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Venice Nearshore - End of Year

Had some family in town for Christmas and managed a few fun trips on 12/26 & 12/27.  I'm still learning this place, and was hoping to bring some gags home.

Found beautiful conditions on 12/26.  Pulled them back in ~40' to explore a few ledges I've marked in teh past but never fished.  Didn't want to meander too far from home till I knew how my crew was with seasickness (my mother is quite prone).  Squid and cigar minnows on the bottom produced an endless supply of grunts and a few triggers - but no bigger bites.  The crew was doing well, so we eased out a little farther and drifted in 65'.  The family had tons of fun with the endless grunt fishery.  Also brought aboard about 15 short red grouper. Not a single gag.

Pretty conditions on 12/27 again and tried something a little different in 45'.  Anchored on a nice piece of bottom and tossed out the chum block. Caught dozens of grunts and a handfull of triggers on the bottom.  Drifted live shrimp on light jigheads out the back and managed a few dozen mangrove snappers. Around 10 were keeper size, but we released all.  Had a few break us off in the reef, which I think were larger mangroves, but could have been that gag I was looking for. The crew was excited to see a few sea turtles, some dolphins an a pretty sunset.

Saw lots of birds in 35-45' picking silversides.  I figured there would be spanish mixed in with them, but no dice. Hung out with a massive pod of porpoise in 45' for a while on day 1. They put on quite a show with some acrobatics mixed in. No sportfish mixed in with them (at least no hungry ones).  Turtles on the reefs in 45' too.

All-in-all, was great fun with the family.  Never did catch a gag, I guess I was just on the wrong piece of bottom. Everyone enjoyed themselves though, and mom never turned green - so it was a success :smile:


  • larrywittlarrywitt Posts: 2,875 Moderator
    A real bonus to be considerate of your crew. A tip of my hat to you. Looked like they had a blast reeling in fish of all kind. Thanks for the report. So much to learn about our fishery I am still learning. And I have been doing it since 1986. Wow time does fly.
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,067 Officer
    edited January 2 #3
    Finding nearshore gags out of Venice can be challenge. We don't have the huge density of rockpiles and big ledges near shore like they have further north in St. Pete, so a lot of the time we don't see a ton of legal gags inside of 70' until the water REALLY gets cold (based on my prior experience and what I've heard from a couple captains). Unfortunately, that can often not happen until after December is over, so no more legal gags. The red tide earlier this year probably also didn't help the health of our nearshore bottom areas.

    TONS of big live bottom patches for RG if you get out deep enough though.
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
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