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Late January and February: Sarasota Bay wade and kayak fishing report.

Been getting out on the water way more often ever since I fully moved back here to work remotely during this pandemic. Usually I'll head out before work to wade for an hour or two, 2-3 times per week, then have a longer kayak trip or two on the weekend. 

Mostly been sticking around Whitfield flats and some of the bayous to the south. Mirrolure Lil Johns and white paddletails are reliable producers of trout, of which there are legions in the deeper channels around low tide. Hudson bayou has had some good redfishing on the oyster bars during the incoming tide, as well as some increasingly good snook action near the mouth of deeper channels and canals. Abundant jumbo ladyfish and jacks as well. 

In my (comparatively short) time fishing Sarasota/Venice/Bradenton, I never caught or heard of many barracuda being caught inshore. I only ever saw the giant, mean fish under my boat on the wrecks offshore. But, ever since this past September I've had them on the end of my line with much more regularity in the bay. This past month I caught three, with one very fun fight coming from a 25" fish that nailed a weedless jerkbait 5 feet from the kayak. Cool to see. 

Topwater activity has been picking up. Nothing decent has managed to connect with the plug yet, but the past few wading trips have resulted in multiple large blowups on my Spook Jr. (I usually begin the morning throwing this for 30 min or so). Sheepshead action has also been good when I've made the time for it, though most of that fishing has been south of this region down in Englewood. Pic dump is below; in no particular order so ask me if there's any questions about when/where something was caught.
Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
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