Bradenton Fishing Report

Bradenton Fishing Report

Bradenton Fishing Report

Fishing Report March 7, 2016

By Captain Phil

This is the time of year I look forward to the most for fishing.  After fishing docks for the past few weeks, I’m ready to hit the flats again.  I usually fish docks and structure during the winter, using shrimp instead of bait fish.  The fish have a lower metabolism due to lower water temperatures and usually don’t want to chase anything.  Trout and snapper may be exceptions, but for Redfish and Snook, I’ve found this to be true.  While dropping shrimp under docks, the main catch is sheepshead, Redfish, and Black Drum, with the occasional Snook and Flounder.   Fishing the grass flats during the winter can produce trout, but the Redfish and Snook are not as prevalent.

Now that the water temperature is rising, Snook , Redfish, and Trout are becoming more active and can be found in more areas.  They will chase a bait fish, and are much more aggressive.  They will still eat shrimp, but this is when you can fill a live well with Shiners (Pilchards), and throw some into an area where fish are seen, or expected to be, and watch as the fish get into a feeding frenzy.  Put one bait fish on your hook and get ready to have your drag tested.

Wade fishing can be very effective during this time of year.  When the water temp isn’t quite 70 in the morning, the fish sometimes move into shallow water where it can warm quicker.  Although the fish seem to spook easier when they’re in shallow water, they will eat, and wading slowly and silently allows you to get closer to them to increase your chances.  Look and cast at any pot holes you see while walking through the grass, and look for any drop off areas that they might be sitting in, just waiting for some unsuspecting bait to swim over head.  If you spot fish in very shallow waters, casting ahead of them may help you hook them instead of just spooking them.

Just this past week, I pulled up on a school of 30 to 50 Redfish that were all in 2 feet or less water depth, and saw many Snook in shallow water as well.  While moving across one particular flat where the Redfish were, I noticed several large Trout were in the same area, some sitting in small depressions that were only 12 to 18 inches deep.  Most of these trout were over 20 inches and many of the Redfish were over 27 inches.  Snook, Trout, and Redfish were caught, as well as a couple Sheepshead and Founder, and its only gonna get better.

Fishing Report September 27 2015

Be aware of hitchhiking rays when boating


Kyle Dawson was enjoying a day of fishing with his girlfriend’s uncle last Sunday when the uneventful trip became one he would never forget. Dawson was chasing schools of redfish around Joe Bay when he decided to travel across Tampa Bay to fish at Ft. Desoto.

“We were running parallel to the Sunshine Skyway and we were close to the middle of the bridge,” Dawson described, “when about 25 feet in front of the boat, I saw an eagle ray jump. I quickly thought to myself ‘I hope there isn’t another one’, and no sooner than I thought that, a second jumped right about 8 feet into the air in front of the boat.”

Going 40-miles per hour in his Pathfinder, Dawson’s attempt to slow down by pulling back the throttle was too late. As the spotted eagle ray hit the apex of its jump, there was no avoiding a collision. Dawson hid behind the wheel as the ray slammed into the left side of the center console before it was hurled into the leaning post and nearly split in half.

The aftermath resembled a horror movie as blood covered the back of the boat. “The boat took it pretty well, but the console had damage. There was blood and feces everywhere. It’s intestines were ripped open,” Dawson said. “It weighed about 80 pounds and getting a grip on it to get it out of the boat was difficult.”

Dawson waved down a neighboring boat that had a gaff to aid in getting the ray overboard, where it barely swam away.

“We sat there and took it all in, realizing how lucky we were, and how it could have been worse.”

Worse indeed. Incidents between rays and boaters, although rare, have been fatal in the past. An accident in 2008 killed a woman in the Florida Keys after a 75-pound spotted eagle ray hit her in the head in a boat going 25 MPH. In 2006, “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin was killed while swimming with a spotted eagle ray when its barb pierced his heart.

A week before Dawson’s incident, a boater in Southwest Florida was hit by a smaller spotted eagle ray that sent him to the hospital with broken ribs after breaking the grab rail off of his console.

“It was something I thought could happen but never really imagined it would. I posted it on Facebook and three people sent me messages with their stories about how the same thing happened to them.”

The eagle ray casualty left a mess Dawson had to deal with when the day was done.

“I didn’t have a brush on the boat so all the blood was dry when I got home. I spent two hours cleaning everything off and it still needs a detailing.”
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Fishing Report September 25 2015

Rep. Jolly introduces bill that could lead to a longer Red Snapper fishing season

Seminole, FL – Congressman David Jolly (FL-13) has introduced legislation that will lead to a more accurate count of Red Snapper and other reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico.  The bill, called the Gulf Red Snapper Data Improvement Act, will allow for third-party data collection of fish populations to be used for federal stock assessments, which could ultimately lead to longer Red Snapper fishing seasons for the recreational sectors.

“Many in the fishing community, from private anglers, to charter, to commercial, have questioned the government’s stock assessments. My bill will give each of them a seat at the table. Third-party data collection will expand the information available to the government, particularly Red Snapper, and improve the data used to determine fishing seasons,” Jolly said.

The Gulf Red Snapper Data Improvement Act designates $10 million annually for third-party data collection of Gulf Red Snapper and other Gulf reef species.  The data collection program will be managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Southeast Regional Office located in St. Petersburg, Florida.

“This will improve our knowledge of fisheries stocks and if the research shows a larger fish population than the government suggests, this will open the door for a longer fishing season for species like Red Snapper. And a longer Snapper season is an economic and quality of life win throughout our community, positively impacting everyone from local scientists committed to the protection of fish populations, to recreational anglers, to charter operators, to businesses that depend on fishing tourism like hotel and restaurant operators,” Jolly noted.

A member of the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, Jolly was able to secure similar language in the Fiscal Year 2016 House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice,Science and Related Agencies Bill earlier this year.


Fishing Report July 23 2015

Inshore fishing gets a little more difficult now that the water has reached at or near 90 degrees.  Early morning and late evening are a little easier to catch numbers of fish.  Catching trout in deeper grass flats, 5 to 6 feet should produce a larger number of fish.  There have been bluefish, ladyfish, and jacks mixed in with some of the trout attacking large schools of bait. Redfish are not everywhere right now, but they can be found under some deeper mangroves and on a few flats.  Pinfish are usually a good choice to entice them in the summer. There have been plenty of snook around, they have been eating pilchards, pinfish, and pigfish and are more inclined to bite on a moving tide, or in moving water.Snapper have been biting pretty well, and can be found around docks, on rock piles, and any structure.  We’ve been catching some nice sized flounder while fishing some of the rocks for snapper, as well as a bunch of undersized red and gag grouper.


According to Captain Kyle Taylor May 2015

has been very productive, especially the Tarpon bite. We have jumped over 100 fish this past month and look for June to be just as impressive. The bite has been the best at the tide change near Bean Point and we still have been pretty successfully out at the bigger bridges in the Bay. Inshore, the Snook bite has remained strong with most fish being caught when the tide is moving at ambush points on the flats around small passes and creeks. Most of the fish are around the 25″ mark but we did manage to land several lager fish this past month along with lose a couple of big ones as well. The Redfish bite has been better on the higher part of the tide around deeper edges of mangroves. The Trout bite has picked up at the the end of May and will most likely get better into June with most fish being caught in 3′ – 4′ of spotted grass areas”.


Regarding Bradenton Fishing Report Fly anglers fishing with me on my flats skiff, the “Awestruck”  launched out of Anna Maria Island, continued to have action with tarpon on several trips in the coastal gulf in Sarasota during the week.

We had multiple shots at tarpon with several bites and jumped one. Tarpon were plentiful as we came off a new moon, but a west wind pattern for most of the week made conditions tough due to rough water.

Bradenton Fishing Report

With very challenging conditions, we hooked up with a tarpon on a fly, got four or five jumps and fought the fish for a few minutes before it chewed through his 80-pound bite tippet. Well done!

Tarpon fishing in the coastal gulf should be a good option, especially toward the end of the week when tides improve as we get closer to a full moon. Look for reds, snook and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats and edges of bars. Catch-and-release sight fishing for snook in the surf with flies or DOA Lures also should be a good option. You may also find trout, Spanish mackerel, blues or pompano on deep grass flats, particularly close to passes.




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