 1/2 pounds, ten mangrove snappers to 14", a half dozen Key West grunts, and 4 Spanish mackerel went in the box, along with a 16 pound cobia that Aaron caught. It took him 20 minutes to land it on 10 lb spinning tackle, great battle! We also caught several nice jack crevelle. Most of the fish were caught on live shrimp.


On Thursday Sydney Markum took out some relatives who were in town visiting from Kentucky. We had a large group so we used a CB's pontoon boat. They had a good morning, putting a pair of pompano, 3 Spanish mackerel, and a black sea bass in the box and catching jacks, ladyfish, bluefish, and trout. The best spot was Marker # 5. Dave Buckley, who fished with me on Monday, also used a pontoon boat on Friday to take out his family. These are actually very good platforms from which to fish. We had a good morning, starting things off with several 4 pound jack crevelle in the Intracoastal and catching a nice pompano, a couple of 3 pound bluefish, and a bunch of speckled trout and ladyfish using jigs at Marker #5 and the middlegrounds.


John Brennan from Brookfield, WI and his daughters Cari, Teresa, and Laura went out on Saturday morning. Action was steady on the flats near Big Pass. Jigs and live shrimp produced Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, jacks, large ladyfish, and a nice flounder, which the captain got to take home for dinner!

Capt. Jim Klopfer  (941) 371-1390
December 21, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

The most reliable fishing this week has been the deeper grass flats throughout the area. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, pompano, speckled trout, jacks, flounder, and ladyfish are all daily catches. Jigs work very well for fishing the deep flats as they allow anglers to cover a lot of water. Keep moving until a productive flat is located. Big Pass also holds some fish; mackerel, jacks, ladyfish, blues, and flounder. Cotee and D.O.A. jigs in gold, glow, and rootbeer/gold work best for me. If the bite is slow I'll switch to Gulp! baits. Live shrimp also caught a few fish.

 

I did some river and freshwater fishing, too. Snook fishing in the Myakka River has been reliable this year so far. I fished Lake Manatee and Upper Myakka Lake and both were slow for me, just a few crappie and bream. Upper Myakka Lake is VERY low, the deepest spot I marked was 2.2 feet.

Photo: Capt. Jim Klopfer
December 21, 2013
Sarasota - Saltwater Fishing Report

The most reliable fishing this week has been the deeper grass flats throughout the area. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, pompano, speckled trout, jacks, flounder, and ladyfish are all daily catches. Jigs work very well for fishing the deep flats as they allow anglers to cover a lot of water. Keep moving until a productive flat is located. Big Pass also holds some fish; mackerel, jacks, ladyfish, blues, and flounder. Cotee and D.O.A. jigs in gold, glow, and rootbeer/gold work best for me. If the bite is slow I'll switch to Gulp! baits. Live shrimp also caught a few fish.


I did some river and freshwater fishing, too. Snook fishing in the Myakka River has been reliable this year so far. I fished Lake Manatee and Upper Myakka Lake and both were slow for me, just a few crappie and bream. Upper Myakka Lake is VERY low, the deepest spot I marked was 2.2 feet.

Capt. Jim Klopfer  (941) 371-1390
December 14, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

I experienced another interesting and diverse week of fishing in various locations on a bunch of different baits. Large ladyfish are thick on most of the deep flats and in the passes, along with some speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, black sea bass, jacks, and bluefish. Jigs caught most of the fish. Redfish to 23" and jacks hit weedless gold Johnson spoons and white bait in shallow water and near mangrove shorelines. Snook to 30" hit the new Rapals jointed BX minnow (my new favorite bait) and Skitterprops in the Myakka River. Speckled perch (crappie), bluegill, and sunshine bass ( a striper white bass hybrid) hit Beetlespins and 1/16 ounce charteuse jigs in Lake Manatee.

 

On Monday Sarasota resident Doc Dojutrek fished a 6 hour trip. We ran down to Robert's Bay to try for snook and reds. We cast Rapalas and gold spoons and caught a redfish and a jack, but it really wasn't going on, so we headed back to Big Pass. I spotted some bait and loaded the well in one toss. The deep flats at Marker #5 and Marina Jacks provided steady action on ladyfish with a few trout, jacks, and mackerel mixed in. I hit an oyster bar nearby where we caught a couple of slot reds and missed a couple more. We headed to Big Pass and found steady action on mackerel, ladyfish and jacks. We finished up at the Radio Tower where I used the rest of the bait to chum them into a frenzy, catching more trout and ladyfish, along with 2 nice black sea bass.

 

A trip on Tuesday to Lake Manatee resulted in several crappie and bluegill, as well as a half dozen sunshine bass, which I heard they were stocking again. The Myakka River was steady, giving up some nice snook to 30" and larger ones being missed. Rapala jointed BX Minnows and Skitterprops fooled them.

 

On Friday I had a last-minute afternoon charter from CB's Saltwater Outfitters. We left at 2:00 and headed up north. The flats at Marina Jack and Marker # 5 provided fair action. Then, I moved into Big Pass and it was VERY good for an hour and a half. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jack crevelle, and ladyfish hit gold jigs and trolled X-Raps. We had 4 fish on at once several times!

 

I finished up the week on Saturday with Dan Crawford from Massilon, OH, his son Jackson, and buddies Cole Clausen and Ali Khatoun. Action was decent in Big Pass, steady though not crazy. Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, jacks, and gag grouper hit gold DOA jigs and trolled Rapala X-Raps. We hit the flats near Marker # 5 and caught some big ladyfish and Dan caught a nice flounder. Good trip with plenty of fillets for lunch at Claytons!

Photo: Capt. Jim Klopfer
December 14, 2013
Sarasota - Saltwater Fishing Report

I experienced another interesting and diverse week of fishing in various locations on a bunch of different baits. Large ladyfish are thick on most of the deep flats and in the passes, along with some speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, black sea bass, jacks, and bluefish. Jigs caught most of the fish. Redfish to 23" and jacks hit weedless gold Johnson spoons and white bait in shallow water and near mangrove shorelines. Snook to 30" hit the new Rapals jointed BX minnow (my new favorite bait) and Skitterprops in the Myakka River. Speckled perch (crappie), bluegill, and sunshine bass ( a striper white bass hybrid) hit Beetlespins and 1/16 ounce charteuse jigs in Lake Manatee.


On Monday Sarasota resident Doc Dojutrek fished a 6 hour trip. We ran down to Robert's Bay to try for snook and reds. We cast Rapalas and gold spoons and caught a redfish and a jack, but it really wasn't going on, so we headed back to Big Pass. I spotted some bait and loaded the well in one toss. The deep flats at Marker #5 and Marina Jacks provided steady action on ladyfish with a few trout, jacks, and mackerel mixed in. I hit an oyster bar nearby where we caught a couple of slot reds and missed a couple more. We headed to Big Pass and found steady action on mackerel, ladyfish and jacks. We finished up at the Radio Tower where I used the rest of the bait to chum them into a frenzy, catching more trout and ladyfish, along with 2 nice black sea bass.


A trip on Tuesday to Lake Manatee resulted in several crappie and bluegill, as well as a half dozen sunshine bass, which I heard they were stocking again. The Myakka River was steady, giving up some nice snook to 30" and larger ones being missed. Rapala jointed BX Minnows and Skitterprops fooled them.


On Friday I had a last-minute afternoon charter from CB's Saltwater Outfitters. We left at 2:00 and headed up north. The flats at Marina Jack and Marker # 5 provided fair action. Then, I moved into Big Pass and it was VERY good for an hour and a half. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jack crevelle, and ladyfish hit gold jigs and trolled X-Raps. We had 4 fish on at once several times!


I finished up the week on Saturday with Dan Crawford from Massilon, OH, his son Jackson, and buddies Cole Clausen and Ali Khatoun. Action was decent in Big Pass, steady though not crazy. Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, jacks, and gag grouper hit gold DOA jigs and trolled Rapala X-Raps. We hit the flats near Marker # 5 and caught some big ladyfish and Dan caught a nice flounder. Good trip with plenty of fillets for lunch at Claytons!

Capt. Jim Klopfer  (941) 371-1390
December 7, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

This week clients and Capt Jim caught a variety of fish using several techniques in different locations. Fish were caught in Sarasota Bay casting jigs, free lining shrimp, and fly fishing, along with a little plug casting in freshwater. The deep flats near the passes yielded speckled trout to 16", Spanish mackerel to 2 pounds, bluefish to 2 pounds, jacks, gag grouper, sea bass, and ladyfish. On a day off I caught largemouth bass, channel catfish, jacks, and ladyfish in the Manatee River on an X-Rap.

 

I did a little River fishing this week on the Manatee River between Ray's Canoe Hideaway and Rye Rd Bridge. The Manatee has a lot of variety; I caught ladyfish, jack crevelle to 4 pounds, largemouth bass to 3 pounds, and a 2 pound catfish, all on gold Rapala X-Raps.

 

I fished with Brian Ferry from Dayton, NJ and his 12 year old son Connor mid week. They started off catching ladyfish, sea bass, and grouper on jigs at the Radio Tower, then moved into Big Pass and caught ladyfish and jack crevelle. The tide turned to come in and they caught more ladyfish and speckled trout to 16" free lining live shrimp.

 

Later in the week Allen Hartman from Roanoke, VA and his buddy Jim Wilcher who lives in Riverview, FL went out on a 6 hour trip. Allen fly fished the entire time, while Jim spin fished. We started off hitting the mouth of Phillippi Creek at first light on a hard, outgoing tide. Jim caught a Spanish mackerel on a Rapala, but that was it. We moved to the flats near Big Pass. Allen caught a bunch of ladyfish, a nice 16" trout, and a couple of 2 pound bluefish using a chartreuse Clouser Minnow. Jim pitched in with a nice sea bass, a decent Spanish mackerel, and plenty of ladyfish using a jig head and Gulp! Shrimp. We also found a lot of ladyfish in Big Pass near South Lido Beach.

Photo: Capt. Jim Klopfer
December 7, 2013
Sarasota - Saltwater Fishing Report

This week clients and Capt Jim caught a variety of fish using several techniques in different locations. Fish were caught in Sarasota Bay casting jigs, free lining shrimp, and fly fishing, along with a little plug casting in freshwater. The deep flats near the passes yielded speckled trout to 16", Spanish mackerel to 2 pounds, bluefish to 2 pounds, jacks, gag grouper, sea bass, and ladyfish. On a day off I caught largemouth bass, channel catfish, jacks, and ladyfish in the Manatee River on an X-Rap.


I did a little River fishing this week on the Manatee River between Ray's Canoe Hideaway and Rye Rd Bridge. The Manatee has a lot of variety; I caught ladyfish, jack crevelle to 4 pounds, largemouth bass to 3 pounds, and a 2 pound catfish, all on gold Rapala X-Raps.


I fished with Brian Ferry from Dayton, NJ and his 12 year old son Connor mid week. They started off catching ladyfish, sea bass, and grouper on jigs at the Radio Tower, then moved into Big Pass and caught ladyfish and jack crevelle. The tide turned to come in and they caught more ladyfish and speckled trout to 16" free lining live shrimp.


Later in the week Allen Hartman from Roanoke, VA and his buddy Jim Wilcher who lives in Riverview, FL went out on a 6 hour trip. Allen fly fished the entire time, while Jim spin fished. We started off hitting the mouth of Phillippi Creek at first light on a hard, outgoing tide. Jim caught a Spanish mackerel on a Rapala, but that was it. We moved to the flats near Big Pass. Allen caught a bunch of ladyfish, a nice 16" trout, and a couple of 2 pound bluefish using a chartreuse Clouser Minnow. Jim pitched in with a nice sea bass, a decent Spanish mackerel, and plenty of ladyfish using a jig head and Gulp! Shrimp. We also found a lot of ladyfish in Big Pass near South Lido Beach.

Capt. Jim Klopfer  (941) 371-1390
November 30, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

 

Mother Nature provided us with challenging conditions this Thanksgiving week. Winds were 20+ knots during the first half of the week, but fishing was productive. Anglers fishing Big Pass and the nearby flats did well on bluefish, trout, ladyfish, jacks, and flounder using Cotee and D.O.A. CAL jigs. Snook fishing was good in the Myakke River, with fish to 28" being caught on Rapala BX Minnow plugs. Post front fishing was fair. Most of the fish caught were ladyfish with a few flounder and mangrove snapper mixed in. Good fishing should resume in a couple of days as the water clears and warms up.

 

On Sunday morning Dr Bill Ritchie from Akron, OH treated his daughter Laura to a trip on Sunday. Action was very steady on jacks, bluefish, and ladyfish in Big Pass and the flats near Marina Jack. Jigs, Rapala X-Raps, and live shrimp all produced plenty of fish.

 

I took out Patrick Tinucci and his teenage children Francesca and Anthony on Tuesday. We started off on the flats near Marker #5 catching a few trout, flounder, and ladyfish. The wind picked up, It was a steady 20 knots with gusts to 35. We "hid" in Big Pass and caught a lot of ladyfish and jacks, along with a couple of bluefish on gold and pearl colored jigs.

 

Wednesday morning I had a river snook trip scheduled with Kev Langham from the U.K. and his buddy Ian. Winds were 25+ out of the northwest and it was virtually un-fishable anywhere else. The boys did well casting Rapala Jointed BX Minnows in gold and firetiger. Snook to 28", bass, and gar fell for these life-like baits. Ian also jumped a 15 pound tarpon. Great scenery and quality fish with fun guys!

 

Thanksgiving morning was cold! Temps were in the upper 30's with a breeze; no fishing for me. On Friday I ran two trips with similar results. Fishing was a bit tough following the front. The water temperature was in the upper 50s, a drop of 10 degrees in a couple of days. Bruce Bellica from Atlanta and his grown sons John and Tim caught ladyfish on jigs and shrimp at the Marina Jack flats and in Robert's Bay. Mike McWilliams from Waukesha, WI and his 10 year old son Sean caught ladyfish and flounder on jigs in Little Sarasota Bay near Point Crisp and mangrove snapper in Phillippi Creek.

Photo: Capt. Jim Klopfer
November 30, 2013
Sarasota - Saltwater Fishing Report

Mother Nature provided us with challenging conditions this Thanksgiving week. Winds were 20+ knots during the first half of the week, but fishing was productive. Anglers fishing Big Pass and the nearby flats did well on bluefish, trout, ladyfish, jacks, and flounder using Cotee and D.O.A. CAL jigs. Snook fishing was good in the Myakke River, with fish to 28" being caught on Rapala BX Minnow plugs. Post front fishing was fair. Most of the fish caught were ladyfish with a few flounder and mangrove snapper mixed in. Good fishing should resume in a couple of days as the water clears and warms up. 

On Sunday morning Dr Bill Ritchie from Akron, OH treated his daughter Laura to a trip on Sunday. Action was very steady on jacks, bluefish, and ladyfish in Big Pass and the flats near Marina Jack. Jigs, Rapala X-Raps, and live shrimp all produced plenty of fish. 

On Tuesday I took out Patrick Tinucci and his teenage children Francesca and Anthony. We started off on the flats near Marker #5 catching a few trout, flounder, and ladyfish. The wind picked up, It was a steady 20 knots with gusts to 35. We "hid" in Big Pass and caught a lot of ladyfish and jacks, along with a couple of bluefish on gold and pearl colored jigs. 

Wednesday morning I had a river snook trip scheduled with Kev Langham from the U.K. and his buddy Ian. Winds were 25+ out of the northwest and it was virtually un-fishable anywhere else. The boys did well casting Rapala Jointed BX Minnows in gold and firetiger. Snook to 28", bass, and gar fell for these life-like baits. Ian also jumped a 15 pound tarpon. Great scenery and quality fish with fun guys! 

Thanksgiving morning was cold! Temps were in the upper 30's with a breeze; no fishing for me. On Friday I ran two trips with similar results. Fishing was a bit tough following the front. The water temperature was in the upper 50s, a drop of 10 degrees in a couple of days. Bruce Bellica from Atlanta and his grown sons John and Tim caught ladyfish on jigs and shrimp at the Marina Jack flats and in Robert's Bay. Mike McWilliams from Waukesha, WI and his 10 year old son Sean caught ladyfish and flounder on jigs in Little Sarasota Bay near Point Crisp and mangrove snapper in Phillippi Creek.

Capt. Jim Klopfer  (941) 371-1390
November 23, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

 

I did a mix of saltwater, freshwater, and brackish water river fishing this week. Rapala X-Raps, gold Cotee jigs, D.O.A. CAL baits, and Gulp! Shrimp produced speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jacks, and ladyfish on the deep flats and in Big Pass. The new Rapala jointed BX Minnow fooled snook to 33" in the Myakka River. Largemouth bass and tilapia hit black spinnerbaits and chartreuse curly tail jigs. Action was slow in Upper Myakka lake, a few stumpknocker and crappie took small baitfish patterns on fly and black Beetlespins. The water level is pretty low.

 

Early in the week tides were right for fishing the Myakka River in Venice. I prefer a high, outgoing tide. Using the new Rapala jointed BX Minnow, I caught several snook in the slot, lost a couple more and landed a couple of small fish. I also caught largemouth bass on black spinnerbaits and tilapia on a tiny jig.

 

Sarasota resident Doc Dojutrek and his friend Bill Kish from Cleveland, OH had a decent trip later in the week. Action was fast at the Radio Tower using Gulp! and D.O.A. CAL baits. Ladyfish, jacks, and trout kept the rods bent. I moved to a shallow bar near Selby and they caught Spanish mackerel and ladfyfish using Rapalas and jigs. Another move, this time to Big Pass, resulted in fast action on bluefish, jacks, and ladyfish. We decided to try some spots for snook and redfish, but without much luck.

Photo: Capt. Jim Klopfer
November 23, 2013
Sarasota - Saltwater Fishing Report

I did a mix of saltwater, freshwater, and brackish water river fishing this week. Rapala X-Raps, gold Cotee jigs, D.O.A. CAL baits, and Gulp! Shrimp produced speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jacks, and ladyfish on the deep flats and in Big Pass. The new Rapala jointed BX Minnow fooled snook to 33" in the Myakka River. Largemouth bass and tilapia hit black spinnerbaits and chartreuse curly tail jigs. Action was slow in Upper Myakka lake, a few stumpknocker and crappie took small baitfish patterns on fly and black Beetlespins. The water level is pretty low.


Early in the week tides were right for fishing the Myakka River in Venice. I prefer a high, outgoing tide. Using the new Rapala jointed BX Minnow, I caught several snook in the slot, lost a couple more and landed a couple of small fish. I also caught largemouth bass on black spinnerbaits and tilapia on a tiny jig.


Sarasota resident Doc Dojutrek and his friend Bill Kish from Cleveland, OH had a decent trip later in the week. Action was fast at the Radio Tower using Gulp! and D.O.A. CAL baits. Ladyfish, jacks, and trout kept the rods bent. I moved to a shallow bar near Selby and they caught Spanish mackerel and ladfyfish using Rapalas and jigs. Another move, this time to Big Pass, resulted in fast action on bluefish, jacks, and ladyfish. We decided to try some spots for snook and redfish, but without much luck.

Capt. Jim Klopfer  (941) 371-1390
November 16, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

 

Fishing was excellent early in the week as a severe front was approaching. Clients caught snook, speckled trout, silver trout, Spanish mackerel, jacks, gag grouper, flounder, sea bass, and ladyfish on the flats using pilchards and shrimp. Ladyfish were thick in Big Pass along with jacks, bluefish, and mackerel and hit gold Cotee jigs. Fly casters caught trout and ladyffish on the flats near Bird Key, ladyfish and jacks in Big Pass, and Spanish mackerel in the Gulf near Point of Rocks. Wednesday and Thursday were windy, but Friday morning was nice and the action resumed as before with good action in Big Pass and the nearby flats.

 

I started the week off with a good trip with Mike Cribbs from Tampa, FL and his father-in-law Frank Regnery from CT. They free lined live shrimp and pilchards near Big Pass and caught slot speckled trout to 17", a dozen Spanish mackerel, 4 of which were around 3 pounds, jacks, grouper, silver trout, whiting, flounder, and ladyfish. We moved to a nearby shallow bar where they landed a couple more trout and a pair of snook around 22".

 

Janine and Francis Sacco from San Martin, CA had a good trip on Monday. Using live shrimp in the Yacht Club Channel, Radio Tower, and middlegrounds, they landed speckled trout to 18", Spanish mackerel, jacks, ladyfish, and grouper. It was a ladyfish on every cast using Cotee jigs in Big Pass.

 

Fly fisherman Oscar Vertanen from Finland had an excellent morning on Tuesday, just ahead of the front. We started off using chartreuse over white Clousers on the edges of flats near Bird Key, catching speckled trout to 16", ladyfish, and jacks. A move to Big Pass resulted in large ladyfish and jacks near Marker #15. The wind was light and out of the east, so we decided to go look out on the beach, hoping to find some false albacore. No luck, but we did come across some Spanish mackerel working on the surface near Point of Rocks. There were a bit skittish, but we landed a pair on white D.T. Specials and lost several flies.

 

Aidan Farrell and Martin Dillon are both recent arrivals to Sarasota and wanted a little "fishing lesson" to learn the local spots and techniques. We started off vertically jigging in Big Pass with gold Cotee jigs. Ladyfish, jacks, and bluefish kept them busy. We moved to the nearby flats; Bird Key, Marker #5, Marina Jacks, and Radio Tower, all produced good action on Gulp! Shrimp.

Photo: Capt. Jim Klopfer
November 16, 2013
Sarasota - Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing was excellent early in the week as a severe front was approaching. Clients caught snook, speckled trout, silver trout, Spanish mackerel, jacks, gag grouper, flounder, sea bass, and ladyfish on the flats using pilchards and shrimp. Ladyfish were thick in Big Pass along with jacks, bluefish, and mackerel and hit gold Cotee jigs. Fly casters caught trout and ladyffish on the flats near Bird Key, ladyfish and jacks in Big Pass, and Spanish mackerel in the Gulf near Point of Rocks. Wednesday and Thursday were windy, but Friday morning was nice and the action resumed as before with good action in Big Pass and the nearby flats. 

I started the week off with a good trip with Mike Cribbs from Tampa, FL and his father-in-law Frank Regnery from CT. They free lined live shrimp and pilchards near Big Pass and caught slot speckled trout to 17", a dozen Spanish mackerel, 4 of which were around 3 pounds, jacks, grouper, silver trout, whiting, flounder, and ladyfish. We moved to a nearby shallow bar where they landed a couple more trout and a pair of snook around 22". 

Janine and Francis Sacco from San Martin, CA had a good trip on Monday. Using live shrimp in the Yacht Club Channel, Radio Tower, and middlegrounds, they landed speckled trout to 18", Spanish mackerel, jacks, ladyfish, and grouper. It was a ladyfish on every cast using Cotee jigs in Big Pass. 

Fly fisherman Oscar Vertanen from Finland had an excellent morning on Tuesday, just ahead of the front. We started off using chartreuse over white Clousers on the edges of flats near Bird Key, catching speckled trout to 16", ladyfish, and jacks. A move to Big Pass resulted in large ladyfish and jacks near Marker #15. The wind was light and out of the east, so we decided to go look out on the beach, hoping to find some false albacore. No luck, but we did come across some Spanish mackerel working on the surface near Point of Rocks. There were a bit skittish, but we landed a pair on white D.T. Specials and lost several flies. 

Aidan Farrell and Martin Dillon are both recent arrivals to Sarasota and wanted a little "fishing lesson" to learn the local spots and techniques. We started off vertically jigging in Big Pass with gold Cotee jigs. Ladyfish, jacks, and bluefish kept them busy. We moved to the nearby flats; Bird Key, Marker #5, Marina Jacks, and Radio Tower, all produced good action on Gulp! Shrimp.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
November 9, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Action on the deep flats continues to be good for a variety of species. I only fished one charter this week as I was on vacation up in north Georgia. On that trip Lynn and Joe Sorrentino from Ocala, FL caught Spanish mackerel to 2 1/2 lbs, speckled trout to 17", sea bass to 14", gag grouper, jack crevelle, ladyfish, and sail cats on live shrimp and pilchards in the Yacht Club channel. After a couple hours of steady action, we decided to try for bigger game. Joe caught two snook, one 18" and the other 23" and had a couple more hard hits. We were using pilchards near Selby Gardens. The tide quit and we called it a morning.

I did a little prospecting on the Myakka River this week. I took fellow CB's guide Ed hurst out on Thursday to do a little fly fishing. He caught a snook and a gar on a purple Puglisi pattern. On Friday Bonnie Czepiel did a bit better, she landed 6 snook and lost a pair of big fish trolling #8 gold/black Rapala X-Raps. She also caught a big tilapia and 2 smaller ones on nightcrawlers.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
October 26, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing was very good once again this week, despite a front that moved through. Snook to 23", redfish to 25", Speckled trout to 22", Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, jack crevelle to 5 pounds, snapper to 13", gag grouper to 18", and ladyfish all provided great fun on charters this week. Bait can become difficult to catch after a front, but I have a "secret" spot where I loaded the well with ease. Once bait is procured, success is practically guaranteed. Most of the fish were caught using live pilchards but we did catch a few on Rapalas.

 

I started off the week with long-time client Chaz Boyter from New Jersey. Chaz stays at Fisherman's Inn on the south end of Siesta, right next to the ramp at Turtle Beach, so we meet there. We ran up to the Intracoastal Waterway and cast Rapals at first light, hooking a pair of snook, 2 tiny ladyfish, and several jacks. The bite is over once the sun comes up, so we headed north, caught bait, and hit a couple of Bird Key spots. Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, jacks, gag grouper, mangrove snapper, and ladyfish hit on nearly every cast. After an hour or so of "action" fishing, we decided to try for bigger game. I hit a snook spot along Siesta Key; no snook but Chaz landed several slot trout and a couple of nice jacks. I decided to finish up down south near Midnight Pass. I had not fished there in months. Action was steady on jacks to 5 pounds, they responded enthusiastically to the chum! Chaz finished off the trip with a snook, fun trip, great guy!

 

Terry Mark from Olean, NY fished with me on Thursday after Wednesday was rained out. Terry is one of my most "tenured" client; he has been fishing with me for many years now and we always have a great time. Despite cool and breezy conditions, Terry caught over 30 fish including several slot trout, the largest of which went 22", Spanish mackerel, jacks, ladyfish, grouper, and snapper. Most of the fish were caught in the Yacht Club Channel, all on pilchards.

 

Ed Grenke from Hudson, NH, and his friends Madeline and Bob Gagnon along with Mary O'Brien finished up the week for me. The fishing was outstanding! Bait was easy and we sat at Marker #5 for 2 1/2 hours, catching fish steadily. The girls had the prime spots on the rear corners and had a bite on nearly every cast. The boys did OK, too. A lot of Spanish mackerel were hooked, along with trout (2 in the slot), jacks, several nice mangrove snapper to 13", jacks, grouper, and ladyfish. We decided to get out of the wind and try a shallow spot, and it worked out nicely. Madeline caught an 18" grouper and a couple of trout, then Mary landed a 23" redfish. Ed followed with a nice 25" red. Several more trout were caught and we called it a morning.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
October 19, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

 

Anglers fishing with me out of CB's Saltwater Outfitter on Siesta Key had another outstanding week of fishing! The species landed included snook, redfish, speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jack crevelle, ladyfish, black sea bass, mangrove snapper, gag grouper, and sail cats. Live pilchards were the key to success this week; just about all the fish were caught using these great live baits. The deeper flats near Big Pass continue to be very productive. Despite terrific bait, the snook fishing has only been fair, perhaps a little cool weather will fire them up. I fished Upper Myakka Lake for the first time in a while. The water is high, the river is not really fishable, but the lake is fine. We caught bluegill, stumpknocker, a pair of shellcracker, and a bullhead trolling and casting black Beetlespins.

 

On Monday Taylor Hillier and his dad Lloyd Hillier, both from Canada experienced steady action on the deep flats near Bird Key. We started off casting Rapalas, but not much luck, a couple of ladyfish and jacks, the tide was barely moving. Bait was easy and action was good near Bird Key with a lot of Spanish mackerel along with speckled trout, ladyfish, sea bass, gag grouper, jacks, and mangrove snapper. We finished up trying for snook on the falling tide in Robert's Bay. I had them popping pretty good, but all we could get to eat was a couple of 3 pound jacks.

 

Jim Fitzpatrick and his buddy Roger Sowinsky had a good day on Wednesday. We left Ken Thompson Park and made a quick drift or two at the Radio Tower casting Gulp! Shrimp. Not much, a few jacks and smaller fish, so time to catch bait. We sat in one spot for 2 1/2 hours, landing 15 or so mackerel and losing a bunch more, a couple dozen jacks, ladyfish, grouper, and snapper. Surprisingly, no trout. We did finish up at the Radio Tower with a couple of trout.

 

John and Amy Krasinsky and Chris Packer, all from the State College, PA area had a good trip on Thursday. We left CB's, and idled north. Bait was thick at the north end of Siesta Key, so I loaded up and went to a spot near Bird Key that has been reliable. For an hour and a half just about every bait that hit the water got crushed. Decent Spanish mackerel, slot speckled trout, jacks, ladyfish, and more kept the rods bent. With the "action" part of the trip satisfied, we decided to go for snook and reds. Again, we did OK, but nothing spectacular. They caught a pair of snook, 2 nice mangrove snappers, 3 speckled trout between 16" and 18", and several jacks up to 4 pounds in Robert's Bay.

 

I had a great morning on Friday with Mike Kirby from CO and his daughter Beth Sagris and son-in-law George Sagris from Chicago. When I arrived at Centennial Park to launch the boat and there was bait and busting fish everywhere in the basin. I tossed the net and caught some nice pilchards. When my clients showed up, I shoved the boat off the dock and they caught a 22" snook on the first cast, followed by a few ladyfish and a small red. Nice way to start the trip, 2/3s of a "slam" before starting the motor! I went to Bird Key and action was steady on Mackerel, trout, snappers, jacks, and ladyfish. I ran out of bait, and quickly reloaded and hit Marker #5. The fishing was ridiculous! Spanish mackerel to 4 pounds, bluefish, trout, jacks, grouper, and ladyfish hit every bait. I was chumming heavily and it was just crazy! They actually wore out (plus it was quite warm) and we headed in early.

 

I was off Saturday and took my friend Bonnie Czepiel out to scout Myakka State Park. The water is still very high; the river is pretty much un-fishhable. So, we put in at the Upper Lake and cast and trolled black Beetlespins. It took a while to find them, but once we did the action was pretty fast. Bluegill, stumpknocker, shellcracker, and a bullhead came home for dinner.

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
October 12, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing was very good this week on a variety of species. Snook, Spanish mackerel to 3 1/2 pounds, bluefish to 3 pounds, speckled trout to 18", jack crevelle, black sea bass to 14", keeper mangrove snapper, sharks, small gag grouper, ladyfish, and more. Most of the fish were caught on live pilchards, threadies, and pinfish, but we did catch a few on Gulp! Shrimp and Rapala X-Raps. The deep flats at the Radio Tower and near Big Pass were best this week on my trips.

 

I want to mention something here. I had several clients this week who expressed an interest in eating the fish they caught, but did not want the hassle of cooking them. A great solution is to take the fish to Clayton's Siesta Grille, http://claytonssiestagrille.com/ located right behind CB's Saltwater Outfitters. Chef Dimitri does an unbelievable job preparing all species of locally caught fish. Just drop the fillets off and make a reservation, then show up and eat!

 

I started off the week with a regular client, Scott Pearce from Memphis, TN and his buddy Sean. The tide was falling so we decided to leave Centennial Park at 6:45 and run down to the Intracoastal near Phillippi Creek and try and catch a snook. They were casting Rapala X-Raps and Scott had 2 nice fish on for several seconds, but they got loose. A bit later, he caught a big bluefish that struck ferociously right at the boat! Sean and Scott landed 8 jack crevelle and the bite quit. I ran back towards Big Pass, caught some bait, and they had steady action on trout, mackerel, ladyfish, jacks, grouper, and snapper.

 

On Tuesday Mike and Gina Rymer from Petersburg, MI had a good trip. We left the ramp and it was blowing pretty good out of the west. This makes catching bait a bit more difficult, but I loaded the well and off we went. The best spots were deep grass just off of Bird Key. They landed Spanish mackerel to 3 1/2 pounds, speckled trout to 18", jacks, ladyfish, several keeper mangrove snapper, gag grouper, sea bass, and sail cats.

 

Jonathan Daniels from Mentor, KY took out his son Jonathan and his buddies Kyle Dullaghan and Seth Hounshell on Wednesday. We started off casting Gulp at the Radio Tower, catching a few ladyfish and trout. I ran to New Pass and in one throw of the net caught all the bait I could use. Chumming back at the Radio Tower resulted in a nice bluefish, a couple of mackerel, a nice sea bass, a couple of slot trout along with some shorts, ladyfish, jacks, gag grouper, and sail cats. The bite slowed and the cormorants were so bad that I couldn't chum, so we picked up and ran a short way to Bird Key. The Spanish mackerel bite was on! The boys put ten or so in the box and released a dozen more. With fresh fish secured for Clayton's Grill on Siesta Key to cook up for them, we decided to try for a snook. I went up in behind Selby Gardens to give it a try. We did not wreck them but we caught two snook and a couple more mackerel. Great trip with good guys!

 

Dr Bill Ritchie was in town from Akron, OH visiting his daughter Laura who lives here in Sarasota, and decided to squeeze in a fishing trip. We started off casting Gulp! at the radio Tower, and although we had a bite on nearly every cast, but a lot of it was small stuff like grunts and puffer fish. I went to catch bait and just as I was finishing up I got a call from my buddy Capt Roy String, another CB's guide. He knows that I also use bait and he said he had them cranked up and was leaving, so I ran over to him and took over where he left off. Thanks, Roy!! We caught Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, speckled trout, ladyfish, gag grouper and several nice keeper mangrove snapper. They discussed keeping a few fish and I suggested Clayton's, and they were all over it. So, with dinner in the box, we decided to try for snook and reds. Again, not gangbusters, but they landed a snook, a jack, and a 14" mang.

 

On Saturday Steve Hess, Mike Baio, and Rick Sueitzer, all from the Niagra Falls, NY area, had a very good trip. We started off casting Rapalas near the mouth of Phillippi Creek, but only caught a few jacks and a ladyfish. Bait was thick on the north end of Siesta Key and I loaded the well in a couple of minutes. We spent the next two hours anchored in one spot near Big Pass, catching a bunch of Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, 6 keeper mangrove snapper, jacks, speckled trout, grouper, sea bass, a nice bluefish and a shark. The action varied from steady to non-stop! Another family meal at Clayton's in on the menu.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
October 5, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing was steady on the deep grass flats this week. I concentrated most of my efforts at the Radio Tower and flats near Bird Key. Speckled trout to 18", Spanish mackerel to 4 pounds, black sea bass to 14', ladyfish, jack crevelle, mangrove snapper, gag grouper, flounder, pompano, sailcats, and more hit Gulp! Shrimp, and live bait this week.

Louis Gagnon and his fiancee Chris fished with me early in the week and experienced very good action along with variety and quality. I picked them up at the Ritz Carlton and we ran across and cast Gulp! Shrimp at the Radio Tower. Chris had barely fished but took lessons well and they caught speckled trout, ladyfish jacks, a couple of nice sea bass, gag grouper and lost a decent pompano. The breeze picked up so I went into New Pass, caught bait, and then ran in behind Bird Key to get a break from the wind. It took a little bit of chumming to get them going, but once I did it was a bite on every cast! Trout, jacks, snapper, grouper, flounder, sea bass, ladfyfish and Spanish mackerel kept them busy. A lot of big mackerel were hooked and made long runs, but most of them broke off. We did get several to the boat with the largest pushing 4 pounds.

On Friday Nancy and Tim Smalley from Minneapolis, MN had another good trip. We left Ken Thompson Park, idled out to the Radio Tower flat, and for an hour had steady action on jacks, a bunch of ladyfish, gag grouper, trout, a small pompano, and a Spanish mackerel free lining live shrimp and casting Gulp! The bite slowed so I ran around the corner, caught bait, and headed to one of my Bird Key flats. Once the chum got them going, we had good action on trout to 18", several Spanish mackerel, lane and mangrove snapper, big sailcats, jacks, and ladyfish. With dinner in the box and Nancy's arms tired, we decided to spend the last hour trying to catch a snook. Despite the very nice bait, I could not find a snook or red. We did finish up on a bar landing several more slot trout.

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
September 28, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Back out on the water after nearly a month off, glad to be back at it! I did a little "shake down" trip for both me and my boat with my friend Beth Reis from Lakeland, FL. We left Centennial Park and ran across to New Pass where bait was thick. A couple of tosses of the net filled the well with pilchards of varying sizes. I motored over to Bird Key and the fish were biting without even chumming! Several 2 lb Spanish mackerel, some ladyfish and speckled trout kept up busy. After 45 minutes of steady action and a few macks on ice, we decided to try and catch a snook or redfish. Working docks in Robert's Bay resulted in snook, redfish, and jack crevelle. Beth kicked my butt, catching an "inshore slam" ( a snook, red, and trout in the same day), topping off the morning with a gorgeous 25" redfish.

 

The water temperature was 76 degrees in the morning, a little bit lower and the action on the beach should kick off. The water in the bay is dark from all the rain, but it will clear up quickly and fishing is good.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
September 8, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing remains outstanding on the deep grass flats near both Big Pass and New Pass. The flats on the north end of Siesta Key have been particularly productive. Speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, pompano, jacks, snapper, grouper, bluefish, sea bass, ladyfish, and more were hooked on trips early this week. We even had a 50 lb tarpon on for 2 jumps before he "spooled" us!

 

On Sunday I took out a group using a CB's pontoon boat; there were too many for my boat. These are great fishing boats, especially with kids involved, plenty of room to move around along with comfortable seating and shade. We began the trip with a bang by hooking an estimated 50 pound tarpon near Bird Key. It jumped twice before dumping the spool, very exciting! We put 4 Spanish mackerel in the box before the rain chased us to cover. Once it cleared, we resumed the "catching" at the Marina Jack flat, putting more macks, some nice mangrove snapper, several big black sea bass, and a decent pompano in the cooler. All the fish hit free lined live shrimp.

 

Jessica Dean went out with me and the action was non-stop on the flats near Big Pass. I loaded up on bait, mostly threadies, and we wrecked them. Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, bluefish, ladyfish, mangrove snapper,jacks, and more hit live bait and flies cast into the chum. It got VERY hot so we called it a morning early with a nice mess of fish to clean.

 

I will be off the water for a couple of weeks to get some "routine maintenance" done on me and the boat. Hopefully the bonita and mackerel action will be going in the inshore Gulf!

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
August 31, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

It sounds like a broken record, but fishing remains outstanding on the deep flats near Big Pass using live pilchards and threadfin herring. We did land snook, ladyfish, and jacks on Rapala X-Raps and trout and a nice flounder on Gulp!, but most of the action resulted from chumming with live bait. The bait is plentiful and very easy to catch. Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper have been very consistent. Most of the trout were small but we did land several around 20". Snook, redfish, and jacks were caught in Robert's Bay.

 

Early in the week Steve Owen who lives in Cincinnati, OH came to Siesta Key. His son Stephen lives here in town and they joined me for a morning charter. We started off at first light casting Gulp! Shrimp at the Radio Tower. We caught a few, kinda picked at them, though Steve caught a nice flounder. I ran around the corner, loaded up on bait, idled 200 feet away to the edge of the flat and we caught fish steadily for two hours. The boys caught a dozen Spanish mackerel, some nice mangs, plenty of speckled trout, one of which was 22", jacks, bluefish, and more. Oddly enough, we never hooked a ladyfish. We moved back to the Radio Tower and got them going again, catching a couple of big mackerel and some nice jacks.

 

Sarasota resident Jessica Dean went out one evening. We caught a few trout and then a storm chased us to cover. We sat it out for a bit, then ran down to Robert's Bay. We found a spot where the tide was running along a mangrove shoreline and bait was thick. Jessica caught a nice redfish on a pilchard and we caught jacks, small snook, and ladyfish on Rapala X-Raps and live bait. We finished up at the Radio Tower with a few trout and ladyfish.

 

Joe Gallegos and his son Joe Jr from Idaho met up with Joe's other son Sean, who lives in Gainesville, on Lido Beach for Lador Day and decided to go fishing. We left Ken Thompson Park and made a quick drift using Gulp! at the Radio Tower; not much happening. So, a short run around the corned, several tosses of the net, and we were in business. Just about every bait that hit the water got eaten, mostly Spanish mackerel, but also jacks, speckled trout, and ladyfish. A storm sent us scurrying for cover and after a 20 minute break we were back at it, this time the Radio Tower. Action was fast and furious as the boys caught mangrove snapper to 14", speckled trout to 20", jacks, ladyfish, mackerel, and catfish.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
August 24, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing continues to be outstanding in Sarasota Bay. Anglers hooked snook and redfish on Rapala X-Raps and caught Spanish mackerel to 4 pounds, speckled trout to 20", bluefish, mangrove snapper, gag grouper, black sea bass, flounder, jack crevelle, sharks, ladyfish, and more free lining live bait over the deep grass. The mackerel fishing has been particularly good, especially for August, followed closely by the abundant, and tasty, mangrove snapper. There is a nice mix of pilchards and threadfins, and once the bait is acquired, success is guaranteed. All of the flats near the passes have been productive; Radio Tower, Middlegrounds, Bird Key, and Marina Jack. Just choose a flat with nice grass in 6' of water or deeper where the tide and wind are going in the same direction, anchor up, throw a few handfuls of live bait out, and hang on!

 

I tried to take Jessica Dean out fishing Sunday afternoon, but Mother Nature did not cooperate. Thunderstorms are an issue in the afternoon this time of year. Bait was ridiculously easy and in short order we had trout, jacks, and mackerel boiling behind the boat at the Radio Tower. It was difficult leaving, but we had to.

 

On Tuesday morning I took Bonnie Czepial, a Sarasota resident, out for the morning. We ran down to Robert's Bay at first light where Bonnie landed a redfish on a Rapala. We also had a decent snook jump off and missed a couple of bites. The tide quit and I caught bait, again very easy. We sat at one spot for an hour and a half and landed six keeper mangrove snapper, several slot trout and Spanish mackerel, along with a bunch of short trout and ladyfish. Back on the trailer by 10:30, nice morning!

 

Vladimir Prica from Ontario took his two boys Stefan (10) and Vasili (8) out on their first real fishing trip. This was a perfect trip to use whitebait. It was a bit breezy and the bait was a little hard to spot, but I knew where it was and two tosses was all I needed. We fished two spots all morning, A flat near Bird Key and the Radio Tower. The boys put ten mangrove snapper, a trout, and 3 Spanish mackerel in the box, released another dozen macks, a bunch of trout, lane snapper, a ladyfish, several jack crevelle, and a cute little two foot shark. Action was very steady, there was just one little lull when the tide turned.

 

Allen and Barbara Yanaros and their twenty year old twins Phil and Lindsay went out on Friday. Fishing was fantastic! We left CB's at 7:00 a.m. and idled north. Three tosses of the net got us all the bait we needed for the morning; mostly threadies but with plenty of nice pilchards mixed in. I ran to the Radio Tower to catch the last hour of the falling tide and the fishing was ridiculous. Every bait that hit the water got eaten, and that was without any chum! It was so busy that Al kept stopping to help me land fish and bait hooks. The action slowed as the tide quit and the pinfish became a nuisance. We made a move to Marker #5 and in short order got them cranked up again. We didn't keep count but probably caught a hundred fish. A half dozen nice Spanish ended up on ice along with ten mangrove snapper and a fat 19" trout that al caught right at the end of the trip. Dinner at Clayton's for them and enough for Capt Jim to keep a couple of tasty snapper, too! We released another 15 macks, plenty of small trout and mangs, several jack crevelle, ladyfish, bluefish, sea bass, gag grouper, and of course catfish and pinfish. Great day, great family!

 

Bob Siemering treated his 3 sons John, Joey, and Michael to a trip on Saturday. I picked them up at their dock in Robert's Bay and caught bait on the way north to the Radio Tower. We sat in one spot for over two hours, steadily catching fish. The birds were a nuisance at first, making it difficult to chum. They caught around 50 fish, including a couple dozen Spanish mackerel, several of which were pushing 4 pounds, speckled trout to 18", jacks, 20 mangrove snapper, most of which were keepers, ladyfish, gag grouper, black sea bass, and catfish. We spent a little time on the way back at an oyster bar, hoping for a snook or red, but only caught a trout and a flounder.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
August 17, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

 

Fishing was very good once again this week. The Radio Tower was the most consistent spot and as has been the case, chumming with baitfish produced steady action. Speckled trout, silver trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jack crevelle, mangrove snapper, sea bass, gag grouper, and ladyfish kept rods bent and clients smiling! Trips averaged around 60-70 fish and all charters produced enough fish for a meal or two.

 

Steve and Janine Weiss from Morristown, NJ and their son Ian and a very good morning on Monday. We basically fished one spot; the Radio Tower. We started off casting large live shrimp under corks. Janine caught a nice 19" speckled trout and the boys caught some under-sized trout. The bite slowed so I went to catch bait. It was a bit tough, but with a little patience I filled the well. Chumming the same Radio Tower flat resulted in non-stop action on trout, jacks, mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, and ladyfish. They finished up with several trout and a half dozen snappers for Clayton's Grill to cook up for them.

 

Rick Carney and his teenage sons Kevin (17) and Brian (15) experienced a similar trip on Tuesday. As I idled north near the Siesta Drive Bridge I came across a nice wad of bait. Two casts later I had a well full of threadies, not as desirable as pilchards, but good enough. I stopped at Marker #5 and action was fair. After about 20 minutes and ten fish or so I left, just could not get them cranked up. On the way to the Radio tower I saw another bunch of bait and "loaded up" again. I went to the same spot as Monday and action was non-stop. Speckled trout to 18", Spanish mackerel to 2 pounds, jack crevelle, mangrove snapper, gag grouper and ladyfish kept the boys busy. They kept enough for dinner, and they are also having Clayton's cook them up.

 

Tom Beall from Pittsburg, PA, his 12 year old son Liam and son-in-law Marlos Goes had a great trip on Friday! The weather was a bit unstable at first light, it was blowing 20+ with rain in the area. It looked a bit "iffy", but we decided to give it a try, and that was a good call. The wind laid down and we wrecked them. I caught enough bait in five minutes and spent the entire morning at the Radio Tower. The boys caught around 75 fish, including Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, speckled trout to 18", silver trout to 12", bluefish to 2 pounds, jack crevelle, ladyfish, gag grouper, sea bass and for a few minutes had a crazy mangrove snapper bite going. I was chumming with dead threadies and the mangs rose up up a cloud, very cool in the clear water. We caught a couple dozen or so including eight nice keepers.

 

I took out Jessica Bell, a Sarasota local, on Saturday. Jess is a pretty girl who likes to fish and I use this time of year to get pics and material for upcoming articles and other projects. So, I took a bunch of nice pictures and then she fished a little bit. She caught speckled trout, ladyfish, and finished up with a pair of nice Spanish mackerel at Marker #5 using bait.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
August 10, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

 

Fishing went from decent early in the week to fantastic by the end of the week! Snook, redfish, speckled trout, silver trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, mangrove snapper, gag grouper, black sea bass, flounder, sharks, jack crevelle, and ladyfish were caught by clients on my charters this week. Chumming with live baitfish on the deep flats near both Big Pass and New Pass continued to be extremely productive; on Friday we caught over 100 fish. The Middlegrounds, Radio Tower, and Marina Jack flats all produced steady action. Docks and shorelines in Robert's Bay held snook, redfish, mangrove snapper, jacks, and flounder. "Catch of the week" honors go to Mike Simon of Davie, FL who caught an inshore slam using Rapalas and topwater plugs, including a 27" speckled trout.

 

I started the week off with Drew Martindale and his new bride Ashton who were on their honeymoon. Fishing was steady, but the cormorants were an issue. I could not chum with the pilchards as they would eat them as fast as I tossed them in. At the one spot where I was able to chum, action was non-stop. Still, we wound up with speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, sea bass, bluefish, and mangrove snapper in the box and released more trout and macks along with jacks and ladyfish. The Radio Tower and Middlegrounds were the best spots.

 

Mike Simon and his 10 year old son Andrew fished with me on Tuesday. Mike likes topwater action, so we hit the radio Tower at first light and he caught trout and a Spanish mackerel while Andrew landed several nice slot trout using live pinfish. After the bite slowed, I netted bait and we caught more trout, mackerel, ladyfish, jacks, sea bass and snapper on the deep grass.

 

Sarasota resident Doc Dojutrek and I caught redfish to 23", speckled trout to 21", keeper mangrove snapper and flounder on Wednesday. I rarely fish on a charter, but Doc doesn't like to fish alone, so I "had" to fish! The trout were caught at the Middlegrounds and Radio Tower while the red, flounder, and snapper were caught under docks in Robert's Bay. We cast a few plugs and jigs, but almost all the fish were caught on live pilchards, pinfish, and grunts.

 

Mike Simon fished with me again on Thursday. We did the "deep grass" thing on Tuesday, so we decided to try for more challenging fish. We left CB's at 6:30 and worked docks and shorelines in Robert's Bay with plugs. Mike caught a snook on an X-Rap and a ladyfish on a Yozuri, then switched to a topwater plug. Good move! The result was a slot red, several jacks, a 24" snook which shook off at the boat, and a very large "mystery fish" which blew up on it but missed. And, to complete the inshore "slam" in style, Mike caught a gorgeous 27" speckled trout in a foot of water!

 

Don Loyd from Edmond, OK took out his son Greg and daughters Sydney and India on Friday. The fishing was spectacular! We started off drifting pinfish at the Radio Tower, catching one keeper trout, several smaller ones, and India landed a 30" shark; great fun on light tackle. Capt Roy String called and told the bait was thick very close by, so I "loaded up" and went back to the Radio Tower to chum. Two hours of non-stop action resulted in speckled trout, silver trout, Spanish mackerel, and mangrove snapper in the box. Short trout, gag grouper, ladyfish and catfish were released. Greg had a big trout (25" or so) shake off boat side. I spoke to Roy on the phone and he said he had them wound up near Marina Jacks but was getting low on bait. So, I re-laoded and ran over to him, gave him some bait, and we double-teamed them for an hour or so. It was two to three fish at a time on both boats! Capt Roy and I both like to fish with bait and often work together to catch bait and chum them up. Big fun.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
August 3, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

 

Fishing was VERY good once again this week on the deep grass flats near both Big Pass and New Pass. Several speckled trout over 20" were landed, along with others in the slot and some short fish. We averaged ten Spanish mackerel per trip and caught some nice mangrove snappers, black sea bass, gag grouper, jack crevelle, bluefish, silver trout, and ladyfish. A few fish were caught using Gulp! Shrimp but chumming with live bait produced very consistently. Bait was a bit tough early in the week but as tides improved nice bait was easier to catch. A full well almost guarantees a bunch of bent rods! There are also a fair amount of jacks in Robert's Bay.

 

Russell Archer and his 15 year old grandson Cameron, both from Cartersville, GA started the week off with a great trip on Monday. We ran to Big Pass, loaded up on bait, then sat in one spot for two and a half hours, getting bit on almost every cast. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, speckled trout, silver trout, jacks, and ladyfish kept the boys busy. We finished up in the Intracoastal near Stickney Pt. with a nice little "jack attack". I was trying to catch a redfish or snook but the jacks were too aggressive, a nice problem to have.

 

I had a two boat trip with Capt Bruce on Tuesday. Tom Moroney from Tampa, his two sons Jack (12) and James (10) along with their cousin Andrew (10) experienced steady action near Big Pass using live pilchards. They put 8 Spanish mackerel on ice and released a couple more along with speckled trout, sea bass, jack crevelle, and ladyfish. We made a move to the Radio Tower and really lit them up! Bluefish, mackerel, ladyfish, and trout kept the boys busy until it was time to head in.

 

Sarasota residents Martha and Brian Heard along with their daughter Selena experienced steady action on Wednesday. We started off casting Gulp! Shrimp at first light near the Ringling Bridge and they quickly put a 16" and 22" speckled trout in the box. Action slowed so I went to catch bait. There was a lot of small bait with some decent threadfins mixed in. Chumming the nearby flats resulted in several Spanish mackerel, a couple more slot trout, a lot of ladyfish, jack crevelle, black sea bass, mangrove snapper, and catfish. A good day with a great family!

 

Long time client and friend Tommy Hyser from Cambridge, MD fished with me on Thursday. We started off casting Gulp! Shrimp at the Radio Tower and Marina Jack flats, catching some undersized trout and a few ladyfish. I caught bait and we had non-stop action on Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, and trout near Big Pass. We left them biting (usually a mistake) to go try the deep structure at the north end of Siesta Key; nothing happenning. Same with the inshore reef off of Lido, pretty slow. So, we came back in and lit them up at the Middlegrounds, catching a 23" speckled trout along with some other trout, Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper, black sea bass, jack crevelle, and ladyfish.

 

Diane and Scott Blackledge from DeForest, WI took out their two children Campbell (6) and Grady (9) out on their first saltwater charter. I caught bait and we sat in one spot for three hours. The kids did great, especially Grady, who caught a 3 1/2 lb Spanish mackerel, keeper mangrove snapper, speckled trout, ladyfish, and jacks. The rest of the gang chipped in with more macks, trout, ladyfish, snapper, and grouper. Diane finished off the trip with a fat 13" mang. All in all, we landed 60 fish or so, great morning!

 

Sarasota resident Laura Ritchey and her dad Bill who was in town visiting from Akron, OH had a good trip on Saturday. Once again, live bait was the ticket. It was very still with little breeze or tide; this normally results in tough fishing. But the chum brought them to the boat, especially the Spanish mackerel. The bite was on with the pair landing a couple dozen up to 3 1/2 pounds on pilchards near Big Pass. We finished up at the Middlegrounds as the tide turned to go out catching a pair of 18" trout, a nice sea bass, and several big mangs.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
July 27, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Live bait, primarily pilchards and threadfins though I did use a little shrimp, was the key to success for my clients this week. Pilchards were thick on the flats near both passes and it only took a few minutes to "load up". After that it was just a matter of choosing a spot where the wind and tide would help the chum bring fish to the boat. Speckled trout to 26", Spanish mackerel and bluefish to 2 1/2 pounds, mangrove snapper to 13", jacks, sharks, sea bass, ladyfish, and more kept rods bent and provided fresh fish dinners for satisfied clients out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters this week. All of the deeper grass flats seem to be holding fish, the flats close to the passes; Marker #6, Marina Jack, Radio Tower, and Middlegrounds, were all productive spots.

 

The week started off nicely with a very productive trip for Benjamin Adams and his son Sam from Flower Mound, TX. We left the ramp at first light and baitfish were thick; two tosses resulted in a full well. After that, it was steady action throughout the morning on the flats near Big Pass and New Pass. Spanish mackerel, big bluefish, speckled trout to 19", jacks, mangrove snapper, ladyfish and catfish kept the rods bent.

 

Mark Gruber from Dayton, OH took his two sons Jesse and Justin out on Tuesday. The tide was still falling as we left CB's, so we hit a couple of edges where bait schools were present and caught a couple of decent mangrove snappers on live shrimp. I then ran to Big Pass, caught bait, and action was steady the rest of the morning on the nearby flats. They put speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, snapper, and sea bass in the box for dinner. Jesse caught a BIG trout, just under 26" and Mark landed a nice bonnetthead shark. Of course we also caught ladyfish and catfish, too.

 

Jacob Rabinsky and Christian Marrero, both from the Miami, FL area, had a very good morning on Wednesday. Even though it was a bit breezy and cloudy, I was able to load the bait well in two tosses of the net. After that, it was steady action on speckled trout to 17", along with a dozen Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper, and ladyfish on the nearby deep flats. We finished up on the edge of the Intracoastal Waterway in Robert's Bay. I still had a bunch of bait left, so I chummed like crazy and got the fish whipped up into a frenzy! Snapper to 12", a nice bluefish, catfish, and then several double-headers on 2 pound jacks ended the trip on a high note.

 

I had a great charter on Friday with Lori and Jack McLaughlin and their son Eric from Billerica, MA. It was a bit breezy when we departed and I was concerned that catching bait would be a problem, but I ran across a big wad of it in a protected area in Robert's Bay and loaded up. After a short run to a flat near the twin Bridges, I anchored up and we caught fish steadily. Speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper to 14", of all things a yellowtail snapper, black sea bass, catfish, and ladyfish provided good action. We kept a couple of mackerel and snapper, one 19" trout and released another 23" trout, gotta let those big girls go! To finish off the trip I hit a mangrove shoreline where Lori landed a beautiful 24" redfish.

 

Kerry Rea, her son Shane, nephew James Casey, and fiance Curt Trascher had a fair trip on Saturday. For whatever reason, it was tough getting the fish excited and feeding in the chum. They caught quite a few speckled trout, with Kerry landing one about 18". They also caught some decent snapper; Shane landed a fat 14" fish. Ladyfish, sea bass, and other species were also caught along with a pair of mackerel cutting us off right at the boat.

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
July 20, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

I get a lot of family charters this time of year, and the main objective on these trips is to bend the rods. Action and variety are the goals, and the deep grass flats near both Big Sarasota Pass and New Pass provided that for clients this week. I did quite well chumming with pilchards towards the end of the week as we had incoming tides early and the bait was easy to catch. Pompano, speckled trout to 24", silver trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, black sea bass to 14", mangrove snapper to 15", sharks, jacks, and ladyfish pleased anglers this week casting Gulp! Shrimp, live shrimp, and pilchards at Marker # 5 and #6, Marina Jacks, Bird Key, and the Radio Tower flats.

 

Ryan Schmidt from Alpharetta, GA and his two sons Luke (10) and Lansden (15) fished with me early in the week. They had very little experience fishing so I got a bunch of lively shrimp at CB's. We hit the Marina Jack flat and made a couple of drifts on the high, outgoing tide. The boys caught several trout including two in the slot, and a 15" mangrove snapper; some fine eating! The wind picked up so we went in behind Bird Key and caught a bunch of ladyfish along with more trout, sea bass to 13" and a nice Spanish mackerel.

 

Pete Layden from Ocala, FL and his boys Thomas (16) and Matt (20) had a good trip this week. The boys had never been fishing before, but after a few minutes of instruction, they were casting very well. They used Gulp! Shrimp and caught speckled trout, silver trout, black sea bass, jacks, ladyfish, and catfish near the Ringling Bridge. Thomas finished off the trip with a nice pompano at Marina Jacks, which I got to eat for dinner, thanks!!

John Vieger from San Antonio, TX and his sons Chris (15) and Bryan (14) along with Andrew Jones (14) from GA caught some nice fish on Friday. We started off casting Gulp! near the Radio Tower, catching sea bass and trout, when Chris hooked a nice bonnetthead shark. The flats near Big Pass provided more sea bass to 14", along with trout, bluefish, and ladyfish. Action slowed and the tide turned to go out, so I netted up a bunch of bait and we got a hot trout bite going right at the end, landing a pair of 23" and 21" speckled trout, and several others in the slot. Nice way to end the trip!

 

Brian Mahnken and his 13 year old son Tate did well in the Yacht club Channel chumming with pilchards. We started off casting large live shrimp under popping corks near Marker # 5 but there wasn't much happening. Bait was thick and in short order the well was full. From that point on it was a bite on every cast. Speckled trout, silver trout, mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, and jacks kept the rods bent. Surprisingly, we did not hook a single ladyfish, pretty unusual.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
July 13, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing was outstanding this week! The pilchards ( also known as shiners or whitebait ) showed up in big numbers. Although the bait is a bit small, it is large enough to use. Chumming the deep flats produced action, variety, and quality this week. Snook ( caught on a Rapala X-Rap), speckled trout to 24", silver trout, Spanish mackerel to 4 pounds, bluefish to 3 pounds, black sea bass to 15", jack crevelle, gag grouper, mangrove snapper, ladyfish, and sharks bent rods on my charters this week. The deep flats near both passes; Marker #5, Marina Jack, Radio Tower, and Middlegrounds, continue to be very productive. Most of the fish were caught on live shrimp or pilchards but Gulp! and Rapalas fooled a few fish, too.

 

The week got off to a good start on Sunday morning with Scott Pearce from Memphis, TN and his boys Jordon (21) and Mitchell (15). Despite the fact that it was the day of the Offshore Grand Prix, boat traffic was light in the morning. Mitch started things off with a snook on a Rapala first thing near the mouth of Phillippi Creek. We moved to Big Pass; not much happening. On my way to a deep grass flat I spotted a bunch of bait. It wasn't big, but it was big enough. Two tosses of the net resulted in a full well. For the next hour and a half it was steady action on speckled trout to 22", Spanish mackerel, bluefish, sea bass, gag grouper, jack crevelle, and ladyfish as I had them chummed into a frenzy! They had so much fun they went again on Monday afternoon with similar results. We started off casting jigs; Mitch caught a big sea bass near Marina Jack, but it was spotty. A thunderstorm chased us off and when it cleared I caught bait and once again it was resulted in a lot of fish. We finished up with a frenzy of non-stop action on big trout, ladyfish, jacks, and mackerel near New Pass.

 

On Tuesday Barry Palmer and his two boys Palmer (13) and Carson (7) from Stanton, KY experienced very steady action near Bird Key. Once again live bait was the ticket. After filling the well, chumming and fishing with the whitebait resulted in Spanish mackerel to 4 pounds, speckled trout to 21", ladyfish, jacks, and snapper.

 

I left the boat ramp at Centennial Park at 7:00 a.m on Wednesday morning with Norm Shade from Thornville, OH, his son-in-law Steve Bartalsky and Steve's dad Mike. We started off at the Radio Tower casting Gulp! Shrimp on a 1/4 ounce jig head. Sea bass, silver trout, speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, and ladyfish provided steady action. After an hour it slowed a bit, so I ran to my spot to catch bait. Once again, it was quick and easy and chumming on a deep flat neat the Twin Bridges resulted in 5 macks in the box along with ladyfish, speckled trout, and jacks being caught. We finished up at the Middlegrounds with a nice trout bite! a dozen or so trout in the slot including several over 20" were caught and released along with ladyfish and a nice bluefish.

 

We had another productive morning on Thursday with the Gratton clan from the Orlando area. Rob took his son Aiden (7) and dad Bob out fishing. We started off on the last part of the outgoing tide near Marker # 5, and using live shrimp under a cork caught small trout, ladyfish, and had a nice bluefish cut us off at the boat. Action slowed as the tide quit, so I ran to my spot and loaded up on bait in two tosses of the cast net. For two hours we sat in one spot getting a bite on nearly every cast. Pinfish were a nuisance, but we caught several Spanish mackerel, a bunch of speckled trout ( Aiden put a pair of keepers, one 20" and the other 16", in the box) along with mangrove snappers to 12" and ladyfish. We fished Phillippi Creek on the way in catching small snappers and a few jack crevelle.

 

I finished off the week with Darcy and Ken Rohr from Cleveland, OH and their two boys Zach (15) and Alex (13). Fishing was steady early, then slowed as the tide quit. A tide change mid-morning can be tough! But, once the water started moving in, the action picked up. Using pilchards near Marina Jack, they caught speckled trout, silver trout, jacks, snapper, ladyfish, and Spanish mackerel. Right near the end of the trip Ken hooked a nice spinner shark which cleared the water by four feet twice while spinning madly before breaking off. Very cool! Alex then topped his dad by landing a 4 pound Spanish mackerel on the last cast! Way to go, Alex!

Capt. Jim Klopfer
July 6, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

My first trip of the week was on Friday, it rained on Monday, I had doctor appointments on Tuesday and Wednesday and decided to stay off the water on the 4th of July. Despite a LOT of fresh water in the bay from heavy rains, fishing was decent on the deep flats near Big Pass. Bluefish, Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, black tip sharks, bonnetthead sharks, sea bass, mangrove snapper, flounder, ladyfish, and catfish were caught on the two trips. Live shrimp caught most of the fish.

 

On Friday Chad and Carla Barker from Indianapolis, IN and their thre children Brenna (9), Dylan (12), and Carinne (14) had a good morning trip. Using Gulp! Shrimp at the Radio Tower flat, they caught slot speckled trout, a 14" flounder, sea bass, mangrove snapper, ladyfish, and catfish. We had one exciting moment when a hundred pound tarpon followed in a hooked catfish right up to the boat, mouthed it, then boiled the water as it saw the boat and swam away. We finished up closer to Big Pass where the water was cleaner catching more trout, sea bass, three Spanish mackerel (around two pounds) and a small shark. Fun trip with action, variety, and dinner!

 

On Saturday I had Ralph Primavera and his 16 year old son Christopher on the boat. Fishing was OK, a little slow to start off but we did finish with some good action near Otter Key. Using live shrimp at Marina Jacks, Radio Tower, and in the Yacht Club Channel, the boys caught speckled trout to 16", bluefish to 1 1/2 pounds, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, mangrove snapper, sail cats, and a bonnetthead shark.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
June 29, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing this week pretty much dispelled the whole "Fishing is slow on the full moon" theory. Action on the deep flats was steady on a variety of species. Sharks, speckled trout to 21", Spanish mackerel, bluefish, flounder, sea bass, mangrove snapper, gag grouper, jack crevelle, ladyfish, and catfish hit Gulp! and live shrimp this week on the flats near both passes. Top spots were the Marina Jack and Radio Tower flats.

 

Chris Sambach, his wife Lila, and ten year old daughter caught a LOT of fish on Monday morning! The "Super Moon" must have made them bite! Every spot produced fish. We started off in Big Pass catching jacks and ladyfish. As the tide came in we moved to the deep grass flats in the Yacht Club Channel and caught a ton of ladyfish along with speckled trout, flounder, jacks, and mangrove snapper to 14" free-lining live shrimp.

 

Fishing was good on Wednesday for Larry Grisham from southern Illinois and his teenage grandsons Gavin Grisham and Lucas Griffith. We started off in Big Pass catching a bunch of ladyfish using jigs and shrimp on the outgoing tide. After a bit of that, we tried some docks and structure in the pass on the slack tide with ninimal results; just a few snapper and grunts. As the tide turned to come in, action resumed on the deep flats with the boys catching speckled trout to 18", a big 17" silver trout, jack crevelle, sea bass, and ladyfish.

 

Melissa and Jon Rankin had Jon's sister Beth Rankin in town from Denver, CO, and they decided to go fishing. They wanted fish for dinner, so I concentrated on the deep flats near the passes. The Radio Tower, Marina Jack, and Marker 5 and 7 flats all produced steady action. Both girls landed a nice, fat 20" speckled trout, along with a bluefish and several other slot trout. Jon pitched in with a nice Spanish mackerel, a keeper mangrove snapper, and a keeper trout. In between the eating fish, they had steady catch and release action on ladyfish, smaller trout, jack crevelle and finished up with both Melissa and Jon catching sharks. Fun day with enthusiastic anglers!

 

Monte Clithero and his girlfriend Dana from Springfield, MO had another productive trip on Friday. We left Ken Thompson Park at 6:30 a.m. and hit the Radio Tower first thing. Speckled trout, ladyfish, and jacks hit live and Gulp! Shrimp. After netting up some pilchards, I moved over to the flats near Selby and chummed them up! The bait was small, so I used the chum to lure them in then shrimp to catch them. Some of the bait was large enough to use. It didn't matter, it was pretty much a fish on every cast. Speckled trout to 18", Spanish mackerel, a shark, sea bass, mangrove snapper, gag grouper, jacks, ladyfish, and catfish kept the rods bent and Dana happy!

 

On Saturday Sid Marcum took out a large crew on a CB's rental pontoon with me as the captain/guide. These are actually good fishing boats. The trout bite was hot with a half dozen nice trout between 17" and 20" going in the box along with a 16" flounder. Gulp! Shrimp and live shrimp worked equally well; the Radio Tower was the best spot.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
June 22, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

“Steady” is the best word to describe fishing this week. Nothing spectacular, but consistent action on a variety of species was experienced on the deep grass flats at Marina Jack, the Yacht Club Channel, Radio Tower, Moorings, Bishop’s Pt., and Buttonwood. Water temperatures are in the mid 80′s; we could use some rain to cool things off. Live shrimp and Gulp! Shrimp were equally effective. Speckled trout to 20″, silver trout to 16″, flounder to 19″, Spanish mackerel to 2 pounds, bluefish to 2 pounds, sea bass, snapper, jacks, ladyfish, and sailcats were caught this week. I saw a lot of bait “dimpling” on the surface and twice this week cast-netted a bunch. Unfortunately, most of it was quite small, which is unusual for this time of year. But, it is good to see it on the flats; it usually triggers feeding sprees by the gamefish.

 

Emad Alumasmi and his teenage son Adam fished with me on Monday. The morning started off very still; no breeze or tide, this usually results in tough fishing. However, I spotted some bait fish dimpling on the surface and though not very big, they were just large enough. Chumming with the smaller baits and hooking the larger ones resulted in a bunch of ladyfish and trout along with a 12″ mangrove snapper and some jacks near Bird Key. We finished up at the Radio Tower with Adam landing an 18″ speckled trout.

 

On Tuesday I was part of a 4 boat charter out of CB’s. The Wagenbrenner crew from Ohio was having a reunion and wanted a fish fry. Action was steady with good variety and some quality fish. Nick Wagenbrenner took top honors landing a 20″ speckled trout, a 16″ silver trout, and a 19″ flounder using Gulp! Shrimp. Eric Wagonbrenner, his sons Hudson (15) and Griffin (9) along with Diego Roman (10) pitched in with a Spanish mackerel, a mangrove snapper, and eight more slot trout, most of which were nice, fat fish between 16″ and 18″. Jacks, ladyfish, catfish, and more fell prey to Gulp! and free lined shrimp at Marina Jacks, Radio Tower, and the Yacht Club Channel.

 

For whatever reason, fishing was tougher on Wednesday. Bob Arther, his son Andy and son-in-law Joe Ballard from Kansas City, MO caught a fair amount of fish, but the “quality” wasn’t there. Trout, flounder, jacks, and ladyfish were caught on the deep flats. We finished up in Big Pass catching ladyfish and a small shark.

 

On Thursday I took out my cousin Valerie Day, her 16 year old son Tanner and his girlfriend Kaleigh Tobias, all from Howard, PA. We left the boat ramp at Centennial Park at first light and ran over to the west side of the bay. Again, fishing was OK, but nothing spectacular. They landed several speckled trout in the slot, a silver trout, jack crevelle, ladyfish, grouper, flounder, and catfish on Gulp! Shrimp.

 

Newlyweds Tara and Pat Williams from Garden City, MI fished with me on Friday on their honeymoon, what a great way to get a marriage started off in the right direction! They caught a lot of fish, mostly ladyfish, jack crevelle, and short trout with Tara free lining live shrimp and Pat casting Gulp! Shrimp. They put a 16″ and a 20″ speckled trout, a 15″ silver trout, a 2 lb bluefish, and a black sea bass in the box for a couple of meals.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
June 15, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing was steady this week in Sarasota Bay after Tropical Storm Andrea passed through. The deep flats near the Moorings, Bishop’s Pt., and Buttonwood were best for me, the water near the passes was still a bit churned up. Gulp! Shrimp on a 1/4 ounce jig head produced the best results; pinfish are thick making live shrimp more difficult to use. Still no white bait on the flats. Speckled trout to 24″, bluefish to 3 pounds, Spanish mackerel, flounder to 16″, silver trout, black sea bass to 14″, jack crevelle, ladyfish, and sailcats were caught this week on charters.

 

James Marsh had his nephew Jason Easton in town from Hampstead, MD and went fishing on Sunday. I had not been out for several days due to Tropical Storm Andrea, but was pleasantly surprised to see the water in decent shape. It got cleaner as I worked away from the passes. Marina Jack and Marker #5 and #6 were a bit slow though Jason did catch an 18″ trout there. Action was better up near the Mooring as they landed speckled trout to 20″, silver trout to 14″, a nice fat 15″ flounder, and ladyfish using Gulp! Shrimp.

 

Fishing was steady on Monday for Ed Herman and his two sons Drew (21) and David (17) from Columbus, OH. Using Gulp! Shrimp on jig heads along the west side of Sarasota Bay from the Moorings up to Helicopter Shoal, the boys landed several bluefish to 3 pounds, speckled trout to 23″, Spanish mackerel, jack crevelle, and ladyfish. They kept a couple of blues, the mackerel, and two 18″ trout for dinner, releasing the big trout to make babies, I never kill trout over 20″ if I can help it.

 

Sarasota residents Drew Peterson and his dad Renno went out on Tuesday. The focus was more on learning spots than on just catching fish, so I gave them the “grand tour” of the area from Big Pass north. Drew caught speckled trout, jacks, sailcats, and ladyfish on Gulp! Shrimp while Renno landed speckled trout, silver trout, a Spanish mackerel, jack crevelle, and ladyfish casting chartreuse and dark green Clouser Minnows on his fly rod.

 

Kim Maxwell, Leo Cyrus, and Joe Parker had a good trip on Wednesday. Using Gulp! Shrimp on 1/4 ounce Cotee jig heads at the Moorings, Bishop’s Pt., Helicopter Shoal, and Buttonwood, the boys put several speckled trout to 24″, two flounder to 17″, bluefish, and a croaker in the box along with steady catch-and-release action on smaller trout, jacks, and ladyfish.

 

Fishing slowed a bit for me towards the end of the week, tides were less than ideal. Still, action was steady, though unspectacular. Paul Trabel and his son Eric from Indiana put several slot trout in the cooler for dinner along with a nice black sea bass free lining live shrimp near Bird Key. They also released undersized trout, ladyfish, jacks, and catfish.

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer

Capt. Jim Klopfer
June 8, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Tropical Storm Andrea effectively shut down fishing on Thursday and affected the fishing over the weekend. I was able to in three trips early in the week. Speckled trout to 20″, silver trout, bluefish to 3 pounds, Spanish mackerel to 2 1/2 pounds, jacks and ladyfish were caught near Bird Key and on the west side near the Moorings. Gulp! and live shrimp fooled them.

 

Bill Ritchey from Akron, OH and his daughter Laura started my week out again; they fished with me last Sunday, too. This time we left 10th Street and headed north to show them areas we had not fished before. The Middlegrounds, Moorings, and Bishop’s Pt. were all productive and fishing was pretty steady. We caught a few fish on live shrimp but the best action was experienced using Gulp! Shrimp. Speckled trout to 20″ (we released everything, but a half-dozen or so were in the slot), bluefish to 2 pounds, jacks, and ladyfish kept the rods bent.

 

Derek Hart, his son Julian, mom Ann and brother caught speckled trout to 20″, silver trout, bluefish to 3 pounds, and ladyfish on the deep grass flats on the west side of the bay on Tuesday. Gulp! Shrimp caught most of the fish; the Moorings and Bishop’s Pt were the best spots.

 

Mark Bloom from Ft. Wayne, IN and his nephew Devin Bojrab caught speckled trout, silver trout, Spanish mackerel, snapper, jacks, and ladyfish free lining live shrimp on the edges of flats near Bird Key on Wednesday,just before the wind cranked up as Andrea was approaching.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
June 1, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Tarpon, snook, speckled trout, silver trout, jacks, Spanish mackerel, sea bass, black drum, gag grouper, flounder, mangrove snapper, and ladyfish were caught this week by clients. Most of the fish were caught on the deep flats near Big Pass using Gulp! and live shrimp. Tarpon fishing along the beach was fair with crabs producing the most action. Wind was a factor mid-week for both bay and tarpon fishing.

 

The week started off nicely with a productive trip for Dr Bill Ritchey from Akron Ohio and his daughter Laura who lives in Sarasota. They wanted a couple of fish for dinner, so I went right to my silver trout spot near the Ringling Bridge. They put several in the box using Gulp! Shrimp on a jig head, including a 17 1/2″ fish, that is a big silver trout! Flats near Marker # 6 yielded speckled trout, silver trout, ladyfish, and gag grouper. We made the switch to live shrimp and the Bird Key flats yielded Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, sea bass, jack crevelle, and ladyfish.

 

On Monday, Memorial Day, Nick Frederick Sr from Lakewood Ranch took his son Nick Jr who was in town visiting from Arizona, out fishing. The trip was similar to the previous one; silver trout early, then moved to the deep flats near Big Pass and caught mackerel, jacks, a couple of slot speckled trout, sea bass, and ladyfish.

 

Brian Robinson, his 12 year old son Quinn, and father in law Dave Piper fished with me on Tuesday. It was a bit slower, mostly due to VERY strong winds out of the east. My silver trout bite let me down, catching a couple of small flounder, catfish, and ladyfish, but again, with the wind conditions were tough. We tucked in behind Bird Key and caught several Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, speckled trout to 17″, a 12″ sea bass, jacks, and ladyfish free lining shrimp. Dinner was in the box! We finished up with some mangrove snapper in Phillippi Creek. After 10 straight days I needed a break and the boat needed service, so a day off for me!

 

Scott Valentino from Pittsburg took his teenage son Vinnie out tarpon fishing on Thursday. Conditions were less than ideal; it was quite breezy with a big swell. We only found one school that we could work and after several attempts got on them just right and Scott hooked up with a hundred pound fish. After several jumps and rolls and a 40 minute battle, the hook pulled near the boat.

 

Peter Craig and his friend Ron Hutchenson, both from Ontario, experienced good action on Saturday with quite a bit of variety. Speckled trout, silver trout, jack crevelle, sea bass, ladyfish, and sailcats hit Gulp! and live shrimp near Big Pass. Mangrove shorelines and docks in Robert’s Bay produced snook, black drum, and mangrove snapper on live shrimp.

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
May 25, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing was good this week on a multitude of species using a variety of techniques. Trip of the week went to Chaz Boyter who caught a 10 lb false albacore and a 90 lb tarpon on Thursday. Along with those two species, silver trout, speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, jack crevelle, bluefish, sea bass, mangrove snapper, and ladyfish were caught by anglers using Rapalas, flies, Gulp! Shrimp, Cotee jigs, and live shrimp this week. This week was a great example of the diverse angling opportunities that Sarasota offers!

 

Jim Cooke and Jim Sluss from the Orlando, FL area booked an afternoon charter on Monday. Action was very good for silver trout. Using Gulp! Shrimp they put 16 in the box along with a 17″ speckled trout near the Radio Tower. We finished up near Birk Key with sporadic action on trout and ladyfish.

 

Newlyweds Polly and Jimmy Braddy from Metter, GA experienced steady fishing on a variety of species on Tuesday morning. The silver trout bite was a bit slow, but we still caught a half dozen using Gulp! A move to the Radio Tower flat produced ladyfish, slot trout, and small trout using Gulp! and live shrimp. We finished up near Bird Key with a nice flurry of trout, bluefish, jack crevelle, and ladyfish free lining shrimp.
Bart Brass and his son Dr. Abe Brass from Peabody, MA used live shrimp and Gulp Shrimp to catch speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, sea bass, mangrove snapper, jack crevelle, and ladyfish near Big Pass on Wednesday.

 

Chaz Boyter from New Jersey caught two fish on Thursday. The first was a VERY large false albacore. We were on a tarpon trip and saw some bait fish fleeing. I decided to have Chaz troll a Rapala X-Rap and in short order he hooked and after a tough battle landed a big albie. Around 10:30 we spotted a small school of tarpon. After working the school for nearly an hour, we got a bite and Chaz landed a nice 90 pound tarpon. Great morning!!

 

Phil Steward from Pepperell, MA had a good trip on Friday morning. We headed up to Long Bar in search of a redfish, but the water was full of weeds and moss and it was blowing harder than forecast. Imagine that! We worked our way back south, just picking at small trout and ladyfish. We hit the jackpot at Bishop’s Point as a bunch of tiny baitfish were being ravaged. For two hours Phil caught a fish on nearly every cast using an 8wt fly rod and various flies, the pattern really didn’t matter. Anything small and white got crushed. Trout, ladyfish, bluefish, and jacks were all landed.

 

Chuck and Gretchen Green from Michigan, their son Tom, and Chucks dad David had an excellent trip on Saturday, despite breezy conditions. They wanted enough fish for dinner, so I hit my reliable silver trout spot near the Ringling Bridge. They put 10 in the box along with a keeper speckled trout and a pair of flounder using Gulp! Shrimp. Free lining live shrimp near Bird Key produced very steady action on ladyfish, jack crevelle, speckled trout, and three Spanish mackerel.

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
May 18, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing was steady again this week, improving towards the end of the week. Friday and Saturday were both VERY good. Speckled trout to 26″, silver trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, sea bass, ladyfish, jacks and more hit live shrimp, Gulp! Shrimp, and flies on the grass flats in Sarasota Bay. The deep grass north of Siesta Key to New Pass were the most productive for my clients this week. Silver trout continue to provide action and meals.

 

Bob Veierstahler, Larry Foeckler, and Allan Foeckler from Wisconsin had a good mixed-bag trip on Monday. The special caught included speckled trout to 18″, silver trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jack crevelle, ladyfish, and sailcats. Gulp! Shrimp and live shrimp worked equally well at the Radio Tower and Marina Jack flats.

 

Joel Herbert and Sammy Taylor from Pendleton, SC caught a lot of fish on Tuesday morning near Bird Key. We started off at the Radio Tower, where action was fair, with the boys landing a few trout and ladyfish. A move to a deep grass flat near Bird Key and free lining shrimp resulted in non-stop action on ladyfish, speckled trout to 18″, and a couple of big mackerel that bit us off. We finished up at a nearby flat, landing several nice silver trout and a 17″ speckled trout on Gulp! Shrimp.

 

On Wednesday and Thursday, Emmaly and Aaron Crouse from Park City, Utah did some fly fishing. Both are excellent anglers and good casters. On Wednesday we hit the Radio Tower, Marina Jack, and Bird Key flats, catching speckled trout, ladyfish, silver trout, and a snapper using chartreuse/white Clousers. On Thursday we header up north; the best spot was Helicopter Shoal, where several slot trout and large ladyfish took dark green/white and chartreuse/white Clousers. We finished up at the Marina Jack flat with several trout, ladyfish, and a Spanish mackerel.

 

The silver trout bite was terrific on Friday! Denise and Jim Markovic from Atlanta, GA caught a mess of these feisty fish using Gulp! Shrimp near Bird Key. They also caught a bunch of ladyfish, speckled trout, and sea bass free-lining live shrimp and casting Gulp! near Bird Key and in Big Pass.

 

Phil Steward, his wife Deb, and daughters Kate and Bethany fished with me on Saturday morning and had a great trip both in numbers and in quality. We made a quick drift at the Radio Tower, not much happening. A move to the Bird Key flats resulted in steady action on ladyfish, speckled trout to 18″, and a Spanish mackerel. Action slowed, so we moved to a nearby reliable silver trout spot. Bethany had never used artificial lures before, but after a few minutes she started wrecking the silvers using Gulp! on a jig head. She also caught a 25″ speckled trout! Kate added a 20″ trout and a couple of silver trout. We finished up in Big Pass with non-stop action on ladyfish, mostly on shrimp but Phil caught several on fly.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
May 11, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing was steady once again this week on the deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Gulp! Shrimp on a 1/4 ounce Cotee jig head caught most of the fish, though clients also caught fish on live shrimp. Species total for the week included redfish, speckled trout to 20″, silver trout to 16″, flounder to 18″, Spanish mackerel to 2 pounds, bluefish, black sea bass, jack crevelle, ladyfish, and sailcats. Bream are available in Upper Myakka Lake and Lake Manatee.

 

It was quite breezy on Sunday and Monday, no fishing for me. On Tuesday I had a full day with Sarasota resident Doc Dojutrek, who was treating himself to a fishing trip for his birthday. Action was steady on the flats at Marina Jack, Radio Tower, and the Moorings. Speckled trout to 20″, silver trout to 16″, Spanish mackerel to 2 pounds, jack crevelle, ladyfish hit Gulp! Shrimp and live shrimp. The silver trout bite was very good and we put a dozen or so in the box for a few meals.

 

On Wednesday I went out to Myakka River State Park with Bonnie Czepiel. Fishing was pretty slow, we caught some bream using live worms and black Beetlespins and we each lost a big “mystery” fish.

 

Cody Thompson from Madison, WI fished with me on Thursday. Action was steady on a variety of species using Gulp! Shrimp and live shrimp. We started off in Big Pass just as the tide had turned to come in. Drifting with the current and free lining shrimp and casting jigs resulted in several jack crevelle and ladyfish. A move to the nearby deep flats produced a pair of 20″ speckled trout along with a bunch of smaller fish, silver trout to 14″, sea bass, jacks, and ladyfish. Most were caught using Gulp! Shrimp. We finished up catching a redfish on a live shrimp in Robert’s Bay.

 

Andrew Court from NYC took his friends Kira and Niels out fishing on Friday. Action was steady, nothing spectacular, but very similar to Thursday’s trip. Silver trout, speckled trout to 16″, sea bass, ladyfish, and other species hit Gulp! Shrimp and live shrimp on the deep flats near the Ringling Bridge.

 

Staurday’s charter with Dave Betts and his two grown sons (22 and 25) Phil and Marshall who also live in the NYC area, was the best of the week. We started off at the Radio Tower flat and quickly got socked in by the fog. No worries, however, as the fish were biting! Casting Gulp! Shrimp produced speckled trout to 20″, silver trout to 12′, sea bass, flounder, ladyfish, and sailcats. A move to the Middlegrounds resulted in jacks crevelle, ladyfish, and more trout. The Moorings and Bishop’s Pt. gave up a more trout along with a bluefish and a Spanish mackerel. We finished up at Helicopter Shoal with a fat 18″ flounder. Great trip with great guys!!

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
May 4, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing was decent this week, though it did slow down a bit later in the week in terms of numbers. Speckled trout to 20″, silver trout to 16″, jack crevelle, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish, sailcats, and sea bass hit Gulp! Shrimp on the deep grass flats near Big Pass. Bream are fairly actice in Upper Myakka Lake.

 

I had a day off on Monday so I headed out to Myakka River State Park with my 14′ Alumacraft to fish Upper Myakka Lake for panfish. It was quite breezy and it took a while to locate the fish, but once I did I filled the cooler in short order. Nothing huge, but most of the ‘gills were between 6″ and 8″, along with a bass and a big gar. I only used a 1/16 once black Beetlespin. I fished the tidal portion of the Myakka near Venice on Thursday afternoon and it was slow, that section is better in the cooler months.

 

On Tuesday Jim Sandusky from Canton, MI, his son Scott, and son in law Steve Seese had a good trip with very steady action. Despite weak tides, the fishing on the deep grass flats near Big Pass was very productive. They had promised the ladies a fish dinner, and they came through! Casting Gulp! Shrimp on a 1/4 ounce jig head, the boys caught speckled trout to 19″, silver trout to 15″, jack crevelle, sea bass, bluefish, and sailcats. Two slot speckled trout and eight nice silver trout went in the box with everything else released. A fun morning with great guys!

 

Andrew Coren from NYC and his brother Michael Coren from Dallas, TX experienced decent action on Wednesday, catching speckled trout to 20″ silver trout to 15″, bluefish, jacks, sea bass, and ladyfish using Gulp! Shrimp near Big Pass.

 

7 year old Odin Medrick outfished his dad John Medrick and grandfather Gary McClellan on Friday. Casting Gulp! Shrimp, he caught speckled trout, silver trout, bluefish, jacks, 2 species of catfish, sea bass, and ladyfish. John pitched in for dinner by putting a decent Spanish mackerel and a couple of bluefish in the box to go along with the half dozen silvers that Odin caught. Marker #5 and Marina Jacks were the best spots.

 

Saturday’s charter with Dan Hoffman, Gordon Nedwed, and Bill Matta was similar on a breezy morning. They did not catch a ton of fish and we spent a fair amount of time on the silver trout, putting a dozen in the box for dinner., along with releasing ladyfish, speckled trout, a sailcats.

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
April 27, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Strong incoming tides in the morning along with fantastic weather resulted in very productive trips this week. Bluefish, ladyfish, and Spanish mackerel were feeding in the passes first thing. We caught most of the fish on Cotee jigs and several using Rapala X-Raps. As the tide increased, we moved to the nearby deep grass flats and caught speckled trout, silver trout, mackerel, bluefish, sea bass, jack crevelle, and ladyfish using Cotee jigs, Gulp! Shrimp, and live shrimp. Snook and jack crevelle are along the mangrove shorelines in Robert’s Bay. Live pilchards are the best bet.

 

On Sunday Ed Burt and his father-in-law John Carroll from New London, NH had a good mixed bag trip on Sunday. They had promised the girls a fish dinner, so I went right to the silver trout near the Ringling Bridge and put ten nice ones in the box using Gulp! Shrimp and released speckled trout, ladyfish, and jacks. We moved to the Bird Key flats and added a pair of nice Spanish mackerel to the box free-lining live shrimp along with more speckled trout and ladyfish.

 

Steve Light from CT took his teen age boys Aaron and Seth out fishing. They wanted some fish for dinner, so I hit my reliable silver trout spot and we put ten or so in the box using gulp! Shrimp. With dinner secured, it was just “fun fishing” time. For the next two hours action was virtually non-stop free lining live shrimp on the deep flats. Most of the fish were ladyfish, with a few trout, jacks, and a nice Spanish mackerel.

 

Jack Femmel from Chicago and his buddy Bill had a very good trip. Casting Cotee jigs and Gulp! Shrimp in Big Pass and the surrounding flats produced steady action on a variety of species. Speckled trout, silver trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jack crevelle, sea bass, and ladyfish were caught that morning.

 

Sarasota resident Bonnie Czepiel experienced great action on Saturday morning. We started off catching ladyfish and bluefish in Big Pass using Cotee jigs and Rapala X-Raps. A move to the deep flats resulted in speckled trout, silver trout, jacks, bluefish, ladyfish, and sea bass using Gulp! Shrimp. My buddy Capt Roy string gave me a net full of pilchards and Bonnie caught several snook to 22″, her first ever, along the mangroves in Robert’s Bay.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
April 20, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Silver trout fishing was outstanding this week! Although not large (15″ is a nice one), they are tasty, aggressive, and put up a good battle for their size. Most of the silvers caught this week hit Gulp! Shrimp. Speckled trout to 20″, gag grouper to 14″, Spanish mackerel to 2 pounds, jack crevelle, ladyfish, and sailcats hit jigs and live shrimp on the deep grass near Big Pass. Freshwater fishing was good in Lake Manatee; big bluegills and decent catfish hit Beetlespins and live worms.

 

Saturday afternoon I went out to Lake Manatee and did well on big bluegill, small bass, and a nice catfish using black Beetlespins and live worms. On Sunday Beth Higgins caught speckled trout, silver trout, jacks, and ladyfish using live shrimp and Gulp! Shrimp on the flats near Big Pass. The silver trout bite was hot!

 

John Spelky, his wife Amy, and daughter Cora (9) had an excellent morning on Wednesday. We started off at Marker #5, catching ladyfish, speckled trout, and jacks on Gulp! and free lined shrimp. They wanted a few fish for dinner, so I headed over to a reliable silver trout spot near Marina Jack; and it did not disappoint. In short order, ten fat silver trout went in the box, most came on jigs. We finished up near Bird Key with Amy catching a Spanish mackerel and the others landing a few trout on shrimp.

 

Matt Smith and his wife Jessica experienced steady action on Thursday morning. Very seldom did either go more than a few casts without a bite. Casting Glow Gulp! Shrimp over the deep flats near Big Pass resulted in speckled trout to 17 1/2″, silver trout to 14″, jack crevelle, Spanish mackerel, and ladyfish.

 

Jim Mitchell from Longboat Key and his brother-in-law charlie Beard from WI had to work a bit harder on Friday. The wind cranked up early, making for tough conditions. the boys caught a pair of slot speckled trout, 20″ and 18″, several silver trout, ladyfish, jacks, and a gag grouper using gulp! Shrimp and live shrimp before the wind chased us off the water.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
April 13, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing was productive this week with a nice variety of species being caught and plenty of fresh fish for dinner going home with happy clients. Bluefish to 3 pounds, Spanish mackerel to 3 1/2 pounds, silver trout to 16″, speckled trout to 21″, pompano, flounder, jacks, and ladyfish fell for Cotee jigs, Gulp! Shrimp, Rapala X-Raps, Clouser Minnow flies, and live shrimp. Both Big Pass and New Pass were productive as were the nearby deep grass flats. A trip to the Myakka River produced snook, bass, and tilapia using Rapalas and Beetlespins.

 

On Sunday Ed Okerson from Plano, TX and his friend Teijo from Finland went out on a morning charter, fishing was good, but it would have been better had the dolphins not been so aggressive. They are cool to watch, but three times, in Big Pass, Bird Key, and Radio Tower, we got the fish going and the dolphins came in and shut them down. Still, Teijo caught a 3 1/2 lb Spanish mackerel on a free lined shrimp. They also caught speckled trout to 17″ and ladyfish on shrimp and Gulp! baits.

 

 

On Monday Allen Hartman from Roanoke, VA did some fly and spin fishing. We started off fly casting, but action was sporadic with Allen catching a pair of jacks and several speckled trout. The wind picked up so he changed to a Glow Gulp! Shrimp on a spinning outfit and experienced steady action on speckled trout, silver trout, a pair of nice Spanish mackerel, and plenty of ladyfish. The Radio Tower and Marina Jack flats were the best spots.

 

 

I had two trips on Tuesday. In the morning, Dean and Kiya Genthe, their daughter Jarge, and Uncle Dan had a very good trip. We started off in Big Pass where large bluefish and Spanish mackerel hit gold Cotee jigs, trolled Rapala X-Raps and free lined live shrimp. Action slowed after the dolphins showed up so we moved to the Radio Tower where it was steady on trout and ladyfish. We finished up near Marina Jacks catching ladyfish, silver trout, and speckled trout. In the afternoon, Greg Wallace from GA treated his grandson Caleb Taff to his first “real” fishing trip. The silver trout bite was hot with Caleb besting grandpa as far as size goes. A dozen nice silver trout, one slot speckled trout, a Spanish mackerel, and a flounder went into the box. Most of the fish were caught on Gulp shrimp near Big Pass.

 

 

Later in the week I took out brothers Menash and Elihou Murad from the New York City area. We did not catch a ton of fish, but did get some quality. Using free lined shrimp and Cotee jigs they put a pair of bluefish to 3 pounds, two average Spanish mackerel, a pompano, and three speckled trout going 21″, 19″, and 18″ in the box. They also caught a dozen ladyfish. All were caught in or near Big Pass.

 

On Friday it was blowing 30 knots + out of the south, so i decided to go scout on my own on the Myakka River near Venice. Action was fair, I caught a couple of small snook, a really fat 3 pound bass, and several big tilapia.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
April 6, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

A nasty front moved through mid-week, but fishing was very good before and after the weather passed. The deep flats near both passes were very good, as were the passes themselves. Spanish mackerel and speckled trout numbers were good, along with bluefish, flounder, silver trout, sea bass, jacks, and of course ladyfish, mixed in. Gulp! Shrimp, Cotee jigs, and live shrimp were all productive. The sheepshead bite is winding down.

 

The week started off with a good trip on Easter Sunday for Jim Rokicki from Pittsburgh, PA and his 16 year old grand son Andrew. Spanish mackerel were hitting free lined shrimp in Big Pass, along with a nice bluefish. A move to the surrounding flats resulted in more macks, ladyfish, speckled trout, and a big silver trout on shrimp and jigs. We hit a dock and caught several sheepshead on shrimp. We finished up at Marker #5 with good ladyfish action using gold cotee jigs.

 

The Manby clan from Brookfield, WI wrecked the Spanish mackerel on Monday morning. Using free lined shrimp in and near Big Pass, they boated close to two dozen up tp 3 1/2 pounds. They also landed a nice flounder, a decent bluefish, speckled trout, and plenty of ladyfish.

 

I had a bunch of very young ladies on the boat today, and did they ever catch some fish! Todd Bruce from Minneapolis, MN and his daughters Hazel (7) and Ruby (10) did very well in the morning. It was quite foggy to start out, so we stuck close and hit the Radio Tower flat. Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, speckled trout, jack crevelle, and silver trout hit free lined shrimp. The fog lifted and I ran to Big Pass where the mackerel bite was good. Spanish to 3 1/2 pounds kept the girls busy. We finished up with a sheepshead (the girls wanted to see one) under a dock. In the afternoon, Lisa and Dave Stein from KY and their 3 young girls caught ladyfish, spanish mackerel, speckled trout, and silver trout in Big Pass and the nearby deep flats.

 

I had two similar trips on Wednesday. In the morning Mike Brown and his son Mitch (12) went fishing. Young Mitch kicked his Dad’s behind, catching most of the fish. Speckled trout (several in the slot), Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, and flounder hit shrimp and jigs. In the afternoon, George Benson from Rocky River, OH took his son Lee and two grandsons out. It was breezy and fishing was fair. The Radio Tower flat was the best spot, giving up a pair of 18″ trout and a couple of mackerel using Gulp! and live shrimp. Thursday and Friday were rain-outs.

 

On Saturday Ian Warsop and his teenage boys Mitch, Bryson, and Lawrie had a friendly competition. Dad Ian spanked the boys numbers-wise using a Glow Gulp! Shrimp, he caught speckled trout, ladyfish, a sea bass, and a big silver trout. The Radio Tower was the best spot. They ended up with four slot trout to 18″, two Spanish mackerel, and the big silver in the box along with other silver and speckled trout, ladyfish, and more released.

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
March 30, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Weather continued to be the story. Strong winds and unseasonably cool temperatures resulted in less than ideal conditions. The ability to adapt to those conditions was the key to success. Still, plenty of nice fish were caught on charters this week. As Capt Ed would say, “You aren’t going to catch them sitting on your couch!”. The weather did improve late in the week. Sheepshead fishing was very reliable and provided meals for anglers. Speckled trout and ladyfish were steady on the deep flats, with a decent number of slot trout. Silver trout hit jigs in the deeper dredge areas around Bird Key and Golden Point. Spanish mackerel, flounder, and black sea bass were also caught on trips this week.

 

I took Sunday off and Monday it was blowing 25+ out of the northwest, so I moved my trip to later in the week. Long-time client Dave Buckley from Gettysburg, PA went out on Tuesday. The morning started off nice, cool, but with a 10 knot wind out of the northeast. We caught some silver trout on jigs near Marina Jack and then caught ladyfish and trout free-lining shrimp near Bird Key. A move to the docks resulted in a bunch of sheepshead, several of which were solid 3 pound “chunks”, and a nice black sea bass. The wind picked up and we hit a couple of protected spots behind Bird Key, catching more speckled trout and ladyfish.

 

Kevin Lyons and his son Jackson from Chicago, IL faced cool, breezy conditions on Wednesday, but still had a very good fishing trip. We left at 11:00 and hit the Radio Tower flat where they caught speckled trout to 16″ and ladyfish on jigs and shrimp. We moved over to the Marina Jack area and put a half dozen silver trout in the box. A move to the Bird Key docks resulted in a trio of 2 lb sheepshead on ice and several more released. The breeze picked up and we finished up with steady catch and release action on trout, flounder, Spanish mackerel, and ladyfish hiding behind Lido Key and Ken Thompson Island free lining live shrimp.
David Wahba from New York and his 11 year old son Charlie had a very good trip on Thursday. Again, we let it warm up and went later in the morning. We started off catching ladyfish and speckled trout in Robert’s Bay using shrimp and jigs. Fish was on the menu for dinner, so I ran to some docks in Big Pass and they did not disappoint. Five decent sheepshead and a flounder went in the cooler with more released. We hit some deep grass edges and caught more speckled trout, ladyfish, and a flounder.

 

I had two trips on Friday, and both were similar. Michelle and Randy Boller from MI and their two boys worked the docks near Big Pass for sheepshead to 4 pounds. They also caught several silver trout on jigs. We finished up with an insane ladyfish bite using jigs. In the afternoon, Dave Buckley and his son Brady from Gettysburg, PA caught ladyfish and trout using Gulp! Shrimp and caught some nice sheepies under docks. Brady finished up the trip with a 2 1/2 Spanish mackerel at the Radio Tower on Gulp!

 

Gil Fitzgerald and his son Gilly from Chicago had a vert good trip on Saturday morning. Action on the deep flats was steady using jigs and free lined shrimp. Most of the fish were ladyfish, some quite large, but Gilly caught two Spanish mackerel, including a nice 3 1/2 pound fish. We also hit some docks and put a half dozen sheepshead in the boat.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
March 23, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Weather was once again the story this week. Unseasonably cool temperatures and breezy conditions made fishing a little more difficult that it should be for the middle of March. Still, action was good for anglers willing to adapt to the conditions. The sheepshead bite has been very reliable. Small live shrimp fished near structure in Big Pass put meals on the table for clients this week. Speckled trout to 18″, big silver trout, ladyfish, and Spanish mackerel provided steady action on the deep flats at the Radio Tower, Moorings, middlegrounds, and Marker #5 for anglers casting jigs, plugs, and flies.

 

I started the week off with a fly fishing charter. Tom Lade from used an 8 wt outfit and caught a dozen ladyfish and 6 speckled trout. Several of the trout were between 15″ and 17″. Chartreuse/white Clousers at Marina Jacks and Radio Tower flats caught them.

 

Bob Siemering and his 18 year old son John from MA went out on Monday morning. There were breaking fish near the Siesta Drive bridge and we caught a few ladyfish first off. Drifts at the middlegrounds, Moorings, and Radio Tower produced some small trout with a pair in the slot, a Spanish mackerel, and plenty of big ladyfish on free lined shrimp. The wind picked up and we finished up with a few more fish near Bird Key then called it a few minutes early with threatening weather on the way.

 

On Tuesday I ran a group trip will all the other guides out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters with a bunch of people in the generator business. These trips are a lot of fun with some good-natured ribbing involved. Action was steady on speckled trout, silver trout, and ladyfish using jigs and Gulp! Shrimp at Marker #5 and the Radio Tower flats. We also caught a half dozen Spanish mackerel using Rapala X-Raps. Wednesday morning it was raining, so no fishing.

 

Gino Picciano from Montreal, Canada, his brother Bruno, and son Matt had a decent morning on Thursday. Once again, it was breezy, and they wanted enough for dinner, so we concentrated on docks and stucture in big Pass using shrimp. Ten sheepshead, a pair of mangrove snapper, and a flounder went in the box. We spend a little time on the deep grass and caught ladyfish and speckled trout, including one 17″ trout, using jigs.

 

Brad Mueller and his friend Drew Johnson from Cincinnati, OH had a similar day on Friday. We put fat sheepies in the box, including a nice fish pushing 4 pounds. We fished up with ladyfish, small trout, and several small, but legal mackerel using Glow Gulp! Shrimp.

 

Rich Ruis from Ann arbor, MI, his son Tom, and a couple of friends had another day like those earlier in the week. We hit the docks early, caught some sheepies, then fished the deep flats and had steady action on speckled trout to 17″, a pair of 14″ silver trout, and ladyfish using jigs and live shrimp.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
March 16, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing the deep grass flats was very productive early in the week as a severe front was approaching. Fish are usually VERY active as they sense a big change in barometric pressure. The bite continued after the front passed, though we had to deal with cool, windy conditions. The deep flats near Big Pass were quite productive for anglers casting jigs and live shrimp this week. Pompano, speckled trout, silver trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, flounder, and ladyfish were caught on the deep grass this week. The sheepshead bite was on! I had several clients wanting enough fish for a meal. Fishing shrimp on the bottom near docks in Big Pass put enough sheepies in the box in short order. We also caught gag grouper, mangrove snapper, and flounder.

 

Pat Richardson from Indiana and his buddy Charlie Booth who lives in Homassassa, FL had a good morning of mixed-bag fishing on Sunday. Using Cotee jigs they caught ladyfish and a pompano in Big Pass. A move to the flats in the Yacht Club Channel resulted in more ladyfish and a Spanish mackerel on jigs. I saw some macks jumping so I switched to Rapala X-Raps and we put several more in the boat. We finished up at Marker #5 as the wind picked up catching ladyfish and speckled trout.

 

Action was virtually non-stop for Steve Cook and his son Drew and Drew’s buddy Phil who were in town from Canada. A front was approaching and it was blowing hard out of the south. Casting gold Cotee jigs and Glow Gulp! Shrimp at Marker #5, Marina Jacks, and the Radio Tower produced plenty of big ladyfish, along with speckled trout to 16″, a couple of keeper flounder, and a 2 lb Spanish mackerel. Tuesday was a no-go as it rained early then blew 20+ knots in the afternoon.

 

Joe Walsh from Dayton, OH and a couple of friends did well on Wednesday despite breezy conditions. The boys wanted enough fish for a meal, so I headed into Big Pass in search of pompano and mackerel. It was a bit too windy and no bites, so I moved into the Yacht Club Channel where they caught ladyfish and short trout using jigs. We then hit some docks along Bird Key where they put a half dozen sheepshead and a mangrove snapper in the box using live shrimp. We finished up with a hot bite near Marina Jacks, catching big ladyfish, small trout, and a Spanish mackerel using Cotee jigs and Gulp! Shrimp.

 

John and Amy Lorenz from St Paul, MN took out their two boys Mitch (10) and Nick (10) out on Thursday. It was cool and very windy, so we left CB’s at 11:00 in the morning. A stop at the Field Club flat produced several ladyfish. The wind eased up and we made a couple of long drifts at the Marina Jack flat, catching speckled trout (one keeper), ladyfish, and a nice bluefish. They wanted a couple more fish for dinner, so we hit a dock on Bird Key and quickly put 4 sheepshead in the cooler, and released several more along with 4 flounder. All the fish were caught using shrimp.

 

Tim Sledz and his father Bill from CT caught speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, and a pair of big silver trout casting gold Cotee jigs and Gulp! Shrimp on the flats near Big Pass on Friday.

 

Bob Siemering, his son John, and a couple of friends did very well on Saturday. We started off in Big Pass at dead low tide; no bites. As the tide started moving, we caught ladyfish, speckled trout, and a nice silver trout and a Spanish mackerel near Otter Key. The boys needed enough fish for dinner and the sheepshead were chewing! They put 6 keepers in the box in 15 minutes. We finished up with steady action at Marker #5 and Marina Jacks, catching ladyfish and trout on jigs and shrimp.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
March 9, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

The weather has been unseasonably cool and breezy in March after a fantastic January and February. Water temperatures are in the upper 50′s where they should be in the low 70″s. Still, action on the deep grass flats has been very good! Loads of decent sized ladyfish kept rods bent and anglers bust with speckled trout, silver trout, and Spanish mackerel sprinkled in. Fly fishermen scored using bright Clousers while anglers using spinning tackle did well with jigs and live shrimp. Docks and oyster bars produced snook, sheepshead, and large speckled trout for anglers using live shrimp.

 

On Monday Nathan Adams from Seattle, WA and his dad Mike went out to do some fishing. It was cool and breezy and Nate is a fly fisherman. Not great conditions, but Nate caught a dozen ladyfish on pink/white and chartreuse/white Clousers at the Radio Tower and Marker #5 flats. Mike pitched in with 20 or so trout and ladyfish using “New Penny” Gulp! Shrimp.

 

Janet and Rich Guelfi from Elmhurst, IL had a god trip on Tuesday. It was cool early, but warmed up quickly and was a beautiful morning. Free lined shrimp produced speckled trout to 16″, silver trout to 14″, and ladyfish at Marker #5. Janet caught a 21″ in the Yacht Club Channel along with smaller trout and more ladyfish. They kept 3 smaller slot trout for dinner and released the big girl to make babies.

 

It was blowing 30 knots on Wednesday, so no fishing. Jeff Bishop from Poland, OH went out on Thursday. We waited a bit for it to warm up and left CB’s at 10:30. With all the wind I expected to find the water on the flats near Big Pass to be dirty, but it wasn’t bad. Action was very good using Gulp! Shrimp and Cotee jigs. Most of the fish were ladyfish, but we also caught speckled trout and a nice Spanish mackerel. Jeff finished the trip with a 22″ trout off an oyster bar on a large live shrimp.

 

Long-time client Bill LaPierre from Massachusetts had a good trip on Friday. Ladyfish, speckled trout, and Spanish mackerel hit gold Cotee jigs at Marker #5 and in the Yacht Club Channel. We finished up working docks in Robert’s Bay and Bill caught a pair of 2 lb sheepshead and 5 snook to 24″ on live shrimp.

 

The bite was a bit slow on Saturday for fly fisherman Norm Robakiewicz from MI. He caught ladyfish and trout using pink/white Clousers near Big Pass.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
March 2, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

The deep grass flats throughout the area continue to provide good action on a variety of species. Speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, pompano, bluefish, ladyfish, and silver trout are hitting jigs and live shrimp in five to eight feet of water. Sheepshead fishing has been very good around structure in both passes. Live shrimp produced well for me. A cold front late in the week shut down fishing over the weekend. Action should resume as it warms up.

 

Bill Thiel from Naperville, IL took out a couple of friends early in the week. Bill had promised his wife enough fillets for a fish fry, so we targeted docks along Bird Key. The boys put eight sheepies in the box, making dinner a done deal. They also caught ladyfish in Big Pass and speckled trout near Marina Jacks. They finished up with several silver trout to add to the fish fry.

 

Later in the week Ray Moreland from Bannockburn, IL and his father-in-law Deke Brinkman, a Sarasota resident, went out on a charter. Ray likes the challenge of targeting larger fish, so we left early and worked the Intracoastal Waterway near Phillippi Creek with Rapalas. Other than a 16″ speckled trout, nothing was hapenning. We ran up to the Middlegrounds and caught a Spanish mackerel on a free lined shrimp and several ladyfish on gold Cotee jigs. The Radio Tower flat produced more ladyfish. We finished up in the Gran Canal on Siesta Key, trolling Rapala X-Raps and catching several jack crevelle to 6 pounds.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
February 23, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Once again, fishing was good in a variety of locations, using several different techniques. This week I did some live bait bottom fishing, casting lures on the flats, fly fishing, and a river snook trip. The most consistent action was found on the grass flats in five to seven feet of water near both passes. Jigs, flies, and live shrimp produced Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, pompano, buefish, and ladyfish. The flats south of Midnight Pass have plenty of ladyfish and some speckled trout scattered about. Bottom fishing with shrimp around docks and structure in both passes has been very productive for sheepshead, gag grouper, and mangrove snapper. A Myakka River trip resulted in a half dozen snook on Rapalas.

 

 

Keith Williams and his son Thomas from the UK fished with me on Monday. It was breezy and it was the day after a front, so we opted for an afternoon trip down south, in Osprey Bay. Action was steady on ladyfish with a few speckled trout and a flounder. Gold jigs out-fished live shrimp on this trip.

 

 

On Tuesday Brenda and Tom Van Dyne from Mayer, MN took their 12 year old girls Jaymes Marie and Sarah out on their first saltwater trip, and they did great! We started off catching ladyfish and trout near the Field Club, then moved to Marker # 5 and had steady action on ladyfish, speckled trout, and a Spanish mackerel. Tom caught his fish, including the mack, on a gold Cotee jig and the girls all free-lined live shrimp. Jaymes caught a nice 17″ trout. The breeze picked up so we worked docks along Bird Key and Sarah and Jaymes caught several nice sheepshead to 3 pounds. We finished up back at Marker #5 catching some big ladyfish.

 

 

Peg Heaslip from Osprey, FL had her son Ben and his friend Jeff in visiting from Canada, so she took them fishing. We started off catching trout and ladyfish at Marker #5. Peg loves sheepshead, so we hit some docks along Bird Key. Action was sporadic on grouper, snapper, and sheepshead; there was no tide or wind and it was just too still. I made a move to Big Pass in search of deeper water and hopefully a little tide. The move paid off as we finished up with a flurry with a dozen sheepshead to 3 pounds and several decent bluefish.

 

 

Ryan Medford from Brinkley, AR experienced steady action at the Middlegrounds, Country Club Shores, and the Moorings on Thursday. The dolphins kept chasing us off of spots, but each time we moved the “catching” resumed quickly. Gulp! Shrimp, Trigger-X Shrimp, and Cotee jigs were all productive, fooling Spanish mackerel, pompano, speckled trout, bluefish, and ladyfish.

 

 

Dan Vukmer from Columbus, OH spent the morning fly fishing on Friday. Action was steady at Marker #5, the Yacht Club Channel, and the Radio Tower flat. Dan caught a couple dozen fish including speckled trout, ladyfish, and a nice Spanish mackerel. He also got cut off several times and had numerous fish on. Clousers in white and chartruese/white did well. Dan read about guys catching trout in Florida on a “Grey Fred”, which is a variation on a Wooly Bugger, and darn if he didn’t catch the mackerel on it! The last hour was tough as the wind really cranked up and it was difficult to find any protection.

 

 

Bill LaPierre from Massachusetts wanted to try the Myakka River on Saurday. Action was fair, we landed 6 snook, lost a couple, and missed a couple. The water temperature in the river is 72 degrees, which is a bit high for this time of year.

 

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
February 16, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Charters this week were an even mix of structure and deep grass fishing. Docks throughout the area were reliable for sheepshead, snapper, grouper, and flounder. This is primarily bottom fishing with live shrimp. Deep flats produced Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, silver trout, flounder, sea bass, bluefish, sea bass, and plenty of ladyfish. The Middlegrounds and Marker #5 were the best spots. Gold Cotee jigs, glow Gulp! Shrimp, Rapala X-Raps, and live shrimp were productive. We also caught a snook, a black drum, and a permit. Nice week for variety!

 

 

Richard Fletcher from Minnesota invited his brother Tom who lives in Riverview, FL to go fishing with him on Monday. They wanted to focus primarily on “eating” fish, so we worked docks and structure in Big Pass and along Bird Key using live shrimp. Action was steady on Sheepshead to 3 pounds, mangrove snapper to 12″, and gag grouper. The largest grouper landed was 16″ but they got freight-trained a couple of times on fish they just could not handle on light spinning tackle.

 

 

Andy Singerling and his friend David Spies from PA had a good day of mixed-bag fishing on Tuesday. We started off hitting New Pass on the last hour of the outgoing tide. Unfortunately, the wind was the opposite direction and the drift was bad. So, we trolled Rapala X-Raps and caught a half dozen bluefish and a couple of Spanish mackerel. After the tide turned, we made a move to the Middlegrounds where Andy used a gold Cotee jig and David drifted a live shrimp. The result was speckled trout, flounder, mackerel, and ladyfish. Andy wanted a sheepshead for dinner, so we finished up working docks along Longboat Key and caught 2 keeper sheepies and a flounder. Fun day and a nice box of fish! Wednesday was foggy and windy, no fishing for me.

 

 

John Belicka from Woodstock, GA treated his brother Tim and father Bruce to a trip on Thursday. The weather was threatening, but first thing in the morning it was calm, so we made the run up to the Middlegrounds. Bruce caught a nice Spanish mackerel on a free lined shrimp on his first cast. John and Tim caught macks, bluefish, ladyfish, sea bass, and sail cats on Cotee jigs. The wind picked up so we started working back, stopping at some docks on Bird Key. Gag grouper, sheepshead, and mangrove snapper bit steadily. We finished up with a small snook near Phillippi Creek.

 

 

Bill Thiel from Naperville, IL fished with me on Friday. A front moved through the night before and we waited until 9:00 a.m. for the rain to clear through. Action was fair, though we did catch a lot of different species. A black drum hit a shrimp in Phillippi creek, sheepshead, snapper to 12″, and gag grouper were caught under Bird Key docks, ladyfish, speckled trout, silver trout, Spanish mackerel, and a small permit took jigs and shrimp on the flats near bird Key.

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
February 9, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing was good during the first part of this week then slowed a bit after the front passed. John Lovely has “fish of the week” honors with a big snook he caught on Monday using a small live shrimp. The Middlegrounds, Country Club Shores, Marker # 5, and the Field Club were all reliable spots for mackerel, trout, bluefish, and ladyfish. Gold Cotee jigs produced a lot of fish, as did flies, Gulp!, and live shrimp. Creeks and canals are holding snook, snapper, drum, sheepshead, trout, and flounder.

 

On Monday afternoon John Lovely and Jay Lalley, both from Chicago, IL went out fishing. The charter went from decent to fantastic on the last cast as John hooked and landed a 38″ snook on a live shrimp and 10 lb spinning tackle. The fish almost got back in the mangroves but somehow John turned it and brought it to the boat for a quick photo. Earlier they had sporadic action on bluefish, ladyfish, and Spanish mackerel using live shrimp at the Middlegrounds, Yacht Club Channel, and Field Club flat.

 

Earl Sharmon and Larry Mothershead from Wisconsin fished a 6 hour trip on Tuesday. We left the dock at 8:00 a.m. and since there was very little wind and tide I decided to give New Pass a try. Action was steady on Spanish mackerel and bluefish using gold cotee jigs. Action slowed after a couple of hours so we moved inside to the Middlegrounds and caught speckled trout to 17″, ladyfish, mackerel, and a remora on jigs and Gulp! Shrimp. After a lunch break we worked some canals on Longboat Key and caught a pair of flounder to 15″, several more trout, and lost a decent redfish using Gulp! Shrimp.

 

Ben Ciliberto from Philadelphia, PA did some fly fishing on Wednesday. We did not catch a ton of fish, but action was steady on Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, and speckled trout. Chartreuse Clousers caught fish at the Middlegrounds, Marker #5, Bird Key, and Field Club.

 

Jim Mitchell and his brother John from Minneapolis, MN had a great day on Thursday. We started off catching fish on every cast using Cotee jigs at the Middlegrounds and Country Club Shores. Most were ladyfish, but there were a few speckled trout and jack crevelle mixed in. We moved to the Bird Key flats and caught silver trout, speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, whiting, and ladyfish free-lining live shrimp. The wind kicked up so we found some protection from the breeze in canals on Siesta Key catching mangrove snapper to 12″ and sheepshad to 2 pounds on shrimp.

 

Friday morning found me on the Myakka River with Mike Christman from Wisconson. A front had just passed and we were greeted with blue-bird skies and the snook were a bit fussy. We caught a few and missed one nice one. Still, great scenery and company make it a fun trip.

 

Gil Fitzgerald from Chicago and his buddy Mike fished with me on Saturday morning. A stiff northeast breeze and dirty water made for tough fishing. We worked hard for a pair of bluefish, several speckled trout, a Spanish mackerel, and some ladyfish using jigs, Gulp!, and live shrimp. The Field Club flat was the best spot.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
February 2, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Winter reared it’s head this week, hopefully for the last time. Before the front, speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and pompano were hitting on the deep flats. Sheepshead, gag grouper, and mangrove snapper are hiding under docks near the passes. Snook and redfish were available in the Siesta Key canals. Bluegill bit very good in Upper Myakka Lake. Snook are still taking Rapala X-Raps in the lower portion of the river. It was blowing 30 knots on Wednesday, then cool and breezy on Thursday and Friday. By Saturday the front had cleared and it was nice enough to fish. There was some dirty water near the passes but the flats further north were nice.

 

I started the week off fishing Dave Buckley and his cousin Jerry Buckley from Gettysburg, PA. We decided to work bars and canals in Robert’s Bay to see what we could catch. Using live shrimp, they landed redfish to 21″, sheepshead, snapper, and jack crevelle. Casting and trolling Rapala X-Raps resulted in snook, jacks, and ladyfish.

 

On Monday Jonathon Smith from Indianapolis, IN treated his two boys Sawyer (3) and Sullivan (5) and father-in-law Terry Hamilton to a fishing trip. It was the boys first “real” trip, and they did great! Free lining shrimp in the Intracoastal waterway just south of Siesta Drive resulted in big ladyfish and a pair of catfish. A move to the Bird Key flats produced speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, and a pompano. We finished up working a couple of docks and caught gag grouper, mangrove snapper, and sheepshead.

 

I fished Upper Myakka Lake on Tuesday and massacred the bream (pronounced “brim”, it is Southern for bluegill and other panfish). Live wigglers and black Beetlespins caught all the fish. we also caught a 16″ largemouth bass. A severe weather front moved through and Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were quite breezy, so no fishing for me.

 

Peg Heaslip from Osprey, FL treated her sister Jeannie Musial and brother Jeff Courtright to a trip on Satursday. The water was cool and a bit off-color. Fishing was steady, and although we did not catch a lot of fish, they ended up with 5 nice sheepshead to 5 lbs, a mangrove snapper and a flounder in the box for dinner along with catch and release action on ladyfish, speckled trout, jack crevelle, and a small redfish. Most of the fish were caught near Bird Key and in Robert’s Bay on live shrimp.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
January 26, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Another week of good, and diverse fishing in Sarasota! I started off in the Myakka River catching several snook near 30″ and a bunch of smaller ones from 18″ to 25″ on gold Rapala X-Raps and Husky Jerks with my wife Christine. Monday was a bit breezy as a front was approaching but ladyfish bit good in Robert’s Bay and near Midnight Pass. Tuesday and Wednesday were cool and breezy, no fishing or me. I finished up the week doing well at the Middlegrounds, Helicopter Shoal, and Buttonwood catching nice Spanish mackerel and keeper trout. Shrimp, Cotee jigs, Gulp!, and Rapalas all caught fish this week.

 

The week started off good fishing the Myakka River on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. I took a day off and my wife Christine and I fished and camped on the river. Snook to 30″ hit Rapala X-Raps and Husky Jerks, gold was the best color. Chris also caught a decent bass and I missed another.

 

On Monday Tim Wilhelm from Ann Arbor, MI took out his son Zach, daughter Georgia, and nephew Leo out. It was a bit breezy but they caught a bunch of ladyfish in Robert’s Bay and the flats near Midnight Pass free lining live shrimp and casting gold Cotee jigs. They also caught sheepshead and mangrove snapper in Phillippi Creek.

 

Dave Buckley and his cousin Jerry from Gettysburg, PA fished with me later this week. On Thursday we went north from Centennial Park, hitting the Middlegrounds, Moorings, Bishop’s Pt, and Helicopter Shoal. Action was steady on speckled trout to 18″, big ladyfish, a flounder, and a nice Spanish mackerel landed and a couple more that bit us off. Gold Cotee jigs and Glow Gulp! Shrimp on 3/8 ounce jig heads fooled them.

 

On Friday Greg Pratt, his wife Patty and their friends Kristi and Chuck Barton, all from Middletown, OH had a good day fishing the flats in north Sarasota Bay. Things started off a bit slow with a few small trout and a couple of ladyfish at the Middlegrounds and Moorings. It was slick calm and there was no drift at all. We worked our way north and got into some good action off of Buttonwood Harbor. 4 Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds and 3 slot trout went in the box. They also caught small trout, ladyfish, and a bluefish. Trolled Rapalas, Cotee jigs, Gulp! Shrimp and live shrimp all produced. Great fun and a nice mess of fish for dinner!

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
January 19, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

All of the fishing I did this week was in then Myakka River near Venice, Fl. This time of year the snook are up in the brackish portion of the river. Even though it has been unseasonably warm to this point, the fish still make their winter run up the creeks and rivers. This is a unique angling experience that offers visitors the opportunity to see the true “old Florida”. The scenery is spectacular and it is very peaceful. Anglers will not catch a lot of fish but usually catch some quality fish. Most trips yield a 30″ fish. Small tarpon and largemouth bass are also frequently caught.

 

Early in the week Andrew Berryhill from upstate NY and his friend Mark Monson from Mn had a decent morning. The bite was early then tapered off as it got sunny. Mark landed a nice 32″ snook on a Firetiger Rapala X-Rap while Andrew got 2 “Myakka Slams”, snook, bass, and tarpon. The tarpon are small, but fun.

 

Later in the week Cb’s Saltwater Outfitters owner Aledia Tush and long-time manager Doug Forde went out with me. The bite was more steady with the fish eating throughout the morning. The tide was still trickling in at first light then turned to go out and this kept the action going. Doug had the largest fish, around 28″, while Aledia caught the most. We had fifteen or so on and landed nine or ten. All of the snook hit gold/black X-Raps.

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
January 12, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Is it January or June? The weather has been fantastic so far in 2013! Mid day temperatures were around 80 degrees with lows in the mid 60s and no rail. Fish are thick on the deep flats near the passes. Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, silver trout, flounder, ladyfish, bluefish, gag grouper, mangrove snapper, black drum, sheepshead, and sea bass were all caught by clients on trips this week. River fishing resulted in snook, largemouth bass, and gar using Rapala X-Raps.

 

Renee and Chris Boisen along with their freind Teri Bumphrey from Orion, IL had a good day early in the week. The tide was still going out in the morning, so we made several drifts in the Intracoastal Waterway and caught a grouper and a few ladyfish using Cotee jigs. We moved to Big Pass where Chris caught a nice Spanish mackerel on a Gulp! Shrimp. The breeze picked up making jigging difficult, so we anchored up on deep grass edges near Bird Key and free lined live shrimp to fool speckled trout to 19″, flounder, ladyfish, and sea bass. They finished up with 4 keeper trout and the mackerel, plenty for a meal or two.

 

Ryan Kraehling and Rob Maciag from Ontario experienced good action on Thursday. Fishing near Siesta Drive on the outgoing tide resulted in fast action on big ladyfish with a couple of Spanish mackerel and bluefish mixed in. After the tide changed we did well on speckled trout on the Bird Key flats.

 

Long time client and winter resident Peggy Heaslip and her brother-in-law Paul Turner from Vancouver, British Colombia.ad a great trip on Friday! We started off catching a few ladyfish in the Intracoastal waterway near Siesta Drive. We hit a dock on bird Key and caught several gag grouper, a 14″ mangrove snapper, a flounder, and Peg got smoked by something big; probably a nice grouper. A move to the deep grass near Bird Key resulted in Spanish mackerel to 4 pounds, speckled trout to 24″, and tons of ladyfish. Action was non-stop! We finished up working a canal in Roberts Bay and caught several more snapper to 12″, along with sheepshead and black drum. All of the fish were caught on live shrimp.

 

Saturday morning found me fishing the Myakka River. Fishing was fair, July Allen and Jennifer Vogel, both from Tampa, teamed up for a dozen snook, a bass, and a gar. All of the fish were caught on Rapala X-Raps.

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
January 5, 2013
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

   Sunday morning was cold and windy and Monday morning a bit chilly, but the weather the rest of the week was fantastic. And so was the fishing! Big ladyfish kept rods bent and anglers very busy. Other species landed on charters this week include snook, speckled trout, silver trout, pompano, flounder, sea bass, gag grouper, jack crevelle, and bluefish. Cotee jigs, Rapala X-Raps, Gulp! Shrimp and live shrimp were used this week. The deep flats near both passes were the best spots.

   On Monday morning Jack Plym and his 8 year old son Charlie from New York City caught speckled trout to 20″ and big ladyfish free lining shrimp in the channels and deep grass edges near Bird Key. Numbers were not great but there were some quality fish. On Monday after noon John Brennan from Brookfield, WI took his three teenage daughters Laura, Cari, and Teresa out fishing. We basically spent the trip at the middlegrounds catching slot trout, plenty of ladyfish, a 3 pound Spanish mackerel and Laura topped off the trip with a nice pompano. Most of the fish hit shrimp but John used gold Cotee jigs and Gulp! Shrimp. Laura caught the mack trolling a Rapala X-Rap. Great trip on a beautiful afternoon, what better way to close out the year!

 

   Tuesday morning Lou Hassan started the year off right; by going fishing! She took her 2 sons Dean (17) and Grant (12) out on Tuesday morning. We started off at Marker #5 catching a speckled trout, jack crevelle, and a couple of ladyfish. We moved to the middlegrounds and spent the rest of the trip there catching big ladyfish, black sea bass to 13″, and a pompano on gold Cotee jigs. Lou also caught a 2 lb Spanish mackerel on a trolled Rapala.

 

   Steve Laliberte, his son Dave, and son-in-law Alex caught Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, black sea bass, and loads of ladyfish at the middlegrounds, Country Club shores, and the Moorings using Cotee jigs and Gulp! Shrimp on Wednesday. Alex had “big fish” honors with a 3 1/2 lb mack.

 

   Pat Cotter, a city boy from Chicago, had never caught a fish in his life. We took care of that on Thursday. Pat, his wife Amy and son Finn experienced very good action at several spots. We started in the Intracoastal near Siesta Drive where they caught big ladyfish and Amy landed a nice Spanish mackerel and a 20″ gag grouper on the falling tide. A move to Big Pass did not produce much but the tide turned to come in and the “catching” resumed. Free lining shrimp at he Bird Key flats resulted in speckled trout, silver trout, flounder, a mackerel, sea bass, and ladyfish. We finished up with a big ladyfish flurry, action was non-stop. They got tired of reeling them in and called it a day a bit early.

 

   I got a last minute cal from CB’s to run an afternoon trip on Friday. Ryan Moffitt from Burlington, NC needed to get out and do a little fishing. We started off at the Field Club flat catching ladyfish on nearly every cast using Cotee jigs. After enough of the ladies, we went after something a bit more challenging. Ryan fished Phillippi Creek hard with Rapalas and while there wasn’t a ton of action, Ryan landed his first snook and a pair of nice jack crevelle.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
December 29, 2012
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

   Mother Nature kept us on our toes this week. Conditions were constantly changing and several trips had to be canceled, but it is winter after all. The trips I did run were fairly productive on a variety of species including Speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, flounder, black drum, sheepshead, mangrove snapper, and bluefish. Jigs, Rapalas, and live shrimp all caught fish this week.

   On Monday Jim Lebow from Kansas City, MO took out his sons Derek and J.D. and J.D.s wife Amanda. Action was steady at Marker # 5 and the Yacht Club Channel using gold Cotee jigs and Gulp! Shrimp. They caught between 40 and 50 fish, and lost about as many. Most of them were large ladyfish, but J.D. and Amanda both caught several speckled trout and each caught a Spanish mackerel. Amanda landed a 1 1/2 lb mack on a Rapala and J.D. caught the biggest fish, a 3 lb mackerel on a jig. Fun morning with great people!

   Tuesday was Christmas and Wednesday it blew 25-30 knots, so no fishing. Thursday morning Darrell Williams from Siesta Key took out his son in law Thomas Miles and his grandson Ryan Miles who were visiting from CT. Action was good on the deep flats near Bird Key for big ladyfish, speckled trout, and flounder. Free lined shrimp worked best. We hit a dock on Siesta and caught a black drum and missed a couple more fish. We finished up in Phillippi Creek where Ryan caught a redfish and a decent sheepshead wile Tom and Darrell caught a few mangrove snapper. Thursday afternoon was bit slow for Craig Stechman and his son Graham. Craig lost a pompano on the second cast and it was just picking at ladyfish after that. The best spot was Marker # 21 near Nokomis.

   Jeff and Maria Manby from Brookfield, WI and their 3 daughters went out on Friday. It was chilly in the morning, so we went from ten till two. Fishing was steady with close to 50 fish being landed and a bunch more lost. It was about an even mix of speckled trout and ladyfish with a nice flounder mixed in. Maria caught a huge ladyfish and they ended up with trout and a flounder in the box for dinner. All of the fish hit free lined shrimp and the Moorings was the best spot. Saturday was a rain-out.

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
December 22, 2012
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

   Fishing was very good once again this week in both fresh and salt water before a severe front shut things down on Friday. Grass flats throughout the area held pompano, speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, jack crevelle, bluefish, sea bass, and a lot of decent sized ladyfish. Marker #5, Radio Tower, middlegrounds, and flats further south near Midnight pass were all productive this week. Gold Cotee jigs caught most of the fish, along with a few on Gulp! Shrimp and Rapala X-Raps. Oyster bars and docks in the same area are producing sheepshead to 3 pounds, redfish, and black drum.

   Myakka River trips continue to be extremely productive. This week we caught snook, bass, tarpon (yes, tarpon), tilapia, and bream using Rapalas and black spinnerbaits. The cold front should push more snook up into the river.

   Ladyfish, speckled trout, and pompano are scattered throughout the area from north Sarasota Bay to Blackburn Pt. Jigs have been productive and allow anglers to cover a lot of water. The key is to keep moving until action is found, then concentrate on that flat. Gold and chartreuse Cotte jigs worked well for me.

   Dave Vins and his 18 year old son had a busy morning on Thursday. The bite was good at Marker #5 until several dolphin moved in and shut it own. We picked at them in Big Pass, the Yacht Club Channel, and the Radio Tower, catching trout, sea bass, ladyfish, and bluefish on gold Cotee jigs. A move to New Pass resulted in Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and big ladyfish. The wind cranked up so we finished up with a ladyfish flurry are Marker #5.

   John Brennan from Brookfield, WI and his 3 girls Laura, Cari, and teresa went out on Saturday. We went in the afternoon to let it warm up a bit. We did not catch a lot in terms of numbers, but did get a lot of variety and a nice bag of filets for dinner. Fishing bars near Stickney Pt with live shrimp resulted in 5 keeper sheepies, a half dozen “shorts”, 2 redfish to 20″, and a 15″ black drum. We moved to the flats just south of Point Crisp and caught ladyfish, trout, and a Spanish mackerel on jigs and live shrimp.

   On Tuesday I ran way up the Myakka River and the 18″ snook could not resist a tiny black Beetlespin. This is my “go to” lure for bluegill, but a couple dozen snook, four bass, a big tilapia and a pair of small tarpon could not resist them. Even a small snook or tarpon is a handful on ultra light spinning tackle. I trolled a Rapala on the way home and caught several more snook.

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
December 15, 2012
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

This week really illustrated the diverse fishing opportunities that Sarasota offers! On Monday we fished Sarasota Bay and did well on Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, and ladyfish free lining live shrimp. On Wednesday I caught crappie, largemouth bass, and bream in Upper Myakka Lake using black Beetlespins. On Thursday I fished the tidal portion of the Myakka and caught a bunch of snook to 28" and a pair of chunky bass tossing Rapala X-Raps. Back in the bay on Saturday catching pompano, sheepshead, trout, ladyfish, and redfish.

  Bonnie and Dan Czepiel caught Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, speckled trout to 16", and big ladyfish at Marker #5, the Bird Key flats, and the Radio Tower flat using live shrimp and gold Cotee jigs on Monday morning before the wind and rain chased us home.

  I fished Upper Myakka Lake on Wednesday and the tidal potion of the river Thursday. Crappie, bream, and bass hit Beetlespins in the lake. The snook bite was fantastic on Thursday morning! Snook to 28" hit gold/black Rapala X-Raps, along with a pair of 2 pound largemouth. This winter snook fishing is just getting cranked up and will go into March.

  Tommy Hyser from Cambridge, MD fished with me on Saturday and the fish bit pretty good. Speckled trout and ladyfish were plentiful at the Radio Tower flat and Marker #5. We also caught a decent pompano and a pair of flounder. All the fish came on gold Cotee jigs. A run to New Pass resulted in more ladyfish and a couple of mackerel on jigs and Rapalas. We picked up some shrimp and hit a couple of canals in Robert's Bay and landed several nice sheepshead and a couple of small redfish.

 

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
December 8, 2012
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

   The weather was warm and mild this week and fishing was good with a variety of species being caught. Snook, redfish, speckled trout, bluefish, flounder, snapper, and ladyfish were caught this week on charters. The deep flats near both Big Pass and New Pass are holding trout, mackerel, bluefish, flounder, and ladyfish. Jigs and live shrimp worked the best. Creeks and canals are holding snook, redfish, and sheepshead.

   Trips to the Myakka River resulted in snook, gar, and bluegill using Rapalas and Beetlespins. Tim Palmer, an associate at CB’s, tried his hand at fly fishing on Tuesday. It was pretty slow, the tide was just not moving and the unseasonably warm weather has the water temperature a bit too high. One good cold snap should get them going.

   Sarasota resident Dan Gallagher had his son Colm in from San Diego and they decided to go fishing. Action was steady with four very nice Spanish mackerel, speckled trout to 16″, and a flounder going home for dinner. It was very foggy in the morning so we started off in Phillippi Creek where Colm caught a snapper and a redfish on live shrimp and they had on a couple of sheepshead that escaped. The tide quit so we moved to the flats at Marker #5 where Colm caught several ladyfish and got cut off by a bluefish and Dan put a keeper flounder in the box. Both were using gold Cotee jigs. The dolphins moved in and shut down the fishing so we moved to the deep flats near Bird Key where they caught Spanish mackerel to 4 pounds, speckled trout to 16″, and ladyfish free lining shrimp.

 

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer  (941) 371-1390
December 1, 2012
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

   Fishing was good this week on the deep grass flats near both passes this week. Speckled trout, mackerel, bluefish, pompano, sea bass, flounder, and ladyfish were caught this week. Pompano are showing up in Big Pass. Tripletail are being caught in the Gulf of Mexico in 30 feet of water. Snook are hitting Rapalas and other plugs in creeks, canals, and rivers.

   Josh Koritz from St Louis, MO and his 19 year old son Alex started the week off in fine fashion. We left Ken Thompson Park and ran out to New Pass where there had been a bunch on Spanish mackerel. I was surprised to find a big swell and it was pretty "sporty". We put a half diozen Spanish in the box using gold Cotee jigs and Rapala X-Raps then decided it was just too rough. As I idled to the Middlegrounds I noticed some bait "dimpling" on the surface. A couple of tosses of the net resulted in a vwell full of VERY nice pilchards. It was slick calm and the free lined live bait produced some exciting bites, sometimes chasing the pilchards completely out of the water and eating them in mid air! They caught 15 or so macks to 3 pounds and several trout and ladyfish. The tide quit and the bite slowed so we ran to a flat near Bird Key and Josh caught a 20" speckled trout and they both landed snaller trout and ladyfish.

   I spent a few hours in the Myakka River inside the state park on Tuesday. My target was bream but the river was ate up with tilapia! They are an invasive species and anglers are required by law to remove them. The good news is that they are fabulous eating with snow white tender filets. I put 8 fat ones in the coller using live worms, great fun on 4 lb test. I also caught shellcracker, bluegill, and brown bullhead.

   I fished the tidal portion of the Myakka River later in the week. Cooler temperatures have resulted in snook migrating up the river. These fish are pretty active and will eat plugs and jigs. 30" snook are caught often and fish to 40" are not uncommon.

 

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer  (941) 371-1390
November 24, 2012
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

   Fishing was very good this Thanksgiving week. Early in the week ladyfish were everywhere then thinned out as the water cooled off. Spanish mackerel and bluefish bit good later in the week. Species count for the week was speckled trout to 18″, Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, bluefish to 3 pounds, black sea bass, flounder, gag grouper, ladyfish, sailcats, and a small permit. Gold Cotee jigs, Gulp! Shrimp, Rapalas, and live bait caught the fish. Best spots were the passes and nearby flats.

   On Monday long time client and friend Tom Hyser from Cambridge, MD had a good day on a variety of species including speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, black sea bass, flounder, gag grouper, and ladyfish using gold Cotee jigs, Gulp! Shrimp, and pilchards. We started off at the Radio Tower catching sea bass and ladyfish, then moved to New Pass where ladyfish were thick with some Spanish mackerel mixed in. We took a ride out in the Gulf in search of breaking fish but there wasn’t much going on so we came in Big Pass and caught more ladyfish. A move to the deep flats and free lining pilchards resulted in flounder to 16″, trout, mackerel, and ladyfish.

   Sandy and Bruce Borders from Indianapolis, IN caught a TON of big ladyfish at Marker #5, the Yacht Club Channel, and Big Pass using glow Gulp! Shrimp on Tuesday. They also caught several speckled trout, two big sailcats, flounder, and sea bass.

   Gina and Jason Sroga and their two children Calvin (13) and Sadie (9) from Woodbury, MN had a terrific trip on Wednesday! Action was virtually non-stop all morning, I don’t think five minutes went by without a fish. Ladyfish were thick at the Middlegrounds and hit gold Cotee jigs and free-lined live shrimp. They also caught several speckled trout and bluefish. Jason really wanted a few fish for dinner so we left them biting and went to the Radio Tower where a nice sea bass and a 17″ trout were put in the box. I hit one more trout spot on the way in near Bird Key and they caught four more slot trout on live shrimp. A ton of fish were caught and so was dinner!

   Conditions were a little tough for Joe Segobiano and his son Lucas from St. Charles, IL on Thursday. It was blowing hard out of the north at first light and we tried fishing the middlegrounds, it was just too rough. Several drifts at the Radio Tower resulted in two sea bass in the cooler and several ladyfish releases using Gulp! Shrimp. A move to the deep flats near Big Pass and switching to live shrimp got us out of the wind and action was steady on speckled trout, ladyfish, and a nice Spanish mackerel. We finished up in Big Pass with some big ladyfish.

   Jeff Wilson and his son Glenn (12) from Wilmington, NC and Scott Tilton from Minneapolis, MN got into a hot Spanish mackerel bite in New Pass on Friday morning. We started off at the Middlegrounds catching sea bass, ladyfish, and bluefish on gold Cotee jigs, but action was sporadic. We moved to New Pass and trolled Rapala X-Raps to locate the macks, then killed the engine and drifted back through the fish casting plugs and jigs. X-Raps accounted for exciting strikes and most of the fish. We finished up at Marker #5 and Big Pass catching bluefish, ladyfish, and a small permit on jigs

Capt. Jim Klopfer  (941) 371-1390
November 17, 2012
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

   Fishing was VERY good this week as the weather settled into a predictable pattern of light northeast winds. Both passes and the nearby deep grass flats provided good action on Spanish mackerel and bluefish to 4 pounds, black sea bass, pompano, speckled trout (mostly small) and loads of BIG ladyfish. Gold Cotee jigs, #8 Rapala X-Raps, and flies were the most productive baits on my charters. Early in the week the inshore Gulf of Mexico was one giant school of mackerel, but later in the week they did not show as well. Still, action was found blind casting in the passes and working the artificial reefs off of Lido Key. We spent a little time on the false albacore but found them to be fussy.

   I had a great trip on Monday morning with long time client Dr. Francis Sacco from San Martin, CA. We idled out of the ramp at Ken Thompson Park to find a bunch of breaking fish. They turned out to be ladyfish, so after catching a few on Cotee jigs we moved into New Pass. Once again, fish were busting all over the place. Francis caught several Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds on a Rapala X-Rap then switched to the fly rod and caught a dozen more on various flies. We moved out to the inshore Gulf and mackerel and birds were everywhere. We caught several mackerel while trying to hook a false albacore. We got on a nice bunch of albies but could not get them to bite. We came back in and finished up at the middlegrounds catching mackerel, big bluefish, and a mack on jigs.

   Indiana boys R.H. Bennett, Evan Chastain, Jared Green and Ryan Kemp were down for Evan’s wedding and went out fishing on Wednesday. They did well on Spanish mackerel and ladyfish in New Pass using X-Raps and live shrimp. We put a dozen macks in the box for dinner and finished up at the Radio Tower catching big bluefish, ladyfish, trout, and a pompano on free lined shrimp. I got to keep the pomp for MY dinner!

   Sarasota resident Doc Dojutrek caught a bunch of ladyfish along with Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, black sea bass, speckled trout and bluefish on Cotee jigs and Gulp! Shrimp in New Pass and at the Radio Tower, Middlegrounds, and Stephen’s Pt. We also fished an inshore artificial reef and caught flounder and a 25″ gag grouper on the Gulp!

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer  (941) 371-1390
November 10, 2012
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

   Fishing in the inshore Gulf of Mexico was very good early in the week before the front moved through. Spanish mackerel to 4 pounds were feeding near the beach. East winds are forecast for the upcoming week and hopefully this action will resume along with some big king mackerel and bonita. It was breezy on Wednesday and Thursday and fishing was fair on the east side of the bay and in the Yacht Club Channel. Speckled trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, black sea bass, and ladyfish hit gold Cotee jigs and live shrimp.

   Snook are starting to move up into the rivers and creeks and are being caught on Rapalas and soft plastic baits. The water level in the Myakka River is perfect in both the tidal portion and the stretch in the state park. I offer a unique angling experience for these gamefish in the cooler months. It is a "quality over quantity" deal, but every trip gives anglers the opportunity to land a trophy fish, and the scenery is spectacular! On Saturday afternoon I did a little scouting and landed a snook estimated at ten pounds. Snook and bass are biting in the lower section and bluegill, bass, and catfish are available up-river.

   Bob Stack and treated his father-in-law and brother-in-law to a trip on Friday afternoon. We fished Stephen's Pt, Bishop's Pt., and the Moorings and although we did not catch a lot of fish, they landed some quality fish. Spanish mackerel to nearly 4 pounds, keeper speckled trout, and big ladyfish hit live shrimp, pilchards, and Gulp! Shrimp.

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
October 20, 2012
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing remained excellent in Sarasota Bay near Big Pass and in Robert's Bay. Bait is plentiful and easy to catch, so I have been loading up and chumming with very good results. The deep flats near Big Pass continue to produce good numbers of Spanish mackerel, along with speckled trout, jack crevelle, bluefish, ladyfish, gag grouper, sea bass, mangrove snapper, and other species. The docks and mangrove shorelines in Robert's Bay are producing increasing numbers of snook along with big jacks and redfish.  Spanish and king mackerel along with sharks and false albacore are hitting in the inshore Gulf of Mexico.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
October 13, 2012
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing was excellent in both salt and fresh water this week. Action on the deep flats was outstanding for speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, two pound jacks, ladyfish, snapper, gag grouper, black sea bass, big sailcats, and other species. Snook, redfish, jacks, sheepshead and a gar were caught in Robert's Bay. My wife Christine Klopfer and I went out to Myakka Lake on Sunday morning. Fishing was fair, we caught crappie, bluegill, and bullhead using black Beetlespins. For an hour or so we had a manatee following us and kept rubbing his back on the bottom of the boat. Then on Monday a client caught sheepshead on whitebait and a 4' gar in Phillippi Creek. Strange. Bluegill action was very good later in the week using black Beetlespins and flies.

 

 

Capt. Jim Klopfer
October 6, 2012
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing continues to be good on the deep grass flats in Sarasota Bay, particularly near the passes. Bait is thick on the bars and shallow grass. Clients caught speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, jacks, snapper and more using flies and live bait fish. Spanish mackerel are out on the beach but the false albacore action has slowed. Snook, snapper, and jacks hit big pilchards in Robert's Bay.

Capt. Jim Klopfer
September 29, 2012
Sarasota – Saltwater Fishing Report

Fishing remains very good in Sarasota Bay near Big Pass on a variety of species. Speckled trout and Spanish mackerel lead the way with ladyfish, jacks, sea bass, sharks, snapper, and grouper also being caught using live and artificial bait. Snook are hitting Rapalas at first light on the bottom of the outgoing tide near Stickney Pt. Action on the beach slowed a bit as the water temperature rose but there are still a lot of mackerel and some false albacore near Point of Rocks. One good front should really kick it into gear! Freshwater fishing has been good in the lakes for bass, speckled perch (crappie), and bluegill.

 

September 16, 2012

   Fishing was very good this week in Sarasota Bay, the inshore Gulf of Mexico, and in freshwater. Speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, jack crevelle, flounder, snapper, ladyfish, and more were caught on the deep grass flats using live bait and artificial lures. Docks, oyster bars, and mangrove shorelines in Robert's Bay are producing snook, redfish, snapper, and jacks. Rapala plugs produced at first light and live pilchards and hand-picked shrimp worked better later in the morning.

   Spanish mackerel and false albacore are working on the surface in the inshore Gulf of Mexico and hit flies, plugs, and silver spoons.  Gag grouper are being caught quite close to shore on reefs and ledges, live pinfish work best.  Mangrove snapper are migrating out to the near shore ledges and like pilchards and shrimp.


 

September 9, 2012

   The water cleared up this week as the remnants of Isaac moved on. Fishing rebounded, too. Specked trout are thick on the deep flats all throughout Sarasota Bay from Big Pass north to Long Bar. Jacks, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, sea bass, flounder, mangrove snapper, gag grouper, and more hit live bait, Rapalas, and jigs. Snook fishing is improving each week as they move back in the bays. Nothing beats a large live pilchard for line-siders!

   The baitfish showed up in large numbers on the beach and the Spanish mackerel were right on their tails. Macks are plentiful at the mouths of the passes, Point of Rocks, and the inshore artificial reefs off of Lido Key. Forecasted west winds will put a damper on that early in the week.

   I do a fair amount of freshwater fishing this time of year. This week I went out to Lake Manatee once and Upper Myakka Lake twice. We did best at Manatee using tiny gold Rapalas, catching bass to 2 pounds, crappie (specks) to 12", and bluegill to 6". Black Beetlespins were the ticket at Myakka (though I did catch a few fly fishing with a #8 gold/charteuse streamer) and casting them to the edges of grass beds resulted in bass to 3 pounds, crappie to 12", bluegill, stumpknocker, shellcracker, and warmouth to 8".

 

 

September 2, 2012

 Tropical storm Isaac put a damper on fishing this week. I did get out Sunday morning, just ahead of the storm. We did not experience any damage, but strong winds had the Gulf of Mexico churned up and the dirty water is all over the bay. Dirty water from the churned up Gulf made fishing a little slow at the end of the week when winds subsided.  Offshore fishing was shut down.  Speckled trout remain the best bet on the deeper flats while snook fishing in improving as more fish move in off the beach. Excellent fishing should resume this week.

 

August 26, 2012

   Action continued to be outstanding on the deep grass flats in Sarasota Bay near both Big Pass and New Pass.  Threadfin herring and pilchards are abundant and loading the well has been easy.  Chumming with live bait virtually guarantees success.  Speckled trout were the highlight this week, along with Spanish mackerel, gag grouper, mangrove snapper, black sea bass, jacks, ladyfish, and more!  Casting jigs and Gulp! Shrimp at first light was also productive.

   Redfish are schooling up in North sarasota Bay near Whale Key and Long Bar.  Soft plastics, weedless spoons, and topwater plugs work well.  Snook and above average trout will also be found in the pot holes. Snook, smaller reds, and jacks are being caught along mangrove shorelines on the higher tide stages.  Pilchards are the best bet, but artificial lures will catch fish, too.  Snook are still biting under the lighted bridges and docks at night.

   Offshore fishing has beed good for both red and gag grouper, snapper, and sharks from 50' out.  Both cut and live bait fished on the bottom is best.

 

August 19, 2012

   Fishing the deep grass flats In Sarasota Bay was very good this week.  Strong incoming tides helped the bite.  Baitfish are thick on the bars and grass flats, mostly threadfin herring with some pilchards mixed in.  Artificial lures will catch fish early but live bait has been the most productive.  Speckled trout were cooperating, with a good ratio of keepers to short fish.  Spanish mackerel were also reliable, we averaged ten or so each trip.  Ladyfish and jacks also kept the rods bent.  Some good sized mangrove snapper were also caught, along with black sea bass.

   Snook and redfish were caught under docks and along mangrove shorelines, particularly on the higher tide stages.  Scented soft plastics and live bait worked best.  Mangrove snapper and jacks also kept anglers busy.  Snook fishing under the lighted docks and bridges is still a good option.  Small white flies and jigs along will free lined live shrimp work well.

   Grouper fishing has been good offshore on live bottom and ledges in both shallow and deep water, though the deeper spots were more reliable.  Spanish mackerel were spotty and some large Key West grunts were put on ice.  Live pinfish work great for grouper while frozen sardines and live shrimp are best for snappers.

 

 

August 12, 2012

   The strategy to cast lures and flies at first light to take advantage of the early morning bite then switching to live bait when the action slowed has been extremely productive on my charters this week.  Baitfish are thick on the grass flats and very easy to catch, even later in the morning.  100 fish trips were the norm.  Species caught this week on the flats near Big Sarasota Pass, New Pass, and along Siesta Key in Robert's Bay include snook to 20" ,redfish to 22", speckled trout to 24", Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds, jack crevelle in the 2 pound range, mangrove snapper to 13", sea bass to 12", gag grouper, flounder, tons of ladyfish, several 3' bonnetthead sharks, a 2 pound bluefish, and a barracuda.  Great week of fishing and the action should continue as we have excellent tides in the upcoming week!

   Redfish and snook are hitting under docks and along mangrove shorelines south of Siesta Drive.  The shallow flats in North Sarasota Bay have also been producing reds, snook, and decent trout..  Pilchards and soft plastics are the best baits.  Night fishing remains steady for snook.

   Offshore action was good for both red and gag grouper.  The weather has been favorable with light winds and few storms.

 

August 4, 2012

 Catch of the week goes to Russell archer who landed a 32" redfish on his last cast Wednesday morning. It was a great battle on a light spinning rod! Other species caught this week were snook, speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, jack crevelle, mangrove snapper, shark, sea bass, ladyfish and more. I started most trips casting Gulp! Shrimp, jigs, and flies and if the action wasn't fast enough I made the switch to live bait. A well full of threadfins and pilchards practically guarantees success. Action varies from steady to non-stop. The average is around 30 fish per person. The deep grass flats near both passes are all producing plenty of fish.

   Snook are hitting very well under the lights at night.  This is also a good way to escape the heat and sun.  There are a lot of speckled trout in the lights, too.  Redfish are scattered along the mangrove shorelines, most are at the small end of the slot but there are some nice ones mixed in, along with snook.  Redfish are beginning to school up in North Sarasota Bay near Long Bar.

   Offshore fishing had been good for a variety of species.  Both red and gag griouper, mangrove snapper, lane snapper, Key West grunts, porgies, and more are taking live and frozen bait fished on the bottom.  Mackerel, false albacore, and dolphin are taking baits near the surface.

July 28, 2012

   Fishing was good once again this week, particularly towards the end as tides improved. The best pattern was to cast jigs at first light then switch to live bait when the action slowed.  Also, while the baitfish is small, it is abundant and just large enough not to get “gilled” in the net. Chumming with live or fresh dead threadfins and pilchards will bring the fish right up to the boat and keep the action going later in the morning when the fish sometimes quit hitting lures. Once the fish were “lit up” behind the boat, anglers caught speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, jacks, mangrove snapper, sea bass, ladyfish and more using live bait, jigs, and flies. The Moorings, Bishop's Pt., middlegrounds, Radio Tower, and Marina Jacks were all productive spots.

   Snook are still pleasing anglers on the local beaches.  West winds have made sight fishing difficult, but blind casting jigs and plugs is producing, as is live bait.  Structure in and around the passes is also holding snook.  Working the mangroves at high tide is prodcung reds in the 16"-22" range.  Soft plastics and weedless gold spoons worked best.  The larger reds are beginning to school up in North Sarasota Bay near Long Bar and Whale Key.

   Grouper fishing has been very good but does require a run out to deeper water.  Both red and gag grouper are cooperating in 100' and deeper.  Live pinfish and frozen sardines are the best baits.  Mangrove snapper are conspicously absent.

 

July 21, 2012

   Speckled trout fishing was very good this week, particularly early in the week when tides were more favorable.  Deep flats in Sarasota Bay from Big Pass north to Long Bar are producing plenty of slot sized specks using jigs and live bait.  Water temperatures inched up a few degrees resulting in less Spanish mackerel.  Bluefish, sea bass, jacks, ladyfish, mangrove snapper, and small sharks were also caught this week.

   Snook are moving back into Sarasota Bay and Robert's Bay.  Recent rains have helped get the snook biting.  Creek and canal mouths are goos at first light on an outgoing tide for anglers casting plugs and jigs.  Reds were caught along mangrove shorelines on scented soft plastics.  They are beginning to school up in the north bay near Long Bar.

   Tarpon fishing is pretty much over on the beach and the snook are thinning out.  Spanish mackerel are hit-and-miss on the inshore artificial reefs.

   Mangrove snapper, porgies, flounder, and grunts are pleasing bottom fishermen in 50'.  The best action on grouper has been out 40 miles or so, the fishing has been terrific!  It is a long ride, so be prudent.  Red snapper is closed.

July 14, 2012

   Inshore fishing continues to be excellent on the deep grass flats from Big Sarasota Pass north to Longboat Pass.  Live bait and jigs are producing plenty of speckled trout, with a decent amount of fish being in the slot.  Spanish mackerel showed up this week in decent numbers and are being caught in the same spots.  Chumming with live bait was the most productive techniques for mackerel.  Ladyfish, jacks, bluefish, snapper, and sharks were also caught.

   Snook are moving off of the beaches, into the passes and nearby mangrove shorelines.  The night snook bite has been very good!  Redfish are starting to school up in North sarasota Bay near Whale key.  Docks in Roberts Bay are producing mangrove snapper, snook, flounder, and redfish.

   Tarpon have thinned out considerably on the beaches.  Fly anglers are scoring on the bars and live bait is catching a few in the passes.

   Red grouper and gag grouper fishing has been very good in 100' and deeper.  Red snapper are a bit further out.  Live and cut bait were effective.

July 7, 2012

   Fishing rebounded this week as the water settled down and cleared up.  The passes are still a bit cloudy but the flats north of New Pass have clean, pretty water, and that has been the most productive area.  Speckled trout are hitting jigs and live bait in 4'-8' of water.  Jacks, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, sea bass, snapper, flounder, and ladyfish are also being caught.

   Large redfish are beginning to school up in north Sarasota Bay near Long Bar and Tidy Island.  Some of the fish are deep, in 6' of water, which is unusual.  Jigs, plugs, and live bait will fool them.  Smaller reds are being caught south of Siesta Drive to Blackburn Pt.  Oyster bars and docks are prime cover.

   Snook fishing on the beaches has been very good this week!  White flies and lures were top producers.  East winds are helping to clear up the water.  Night snook fishing was dfecent.

   Tarpon showed up in good numbers this week, but did not bite all that well.  Most bait shops are no longer carrying crabs, so pinfish and threadfins are the best bet.

   Offshore, gag grouper are now back in season and are eating live baitfish on limestone ledges.  Red grouper are an option, as are red snapper, though the best fishing has been in fairly deep water, over 100'.

June 30, 2012

   Tropical Storm Debby made a mess of things this week.  Tarpon fishing has been shut down all week.  The surf is subsiding but the water near shore is extremely muddy.  Hopefully things will settle down after the 4th and we will get several more weeks of tarpon fishing.

   Inshore, heavy rain water run-off resulted in an infusion of fresh water, too much fresh water.  Most of Sarasota Bay looks like iced tea.  There is an area on the west side from Country Club Shores north to Buttonwood Harbor that has decent looking water and good fishing, mostly for speckled trout.  Bait fish are pretty difficult to locate and the shrimp are tiny, so a switch to lures was in order.  Gulp! Shrimp and D.O.A. CAL jigs produced good trout action along with jacks, bluefish, small mackerel, flounder, and sea bass.

  Snook are one fish that actually like a little fresh water.  Night fishing around the bridges was decent.  For numbers, a small white fly is best, but plugs, jigs, D.O.A. Shrimp and live shrimp were also productive.  Topwater and shallow diving plugs worked at dusk and dawn.

  Not much to report on the offshore fishing due to Debby.

 

June 23, 2012

Fishing the deep grass flats near the passes continues to be the most reliable fishing option.  Speckled trout, silver trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jacks, snapper, ladyfish, sea bass, sharks, and pompano were all caught this week.  Hand-picked shrimp, pinfish, pilchards, and jigs were all effective.  The pilchards are on the small side, but are large enough to use.  Recent rains and overcast skies have the water temperature in the mid to upper 70's.

Mangrove snapper are showing up in decent numbers under docks and around other structure.  Live pilchards will catch more keeper fish than live shrimp will.  Redfish and flounder are mixed in with the mangs.  Redfish are also scattered in the potholes and flats in north Sarasota Bay near Long Bar.

Most of the snook are still out on the beaches.  Action has been very good when conditions were right, but weather has been an issue.  White jigs and flies work well, as does live bait.  There are also plenty of smaller snook under the lighted docks and bridges with some speckled trout mixed in.

Tarpon has been very slow this week.  The new moon coupled with poor conditions resulted in very few fish being seen or caught.  Hopefully there will be one more little run as we come off the moon.

Red grouper continue to be the best bet offshore, though once again weather was a factor.

June 15, 2012

Speckled trout fishing remains very good on the grass flats in 5'-7' of water.  Live hand-picked shrimp, jigs, and pilchards are the best baits.  Spanish mackerel, bluefish, silver trout, sharks, sea bass (some VERY nice ones), gag grouper, flounder, jacks, and ladyfish are all mixed in.  The bait is around, but it is pretty small.  Water temperatures are in the low 80's.  Redfish are being caught under docks and in creeks and canals throughout the area.  Live shrimp and scented soft plastics are the best bet.  flounder, snapper, and snook are also a good possibility when dock fishing.  The potholes in the north bay near Long Bar and Whale Key are also good spots to try for reds.

Snook are out on the beach and in the passes.  Large pilchards are a fantastic bait, but have been difficult to locate.  White bucktail jigs, plugs, and live shrimp and pinfish will also produce.  Fishing at night has been decent for snook, small white flies and jigs work well.  There are a lot of trout in the lights, too.

Tarpon fishing is picking back up as the west winds have subsided.  The best action has been north of Longboat Pass up to Bean Pt. on Anna Maria Island.  So far the season has been sub-par, the weather has really been an issue.

The inshore artificial reefs are holding barracuda, but little else.  This is typical for this time of year.  Red snapper fishing is decent in 125' of water and red grouper action continues to be very good.  Cut baits like frozen sardines work very well.  If the wind is light, drifting is an effective technique, otherwise, anchor on a ledge or wreck.

 

June 7, 2012

Fishing the deep grass flats in Sarasota Bay near both Big Pass and New Pass continues to be very good for speckled trout, silver trout, Spanish mackerel, sharks, sea bass, jacks, bluefish, and ladyfish.  Jigs and live shrimp have been producing the best.  Recent rains have the water stained resulting in cleaner water near the passes.  Baitfish are usually abundant this time of year but have been scarce of late.

Snook and redfish are hitting along bars, docks, and shorelines south of Siesta Drive.  Live shrimp, pilchards, jigs, and plugs all produced.  Mangrove snapper are schooling up though many are small, they should increase in size each week.  The potholes in the north bay from the Moorings to Long Bar have also been productive.

The inshore Gulf of Mexico has been shut down for a week or so.  Strong southwest winds have resulted in poor conditions for both snook and tarpon.  The wind is forecast to turn east this weekend and the situation should improve.

Red snapper opened on June 1, but winds kept anglers at home.  Those that did venture out found fair action in 110' of water and deeper.  Red grouper are picking up the slack, they are hitting cut baits well on ledges and "Swiss cheese" bottom in 80' and deeper.

May 31, 2012

Speckled trout and silver trout action continues to be excellent on the flats all throughout the area.  Live shrimp and jigs worked well in deep water while topwater plugs produced in shallow water on morning high tides.  Spanish mackerel and bluefish were caught at the middlegrounds and Radio tower flats.  The occassional shark is also showing up.  Buttonwood Harbor and Stephen's Pt were also good spots.

Snook are being caught along mangrove shorelines from Siesta Drive south to Blackburn Pt.  Live shrimp, pilchards, and soft plastic baits worked the best.  Most of the fish are small.  Redfish, jacks, and trout were also taken in the same areas.

Beach fishing for snook and tarpon was very good, up until Monday.  A change to strong west winds made for tough conditions for both species.  Action should pick up when the wind turns back east and the water clears up.

Offshore action continues to be fair.  Again, breezy conditions are making for tough fishing.  The water temperature is near 80, pushing fish into deeper water.  Red grouper in 80'-100' is the best bet.

May 22, 2012

Action on the deep flats has been outstanding of late on speckled and silver trout using live shrimp and jigs.  The deep flats all through out the bay are producing.  Angling pressure is light with most of the guides out tarpon fishing.  Spanish mackerel, jacks, bluefish, pompano, sea bass, and ladyfish are also common catches.  The best bet for redfish has been the shallow flats in north Sarasota Bay near Long bar and Whale Key.  Some smaller reds are being caught in Robert's Bay on the higher tide stages.

Snook are plentiful out on the area beaches.  Live shrimp, pilchards, white bucktail jigs and flies are all producing.  Mornings with an east wind and incoming tide are best.  Night snook fishing has been decent from Osprety south to Venice in the Intracoastal Waterway.

Tarpon are thick off the Sarasota beaches, but they are not biting all that well.  Still, persistent anglers will score on live crabs and bait fish such as pinfish and threadfins.  A little rain should help get the bite going.  Numbers will increase as we come up on the full moon.

Offshore fishing has been fair.  King and Spanish mackerel are around, but in diminishing numbers.  Grouper are moving offshore as the water temperature rises.

 

 

May 12, 2012

Large speckled trout were caught on both shallow and deep flats this week, they seem to be moving around quite a bit.  Slot trout were reliable on the deep flats, along with the occassional pompano, mackerel, and plenty of ladyfish.  Schools of one pound jack crevelle are roaming about, too.  Shrimp, pilchards, pinfish, and jigs are the top baits.

Snook are showing up in big numbers out on the beach, some of them are quite large.  This is a great opportunity for anglers without a boat to catch a nice fish on light tackle.  Plenty of snook are still in the bays but the average size is a bit smaller.  Jack crevelle to 8 pounds were caught around docks and mangroves along Siesta Key.  Redfish were reliable in the pot holes in North Sarasota Bay and along docks in Robert's Bay.

Tarpon numbers are increasing daily, however a bit of west wind put a damper on fishing, but it is shaping up to be a great season.

King mackerel and Spanish are on the M reefs, but their numbers are diminishing.  Free lining or slow trolling live baits was the most productive technique.

Red grouper and Key West grunts were caught by bottom fishermen using sardines, shrimp, and cut bait.

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May 04, 2012

The inshore fishing is in a bit of a transitional period right now.  The large trout have thinned out in shallow water, replaced by redfish.  Speckled trout are plentiful on the deep flats, although most are in the 14" range, along with plenty of ladyfish.  Spanish mackerel are around, but not in big numbers.

Snook are migrating out of the bays and onto the beach.  There are still some snook being caught along the mangroves, but the numbers are down, along with some nice jack crevelle.  Pilchards are the best bait.

Tarpon are showing up in the inshore Gulf of Mexico, although breezy conditions are hampering the fishing.  Action should be good following tonights full moon.

King mackerel are hitting live sardines and blue runners over the artificial reefs and ledges in 50' of water.

Red grouper and mangrove snapper fishing is decent in 60' on out, along with catch and release gag grouper.

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April 24, 2012

Fishing was excellent before a severe cold front with high winds shut down fishing over the weekend.  Speckled trout continue to be caught in good numbers on both the deep and shallow flats on both live and artificial baits.  South winds resulted in VERY high tides, which made locating redfish difficult, athough they bit well once found.

The snook bite is steady, though not spectacular.  Plugs early in the morning or evening and live pilchards during the day were the most productive.

The inshore Gulf was decent before the blow.  Kings are thinning out but Spanish are still co-operating on the reefs in 40-60 feet.  The inshore Gulf is relatively quiet, but that should change shortly as the first wave of tarpon move in.

Red grouper are consistent in 80' using sardines and cut bait.

Largemouth bass are fairly active in the Myakka River, hitting Rapalas and soft plastic baits.  We landed a small tarpon on a golden bream jerk bait.  Tilapia are thick and taking worms and tiny jigs.

April 14, 2012

The large trout are still available in shallow water, especially up in the north bay, although numbers are dropping.  Redfish action is steady on the west side.

Trout, Spanish mackerel, pompano, blues, and ladyfish are available on the deep flats using jigs and live bait.

Snook fishing continues to be good using pilchards during the day.  Night fishing is producing 20 fish per trip on average.

The inshore Gulf continues to be slow, except for the early arriving tarpon that are starting to show up.

King and spanish mackerel are active on M-3, M-5, and M-7.

Red grouper, snapper, and grunts are filling the boxes for bottom fishermen in 40' to 80' of water.  Frozen sardines are producing the best.

April 4, 2012

Large speckled trout continue to dominate the shallow water fishing.  Redfish and snook are also being caught in decent numbers.  Weedless soft plastic baits are producing best.

Slot trout, Spanish mackerel, and a few pompano are the main catches on the deep grass.  Live shrimp, pilchards, and jigs are the best baits.

Snook fishing is steady in Robert's Bay using live pilchards.

The inshore Gulf is surprisingly slow for this time of year, very little surface action.

Kingfish action has really picked up over the inshore reefs in 40'-60' of water.  Slow trolling blue runners has produced the largest fish.

Red grouper are back in and eating good in depths from 60' on out.

March 20, 2012

Anglers targeting shallow water potholes are catching some VERY nice speckled trout in north Sarasota Bay on soft plastic baits and topwater plugs.  Redfish are scattered and snook are moving out towards the passes.  Night snook fishing has been good.

The deep grass flats are producing speckled trout in decent numbers along with Spanish mackerel and pompano.  Jigs, shrimp, and pilchards are the best bets.

Action in the inshore Gulf of Mexico is spotty but should break loose any day now.  Spanish are available along with scattered kingfish.  No sign of false albacore yet.

The mid range reefs are producing both king and Spanish mackerel on trolled spoons, plugs, and live blue runners.

Offshore anglers are targeting amberjack and snapper, due to both red and gag grouper being closed.

Freshwater fishing is a little tough due to extremely low water levels.  Fish are ganged up in deep holes on outside bends in the river channel.  Snook seem to have moved out in large part.

 

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