GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of the local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Frank Sargeant.
The weather is likely to dictate fishing in the next week. Currently, Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to move slowly and give us a sunny weekend, which likely will bring normal fishing patterns. By late Sunday or early Monday, though, we'll see at least the first impacts of the bad weather.
This is not all bad news. There's often a great bite just ahead of a storm.
Sustained winds and cloudy weather often turn on the bite in shallow areas such as Pine Island Sound, Turtle Bay, Bull Bay, Sarasota Bay and Terra Ceia, among others. Look for points that jut into the wind-driven current and areas where strong flows hit a deep mangrove shoreline. Snook and redfish particularly feed in these conditions. Of course, be aware that strong bands of dangerous winds can come through at any time as the storm approaches, so take care near open water.
Captain Mike Shellen reported from Okeechobee that anglers catching the better quality bass are flipping and pitching, with a jig and trailer or a creature bait. The bigger fish are holding in the heavier cover, he said.
"It is possible to catch bass all day long, but flipping is hard, tedious work and requires even more patience than most other techniques," Shellen said. "A heavy-duty 7-foot, 6-inch flipping stick with 65-pound braided line and a heavy bait is necessary to punch through some of the matted vegetation to get to the fish."
The North Shore, Kings Bar and Buckhead Ridge are all areas to search. Shellen also said that topwaters and spinnerbaits catch plenty of fish in the first two hours of daylight, and that some larger fish are being caught on the outside edges of the Kissimmee grass with unweighted Senkos. For more information visit okeechobeebassfishing.com.
Captain Van Hubbard said there are plenty of Spanish from Venice Inlet to Boca Grande, as well as up inside Charlotte Harbor. Fish them where you see them breaking.
He said the trout bite has been very good, with 30 on his last trip, half more than the minimum 15 inches, most caught on sardines and small pinfish under popping corks. His anglers caught and released 18 snook from 20 to 30 inches long one day this week at Turtle Bay, all on sardines. He has seen some very large snook, but could not get them to eat the small sardines currently available. Visit www.captvan.com for details.