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Capt. Bob Smith
Posted: Jan 2 2006, 07:46 PM


January 2, 2006

Sarasota Florida Fishing Report
By Capt. Bob Smith

Happy New Year to you all!

The fishing on the bay has started to stabilize with snook, redfish, bluefish, and sheepshead being the top contenders. Some pompano in the passes and even a few seatrout have been caught. Fishing the docks south of the Siesta key bridge has been the most productive for snook and redfish. I like to drift along the docks casting to and just a little under the dock but never behind a pylon. That could be instant death if you hook-up. When using live shrimp, I like to leave plenty of slack in the line and let it sink to the bottom. Sometimes I use a split-shot to help it sink. When I think it is on the bottom, I will take just enough slack so that I can tell if something moves or taps the shrimp. If nothing happens, I retrieve the shrimp slowly, stopping every few feet. When we do get a pickup, I stop the drift and work that area. Redfish and snook will often feed at only one dock or pylon in the immediate area. Snook sometimes prefer a free-lined swimming shrimp over a shrimp on the bottom. Blackdrum and sheepshead are quick to eat if you get your shrimp close to a pylon. Nothing is carved in stone when fishing but the basics are the place to start.

When fishing under docks and around pylons, letting the fish take line when he first picks up the bait is not an option. You need to pull the fish away from the structure and see that he is moving away before you can let him take line. You can just lock down your drag down to start with and then loosen it if needed when you get him out of the structure. For myself, I prefer a method I call cupping the spool. I set a firm but giving drag. Before setting the hook on a pickup, I keep my rod tip pointed at the fish and take out all the slack line. Then I cup the spool with my left hand and hold it tight when setting the hook while pulling the fish away from the structure. Often just holding the fish back will cause him to take the path of least resistance and come straight at you. When the fish is out of the structure, you only need to open your hand to let him take drag, if needed. Remember not to cast too far under the docks or behind a pylon or nothing will work on a big fish. Your line may break, but it will break a lot faster if it touches any structure.

I use 12# test line with 30#-40# mono leader, 3/0 hook and sometimes a #1 split-shot. If you find some big guys, you’re going to need to beef it up.

Offshore the snapper and grouper have been chewing from the “M” reefs out. Take live shrimp for the snapper. It has been a bit too bumpy for me, but if you can handle the ride you will probably catch some nice fish.

Enjoy & Protect
My Website: http//www.sarasota-fla-fishing.com
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