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Date of Issue: July 28, 2010

Stink baits fishing key in scorching temperatures

JoAnn Manali, of Holmes Beach, holds a pair of red snapper she caught offshore of Anna Maria Island with Capt. Anthony Manali using dead bait in 130 feet of water using dead bait.

Members of the Anna Maria Island Community Center’s summer fishing camp — held over multiple Saturdays this summer — recently joined Little Toot Charters for a day on the water. Capts. Bob Vita and Randy Stewart anchored the boat near a reef in the Gulf of Mexico so the kids could cast off. Islander Photo: Courtesy Terri Milen

Leah Brown, left and Brent Brown of Bradenton with a reef shark Brent caught using half of an amberjack for bait. The Brown were fishing offshore of Anna Maria Island in about 100 feet of water with Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me the Fish Charters.

The stinkier the better.

Although some big, full moon tides should get inshore fish biting better this week, inshore game fish such as snook, redfish and trout have been somewhat slow to bite and lethargic. The best remedy for this summertime lull is to chuck out oily stink-bait such as cut mullet, ladyfish or a mashed-up a shiner. Let the bait sit in an ideal spot, such as a pot hole, during low tide and redfish, especially, tend to drift toward the scent.

Capt. Mark Howard of SumoTime Fishing Charters said the bait fish have been small, but are getting bigger. Howard said he’s been downsizing his tackle to No. 1 hooks and has been fishing in deeper water. Howard said on a charter last week he saw a ton of sharks in the bay. “I was fishing 3-4 foot drop-offs and sharks were crossing the bar in 6-8 inches of water,” Howard said.

On a positive note, Howard did some scouting in the bays last week and saw some snook where they traditionally are this time of the year. In light of the massive snook kill during the extreme cold weather earlier this year, seeing snook in their traditional spots was encouraging to Howard.

Howard estimated the freeze killed about 80 percent of snook in the area.

Capt. Warren Girle reported fishing a nighttime, negative tide last week and, as water was dumping off the flats, leaving pot holes full of fish, his clients were catching snook from 26- to 29-inch lengths, redfish around 29 inches and trout to 17 inches on cut ladyfish. “We knocked them silly,” he said.

On July 23, he reported that a family fished water depths of 4-5 feet in north Sarasota Bay, catching jack crevalle, bluefish, ladyfish and trout to 18 niches that were ganging up on bait pods. Later in the afternoon, on a high tide, they fished tight to mangroves for redfish to 30 inches.

Girle said offshore, over a 7-mile reef, a charter produced a goliath grouper of 150 pounds, a bunch of sharks, mangrove snapper to 18 inches and a 38-inch cobia.

Annamae Lahay from Corky’s Live Bait, Tackle, & Thrift Shop reported Palma Sola Bay and Sarasota Bay have been holding spotted sea trout and redfish, some of the reds running to 30-plus inches. Also in these waters, fishermen are reporting catching ladyfish, bluefish and some large pinfish. She said the fishermen are having luck with redfish using live shrimp.

Inshore fishermen have reported some nice catches of black drum, flounder, mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel. She said some fishermen are saying the Spanish mackerel are rather picky, some days preferring the silver spoons and the next day only going for gold spoons. “Sounds like the Spanish mackerel like to test the fisherman's patience,” Lahay said.

She reported Longboat Pass is another great spot where fishermen are catching whiting, snook, mangrove snapper, some flounder and shark. “Seems like the sharks are popular wherever one fishes these days,” Lahay said. “Shark are good eating when of the smaller size.”

The tarpon are waning, she said, and there have been hardly any reports of hook ups with the silver kings, except by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. “Seems the fishermen on boats by the Skyway Bridge are seeing some tarpon, but not in the numbers that they were a month ago,” she said. “Spanish mackerel are plentiful in this area some days and other days they have moved elsewhere.”

Ted Pafquantonio from the Rod & Reel Pier said fishing has been slow at the pier. He reported seeing anglers catch about 10 Spanish mackerel daily, a couple mangrove snapper and an occasional black drum. “But there’s a lot of bait fish, snake fish and lizard fish,” he said.

James Followell from the Sunshine Skyway south fishing pier said anglers have caught a few Spanish mackerel, a lot of small grouper to 19 inches and some mangrove snapper. He said he is still seeing tarpon roll under the pier.

Capt. Larry McGuire of Show Me the Fish Charters out of the Cortez Fishing Center said he’s been catching keeper gag grouper 16 miles offshore, along with goliath grouper, mangrove snapper and amberjack.

“I’m still using pinfish,” McGuire said. “That’s my best bait of all. We catch some sand perch and grunts to go along with that, and also squid and sardines. The red snapper bite better on a squid-and-sardine combo.”

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