This summer has been a great time with red grouper taking the center stage. I hope it continues into the fall then the gag grouper will move in. Trout fishing in the bay has been fast but mostly small ones. The bigger ones should become more active when the water cools off from the high 80’s it is now. All the rain has prevented it from getting into the 90’s which is a good thing.
We had several weeks of west winds which didn’t help the offshore fishing but it has finally turned to the east and has been beautiful the last few weeks. Trips have slowed down this next week since school is back in but it has been a busy summer.
This time last year I was recovering from shoulder surgery and didn’t get to fish till November. I am glad that is over and have tried to be careful and not reinjure it. Pulling the anchor is the worse problem but my clients have helped with that chore.
I am looking forward to fall fishing as the snook will move into the bay, the trout will get more active, the redfish will start to school and the kingfish will arrive later in the fall. I missed the October fishing last year but look forward to it this year.
Let me know when you want to book a trip and have some fun. As you can see in the pictures below fun has started!! Capt. Tom Sr.
Spring has ended and now we start into our summer season. Tarpon trips take up a big part of my June schedule but beach and bay trips are still very good. Snook is one of the best beach trips followed by speckled trout for those who want something to eat. Snook season closed on May 1st and opens again in September. You can catch them but they have to be released.
All the offshore boats who run out 25-30 miles are out as June 1st is the season opener for red snapper. The great powers to be who regulate our red snapper season has allowed it to stay open for 10 whole days in federal waters where the snapper live. I dont run out 30 miles so it doesnt hurt me too much. There are plenty of mangrove snapper closer in and are just as good eating as the red snapper to me.
Tarpon season is going really good with huge schools of tarpon coming down the beach. This should continue during June and into July, however the schools get smaller in July. Crabs have been the bait of choice and we either buy them or scoop them up in the passes on the afternoon outgoing tides. Scooping them is fun as long as you remember they have powerful claws and can do damage to a finger. One got me last week and it really hurts! I bought 150 dollars worth for a special weekend and the pumps in the bait shop where I keep them alive quit working and they all died. When we buy them they cost us $3 to $3.50 each and sometimes $4. It pays to scoop them yourself if you can keep them alive.
We have had some great trips this past month as the following pictures show. I am looking forward to seeing a lot of you during June. I have some days open so come on down and have some fun!
Fishing this spring has been off the chart with great catches of trout, snook and now the tarpon bite has started. We have also had some great offshore trips with kingfish, sharks, goliath grouper, amberjack and snappers. There are just too many goliath grouper out there and they need to start opening the season to get rid of some of them. You can’t catch a snapper or nice grouper from the goliath eating them. The kingfish bite was awsome this spring. We caught about 15-20 each day. They are great fun and great on the smoker!! Tammy landed this nice one and her sister Jackie and Tammys daughters Megan and Makenzie caught their share also.
On another trip we also had some giant amberjack trying to eat a nice kingfish but we landed the king by a split second before it got eaten.
The snook bite is great with days of 40 snook not uncommon. The season is now closed so you cant keep one but you can still catch and release them. The dolphins are getting really bad trying to eat everyone you let go so we are putting them in the live well then moving away from the dolphins before releasing the snook. You have to go a good ways because the dolphin will follow you. I think they know you have them in the livewell. Randy had a great snook!
The big trout bite has also been great. Here is one caught by Daryl.
The next month will be many tarpon trips and long days on the water but it is fun watching folks catch them. Tarpon is catch and release only so we take a couple of pictures and let them go. Tarpon trips are minimum 6 hrs. We start before 6 am and fish till about 12-1 pm. We also have to catch our crabs we use for bait the afternoon or night before which takes 3 to 4 hrs. So in case you wonder about tarpon trip prices this is the reason. Its not easy and I tell people its like a deer or turkey hunting trip. You may not get one as they do not want to eat all the time. One captain told me he never made a cast in 6 hrs. Other times you can get 10-15 bites. Landing one is another story as most of them are in the 60-200 lb. range. The one pictured here was about 80-100 lbs.
I look forward to seeing you this spring or summer so come on down and have some fun. Capt. Tom Sr.
The winter has finally let up and we are getting some nice temperatures up in the 80s. I know that the north is still cold and snowy, but we really enjoying some nice weather right now.
When the temperatures start rising the fish start to move into our area from the south. The pelagic fish like mackerel, cobia, tripletail, and others move with the water temps. 68 degrees is like the magic number. We are getting close to that and the fish are right on schedule. If you fish with me, you know that cobia fishing is one of my favorites. We like to sight fish for cobia along the beaches and around structure. We are getting a good run so far.
I was out with a good client a few days ago and the sun was bright and the wind was south. The best conditions for sight fishing. We found many fish that day. I think we ended up with 11 caught and missed a few. None were very big, but good fun.
The next day, we were able to get a few nice keeper size fish. We found a n 28 pounder that followed a turtle to the surface. Good fun and great eating.
These fish will start to come in heavily in the next few weeks. We do have some time available so give us a call and get out on the water. Capt. Tom Jr.
Fishing the past two months has been really good depending on the weather. Most trips were offshore as the best bite has been in the gulf. We have had some good bay trips but in the winter the bigger fish move into shallower water. We have been doing good on grouper, snapper and hogfish. The hogfish are not only beautiful to look at they are one of the best eating fish in the gulf. When you see them on a menu they probably were speared as that is how to get them usually. This year however we have found a way to get them to bite and have caught some really nice ones.
The next couple of months should be about the same and the good tasting sheepshead will start biting really well. We catch them offshore as well as in the bay. We always use light tackle and all of these fish fight really good in cool water. One of the groupers in the pictures below was caught on a trout rod with 10 lb teat. That was a battle.
Be sure and book your spring trips soon as March is spring break and we will fill up fast. If we don’t respond in a day or two please call as we get busy and fail to see all the emails. My number is 941-737-8806. I look forward to seeing you this year. Capt. Tom Sr.
My past two trips have been great, and I wanted to post a few pictures of them and tell everyone what we are doing in November.
My good client Kevin from Scotland is in town on his usual November trip. Kevin likes to catch fish on the fly rod and this is something we offer on our trips. It is a much different trip, but we do have the opportunity here in Sarasota. Kevin ties his own fly patterns and we have used them on a range of different fish from snook, to little tunnys. Our recent trip was along the beach and back in the bay waters. A perfect November day with sun and low wind. We worked along the beach roughly a half mile out and noticed some birds working the top of some feeding fish. A mix of little tunnys, that we all call bonito, and some mackerel mixed in. The fly is a great option for catching these fish because the minnows that these fish are eating and very small and close to the size of the fly we use. Kevin is a good caster and he was able to catch several nice ones on his new 10 weight fly rod. These bonitos really fight hard and offer a great catch and release option for fly anglers.
After the beach fishing, we went into longboat pass and worked our way back down the bay just looking for something to catch. The water was so nice and clear this day. We founds some nice blue fish and jacks holding on the shallow flats and were able to sight fish them and catch all we wanted. We had a blast watching the blues running up on the moving fly and taking it.
My latest trip was with my good friends Chuck and Chris and John. We had a different kind of day to work with. Cold winds and cloudy skies. We had to get creative to find some good eating fish for the guys to take home for dinner. I found some quiet areas to fish and we found some nice redfish, snook and trout willing to bite for us. We had to work around and find them, but when we did, it was on. This picture of the triple header we had turned out nice.
Tight Lines, Capt Tom Jr.
Wow, how nice it is to get a break in the weather. Finally we are getting cooler temperatures and fall conditions in mid Florida. The water temps are dropping too. This means changes in the fishing. The summer is hard on our fish as well, and the cooler temperatures put the fish in a feeding mode. The main source of food for our fish this time of year is the mighty Pilchard, or as we call them Green backs or shiners. These schools of baitfish are all over right now and easy to net and use for bait. We like to use them for almost all of the different species of fish we fish for this time of year.
October is great for a mix of inshore and offshore fishing. The offshore fishing gets better because our grouper and snapper move in closer to shore and start to eat aggressively after the hot summer months. On recent trips we are getting hogfish, mangrove snapper, yellowtail snapper, trigger, grouper, and more. All of these fish are high quality eating fish and fun to catch. We are fishing from 2 to 25 miles out. As the water temps drop, the shorter the run to get to the fish.
Inshore bay fishing has been good too. Snook, trout, redfish, and all of the others are biting well right now and will continue through the fall. I can’t express enough how nice the weather has been. The mornings are cool and beautiful on the water. I tell people all the time that October is my favorite month in Sarasota and these cool days without a need for extra clothes is why. Still t shirt and shorts, and great fishing!
I am including pictures from my last few trips. Both inshore and offshore. The winter season is almost here. All of my winter clients are on their way south and I can’t wait to catch up with you all. See you soon. Capt. Tom Jr.
Fall fishing here in Sarasota is getting off to a great start. The water temps are slowly dropping and the fish are becoming more active. The grouper and snapper are moving in closer to shore so going after them is not a long ride. Cobia are also showing up on some of the reefs. The fall kingfish run is just beginning and along with the kings are Spanish macs, Lt’s (bonitos), cobia and sharks. This will get better from now till December and if the weather doesn’t get too cold it will continue into the first of the year.
Bay fishing is also getting cranked up. The trout, spanish macs, bluefish and redfish are really biting . I fished yesterday and had the trout chummed up and it was a fish on every cast. We finally got tired of that and went hunting something else. The LT’s were crashing bait on the beach and that fishing can be great if they will stay up on top long enough to get close enough to fire a cast to them. They move fast so its a run and gun type of fishing.
My son had a trip a couple of days ago and killed the grouper and mangrove snapper. He also had a nice cobia and a nice redfish on another trip.
We are both getting booked up for Nov. and Dec. so don’t wait too long if you are going to be in the Sarasota area. I look forward to seeing all of you soon. Capt. Tom Sr.
This summer has been a strange summer for fishing in our area. The wind which is predominately east here in Sarasota has been mostly out of the west. This has been the first time since I have been in Sarasota in 9 years that we have had this predominate wind direction. The other strange thing has been the bait situation. We did not have the bait show up in the spring like usual. What we have had is small bait that we could not even get on a hook. The bait we are using now, August, is just now getting to be useable, however we have had a good tarpon season which is now winding down.
Fishing has been fairly good the past two months with snook, trout, blues and a very good mangrove snapper bite. I expect this to continue the next month or so. September is the time we usually have the schools of big redfish show up and hopefully they will show againl this year . October and November should be the return of the kingfish, Spanish macs, sharks and the grouper will move closer to shore. Grouper season ends December 3rd so hopefully we can get some good ones before then. It has been so hot lately that everyone is waiting for the cool spells to start, even me and I hate cold or even cool weather. I love the summer but it has just been brutal lately.
A couple of trips that stand out were with some people from Connecticut, Danielle and Alex along with cousin Alicia and Matt. We caught a ton of snook and decided to call it quits but ran up on a school of tarpon and hooked up to a giant. All four people on board fought this fish and we finally landed it after over 2 hours. What a battle!
Another fantastic trip was with a friend Chris and his dad Chuck. We wrecked the big speckled trout. Almost every cast for an hour was these big ones.
The sad news is I might not get to participate in the early fall fishing as I am having shoulder surgery next week August 14. Torn rotator cuff is the problem and have no idea how it happened. Doctor said it was from sleeping on my right side my whole life. Recovery is suppose to take 3 months to a year. My goal is to be on the boat in 10 weeks so we will see what happens. To those reading this that have booked a trip with me already need not worry as my son will take you.
I hope all of you are enjoying the new look of our website. My son has become quite good at making videos and I think the ones on the site are “topnotch”. Please continue to book trips with us. Let my son know when you call or email that you usually fish with me and he will take good care of you. I look forward to getting this surgery over with and will be back on the boat as soon as possible.
Its Mid august now and the summer heat has been relentless. The tarpon season finished up very strong back in July with good numbers of fish still in our area late into the season . I was able to get the last fish of the season myself after one of my bay trips. I decided to build two new tarpon rods just before the end of the season . They take several weeks to finish , so when i finished them , i was really done with tarpon trips. So after one of my bay trips , i took a few crabs out to the beach just to make a few casts to see how the new rods cast and how they felt. The 9 foot rod cast like a dream and i was surprised to see a few single tarpon still gliding down the beach . I made a few attempts with no bites. Then i got a fish to turn on the bait and he inhaled my crab . He turned directly at me and i pulled the bait right out of his mouth! I laughed about that one and hooked up another bait. I took 20 minutes or so to see another fish , but from the tower i could see them far out as they approached me. On this attempt, i was spot on . Great cast 20 feet in front of the big single fish. The crab sunk slowly out of sight as the fish got up to it and disappeared down toward the crab. A light thump on my line , and it was on . I had a time getting out of the tower with the rod and fighting the fish with a 8 foot hammer-head shark chasing the tarpon around . I have it all on video. in fact, i have the entire build of the rod and the catch on video waiting to be edited for the web site. Should be pretty cool.
The fishing after tarpon season has been up and down . I did have a good trip offshore with some good guys in early august. We were able to get some nice grouper, mangrove and yellow tail snapper, ans big trigger fish. The bay fishing has been ok with good numbers of trout and some keeper size snapper on the deep flats. Most of the fish are small , but plenty of them . I expect the fishing to get better as the days get shorter and temperatures start to turn for the cooler. The big red fish schools should show up in our bays soon and the offshore fishing will pick up closer to shore. I’m looking forward to seeing some of my good clients here in the next few months for some of both types of trips.
As most of you have noticed , our new Top Notch fishing web site is up and operating . We are so please with the new design and hope you will like it too. Make sure to check out the gallery for our new videos. The 2014 tarpon highlights video is up with just a sample of the action from the season . The new fishing report page has entry from dad and i both . I will be taking the rest of the month off this august for a vacation to Crystal river for scolloping and a trip to the rainbow river for a chance to coool off in the 72 degree river. Tight lines from Capt. Tom jr.