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Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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Go Fishing: Trout, snapper have been the hot tickets

GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Frank Sargeant.
Captain Ray Markham reports that trout fishing on incoming tides has been good in areas with good water flow. Fort De Soto and the Mullet Key area have some of the best trout fishing, along with the south end of Tampa Bay off Pinellas Point. Topwaters early, soft jerkbaits later in the day — or live sardines at any time — do the job.
Markham said mangrove snapper action remains excellent, with the larger fish on reefs off the beaches as well as rock piles near the ship channels, smaller fish on the shallow hard-bottom areas, all catchable on small sardines, shrimp or squid. He said snook anglers may do best after dark around lighted docks; www.captainraymarkham.com.
On the south end of our region, captain Andy Cotton fishing out of CB Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key reported catching snook, trout, bluefish, jacks and juvenile gag grouper while fishing Sarasota Bay and the surrounding waters with DOA Deadly Combos and CAL jigs with shad tails. His night fly trips around the docks have produced catches of snook.
Captain Van Hubbard reports good action on mangrove snapper on the inside, plus snook near the passes and on the outside edges of the flats, all on live sardines. Hubbard and other members of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association visited Lake Kissimmee and the Kissimmee River and caught bass to 6 pounds on topwaters, plus plenty of specks on live minnows; www.captvan.com.
Also from fresh water, captain Mike Shellen at Okeechobee reports good dawn action on largemouths with spinnerbaits and soft plastic swim baits like the Skinny Dipper.
The east side of the lake has been yielding large numbers of bass for months now, Shellen says, early in the morning on the outside edges and then moving further back into the marsh as the day progresses. Eagle Bay and Grassy Island are both holding large numbers of bass, but there are days when the waves are too large to manage your boat position, so be adjustable in your plans. The Indian Prairie area of the lake is yielding good numbers of fish as well, he said, and a Carolina rig dragged along the outside edges of the Kissimmee grass has been working for anglers willing to use the slower presentation. He said fly-rodders fishing sponge spiders are still loading up on bluegills; www.okeechobeebassfishing.com.
Tribune correspondent Frank Sargeant can be reached at [email protected]
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