June 30, 2014
June saw improved action for Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing.
Best fishing took place in southern Tampa Bay where we encountered a variety of species, including snook, spotted seatrout, flounder, jack crevalle, cobia and shark.
Last year, we began shark fishing in Tampa Bay at Fort DeSoto. We tried southern Tampa Bay near Joe Island this month and found slightly larger shark.
At first, I wasn't sure I would offer shark trips for several reasons, mainly kayak stability problems. However, after switching to NuCanoe a couple of months ago, stability is no longer problem. The NuCanoe Frontier 12 is perhaps the most stable hybrid fishing kayak available.
With that in mind, we will offer shark trips for those interested.
What I've found out so far is when we fish around Joe Bay, a variety of fish is readily available. I usually begin casting artificial lures for redfish, snook and trout at dawn. I've hooked snook in excess of 20 pounds in that area.
After a couple of hours, I switch to shark out in front of Joe Island. I've found a small, deep channel that holds good numbers of shark. For shark fishing, I use a conventional reel, Star Rod, 30-pound braided line, wire leader and 9/0 circle hook. I use jack crevalle, ladyfish, grunt or pinfish for bait.
I anchor the kayak, then put the bait out 20 or 30 feet from the kayak. It usually doesn't take long for a shark to home in on the scent and take the bait.
When that happens, I remove the rod from the holder, turn the clicker off, put the reel in gear and hold on. There's no need to set the hook when using a circle hook. Pressure it all it takes. If you set the hook, you're really defeating the purpose and probably won't hook up. Circle hooks usually assure a firm hook-up in the corner of the shark's mouth.
Once a shark is hooked up, we release the anchor and "go for a sleigh ride."
Mind you, I'm not targetting large sharks. For the most part, we're hooking 30 to 80-pound blacktip and other small species.
On two trips, we encountered schools of overslot redfish. These big breeder reds are in excess of 30 inches and will hit most anything cast their way. We caught several fish on topwater plugs.
That's where the NuCanoe Frontier comes in. Because of its stability and superior comfort, we're able to stand for long periods of times -- and that's a must when trying to spot schools of redfish. Often, the only clue to the redfish is a slight color change in the water. You could never see the color change sitting down.
Trout fishing has been very good over deep grass in Tampa Bay. We've been catching trout to 4 pounds on MirrOlure MirrOdines, D.O.A. Shrimp and MirrOlure Lil Johns on light jigs.
Closer to home, Sarasota Bay has been producing fair trout and redfish action. In addition, we've been picking up a few jack crevalle, bluefish and pompano.
Kay Semrod of Sarasota fished with me in Sarasota Bay and caught pompano and ladyfish on MirrOdines off Stephens Point.
If you're interested in sight-fishing for snook in the surf on fly rod, the action has been poor to date. That could change any day. We spent a day walking Manasota Key and another along Casey Key and saw few fish.
In fresh water, we fished Lake Manatee, the Manatee River, Shell Creek and Webb Lake with mixed results. We took good numbers of large bluegill, largemouth bass, stumpknocker, channel catfish and tilapia on nymphs, popping bugs, worm flies and Myakka Minnows.
July forecast: We look for improved beach snook action as the fish go into post-spawn mode. Shark action should continue good in southern Tampa Bay. We also look for good redfish, snook and spotted seatrout in Tampa Bay. Closer to home, spotted seatrout and redfish should be the best bets in Sarasota bay. Night snook fishing should be good around lighted docks on the outgoing tide. It's hot in Florida in July, so a night snook trip is a good way to beat the heat. We love to combine a day/night trip by starting two or three hours before dawn around lighted docks and then heading out into the bay to get the early bite and first light.
I can't wait for you to try the NuCanoe Frontier, the best fishing kayak that I've experienced. In addition to superior stability, the Frontier's 360-degree seat offers superb comfort.
As always, I'd like to thank my sponsors: NuCanoe, D.O.A. Lures, MirrOlure, Aqua-Bound Paddles, Temple Fork Outfitters and Peak Fishing.
Please feel free to call me or email me to book a trip and discuss possibilities.
Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing
@gibby3474 on Twitter
About Steve Gibson:
Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing ownerSteve Gibson is one of the most experienced anglers in southwest Florida. Gibson has been fishing for 45 years and nearly 35 of those years in Florida.
A professional outdoor writer and photographer, Gibson's writing and photographs have appeared in several publications, including Florida Sportsman, Gulf Coast Angler, Fly Fishing in Salt Waters, Saltwater Fly Fishing, The Fisherman, Cabela's Outdoor Magazine, Paddle World Magazine, Blood Knot and Florida Fishing Weekly. Steve is a Jackson Kayaks endorsed guide.
Gibson resides in Sarasota with his wife, Kathy, their daughter, Morgan, and their Jack Russell Terrier, Jack.