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SteveGibson
03-07-2008, 12:19 PM
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New York Jets QB Chad Pennington

Fishing has been good when we’ve been able to get out. The weather is perfect for a few days, then turns bad.
John Donohue of Venice and New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington fished with me recently and we had a decent day in Lemon Bay. We landed three redfish from 24 to 28 inches and lost another red that was pretty big. The action came on spinning gear and jigs – 1/8-ounce Cotee jigs with either CAL Shad tails or 3-inch Berkley Gulp Shrimp.
Chad has fished with me several times and we’ve always caught fish. But this time, we wanted to target redfish, a species he had never caught.
Luckily, he was the first to succeed on the day.
Brad and Tina Thorpe of Colorado joined me for a 6-hour outing on Sarasota Bay. We launched at Whitfield and paddled south. The plan was to just keep the rods bent. Spotted seatrout, jack crevalle, bluefish, pompano, ladyfish and Spanish mackerel had been real plentiful over the deep grass off Stephen’s Point.
Most of the fish had disappeared.
While we didn’t get the number of fish that we expected, we got some real quality fish. Tina landed trout to 24 inches and a 32-inch redfish. Brad scored on trout to 17 or 18 inches, a fine pompano and a 15-pound jack crevalle.
If you’ve never experienced a jack, you don’t know what you’ve been missing. Brad’s fish hit about 20 feet off the sand bar, then headed for the shallows with Brad and kayak in tow. It took about 15 minutes for Brad to subdue the fish.
Saltwater fishing has been decent throughout the area. Large trout and a few reds are prowling the shallows north of Long Bar.
It’s getting the time of year when expeditions to Charlotte Harbor are in order. I like to launch at Placida and fish Whidden Creek. In addition, I’ll launch at Ponce de Leon Park and fish the east side of Charlotte Harbor and its numerous mangrove islands and creek mouths.
I recently fished with Peter Poletti, a fellow kayak guide. We fished the Braden River, launching off State Road 64. It was an exploratory outing more than anything, but we did catch a few snook, mangrove snapper and ladyfish.
Greg Sanchez of Massachusetts fished with me and we had a good day on Sarasota Bay. We caught a variety of fish on fly rods, sinking lines and Clouser Deep Minnow off the east side of Sarasota Bay. We caught spotted seatrout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and ladyfish.
The Braden River off S.R. 64 is beautiful and has a lot of mangrove islands.
Lake Manatee has been hotter than firecracker. Hand-sized bluegill, big speckled perch and bass to 4 pounds have been pounding my Myakka Minnow and No. 12 gold beach nymphs. We target these fish on light fly rods and it’s a lot of fun.
In addition, we’ll usually take one spinning rod along that’s rigged with a hook, split shot and bobber. We’ll catch a few golden shiners over the course of the day and put them out on the rig. We’ll then go back to fly fishing.
Sooner or later, a big old bass or channel catfish will inhale the shiner and the battle is on. The smallest channel cat we’ve landed was 7 pounds. We’ve landed cats up to 20 pounds.
It’s Everglades time. Last trip down, Capt. Al White of Boca on the Fly joined me. Al had never done an Everglades trip or fished for the exotics.
We had a blast. We caught and released oscars to 2 pounds, many bluegill, bass, Mayak cichlids, stumpknocker and gar. In all, we must have caught 200 fish.
That’s typical of the ‘Glades.
If you’ve never experienced oscars or Mayan cichlids, you owe it to yourself. They’re among the strongest and fastest fish in fresh water.
I’m guiding out of a Native Watercraft Ultimate 14.5. My clients use my Heritage Redfish 12s with rudders. The Heritages feature a rod holder on the consoled and two just behind the seat.
Fishing is good, so it’s time to book your trip.
Remember, the worst day you’ll have with us will be pretty darn good!

shadow
03-09-2008, 10:36 PM
Man Steve, you have got me jealous with all of those different species that you can catch over there! I would love to catch those oscars and cichlids you talked about. Thanks for the very detailed report.