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Windy Day on the Manatee

Bassin AssassinBassin Assassin Posts: 1,317 Officer
Launched at Ft. Hamer at 1pm. The wind was blowing a constant 15-20 mph all day. It was relentless. Water temp was 63-66 degrees and the water was pretty stained. The water level was the lowest I have ever encountered and the strong east wind helped keep the water out.

I fished it hard till 6:30pm. I was working banks going down river with side-treks into shallow bays whenever possible. Lures of choice were the RT Mullet in 3 and 4"s in shadflash shad and the RT Sardine in electric chicken. 

I ended up catching 23 snook. Unfortunately, none of the snook had any size. They all ranged from 6" to 16". I caught 3 jacks. Two were very tiny, while one was decent. My last fish of the day was the best. It was a 21" red caught at 6:30pm. By that time it was really dark and I headed for the ramp. It was a fair day given the weather conditions and water level. Lots of fish caught, but only one with decent size.
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  • iannerneyiannerney Posts: 1 Greenhorn
    Thanks for the report! I’ve been fishing around the Fort Hammer boat launch the last two weekends in the early morning. Had one bite on frozen shrimp, and no activity on DOA shrimp lures. Limited success, to say the least...

    I’m new to fishing the Manatee river, so I wasn’t sure what baits would produce. I’ll give the RT lures a try and will report back.

    Can you recommend any other good walkable/wadeable spots in the area?
  • lukkyracerlukkyracer Posts: 757 Officer
    The Manatee river has very little access by foot. It sounds like you don't have a boat. my suggestion would be to google rays canoe hideaway. They rent canoes and kayaks. I wouldn't expect to catch much from that ramp. Rays is in a spot that gives you the opportunity to go up river towards the dam for bass, catfish, and bluegill. Down river is where you will have access to snook, reds,  jacks, ladyfish, ect. You want to focus on points, blown down trees, deeper bends, and as bassin assassin has posted before, there a lot of shallow bays that can be very productive when the tide comes up. Good luck.
  • Eric BEric B Posts: 134 Deckhand
    Hey Bassin,

    Is the water flowing up that far this time of year? Is it idle speed only from Ft. Hamer all the way down to Woody's?
  • lukkyracerlukkyracer Posts: 757 Officer
    Don't want to answer for BA, but it is a tide river. Check the tide charts. It's slow speed up river, but down river you can go open speed. Just follow the channel markers. It can get shallow fast.
  • Bassin AssassinBassin Assassin Posts: 1,317 Officer
    edited January 2019 #6
    When I had my jon, I used to launch at Ray's all the time. I was mostly fishing fresh then and went up river. It was $6 to launch your own boat. Ramp is kinda sketchy(not for big boats) and not open on Wednesdays. Good blugill fishing. Most bass were small, but every now and then I caught a 3 pounder. You really need some type of boat, yak or canoe to fish the MR. I don't know much about fishing this river from land.

    It is a slow zone at Ft. Hamer and up river from there. Unfortunately, too many disregard that. You can open it up just down river of FH. I always check the tide table for Redfish Point on tides4fishing.com b4 going. Great ramp now at FH and you can launch there even with extremely low tides. As lr said, stay in the channel. It does get shallow quick in some areas just outside the channel. 

    It is a tidal river and water flows much farther up river. The river forks up river past the new bridge. Go right to get to the logjam and Rays. I have had more luck on snook and reds going left. Been as far as you can go both ways. Great river. There is a rowing club at FH. It  can be a pita when you get stuck behind them though.
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