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The Manatee River was a bit breezy yesterday

Launched from Ft. Hamer around 8:30am. Outgoing tide till mid-morning and then a good incoming. The water temp was 73 degrees and it was nice and calm. Maybe the weatherman would be wrong. The plan was to go way up river and see if anything was going on. Fished along the way and about 9am, it was like a switch was flipped. It went from calm to 10mph winds instantly Then it got even worse. I went way up river and tried to stay out of the wind. Ran into a gaggle of kayakers. One guy said he had caught a couple of small snook and baby tarpon on 1/16 oz jig heads. I was struggling with zero strikes.

Finally, after 2 1/2 hours with nothing caught, I landed a small snook at 11am on the 3" new penny w/ chartreuse tail mullet. Six minutes later another dink on the same lure. Farther up river and caught a 13" jack at 11:36am. This wasn't happening and I think I got out just in time because of the low water.

Back down river past the ramp to my little trough on the side of an island. The wind was pretty rough. I did have a fish on for a few secs in this spot, but she got off. Went down to a point on the south side. Water flowing by and it paid off last time. Caught a small snook of 17 1/4" on the chartreuse tailed np at 1:57pm. One just an inch smaller at 2pm around the corner in the shade. Saw snook chasing bait through the mangrove roots. Picked up an 18 1/2" snook on the 4" mullet in shadflash at 2:05pm.

Over to the docks and no luck. Began to work the leeward side of islands in the shade. Caught a small jack on the np w/ chartreuse at 2:45pm off a point in the islands in the middle of the river. Kept working around that area and finally picked up a good jack of 15" off another point. Good fight and thought it was a red.

Over to a shallow bay. Picked up a snooklet on the chartreuse tail at 3:22pm. Over to Marsh Island and working the north side with no wind and more shade. Paralleling the 3" down the bank. Water was up and conditions looked favorable. Worked down to the only pass. Wind was howling through this pass. Side-armed a cast around the corner. A few turns of the handle and got a solid strike. Set the hook and felt good weight. This fish was pretty strong and ran towards the mangroves first, but inexplicably back out into open water. She had me if she got in the roots. Came up thrashing and it was a pretty good red. Came back to and dove under the boat. Got momentarily wrapped around the motor. A couple of more runs and slipped her into the net at 3:50pm. She had absolutely choked the lure and I had to use pliers it was so deep in her mouth. She measured 25 1/2". Not too shabby.

I continued down MI and had a couple of strikes near points of the shallow bays. Saw a puff out after one strike and felt sure it was a red. No more strikes there so back up river to the finger. Worked in there and caught a small snooklet around 5pm. Back to a shallow bay near the ramp. No luck. By that time it is dark and I headed for the ramp. It was a tough morning, but ended up catching fish. That wind was miserable at times. A nice flurry of snook, a hard-fighting jack and a pretty good red made it worthwhile.
Improve Our Fishery - Practice Catch and Release


  • Red-ManRed-Man Posts: 331 Deckhand
    Nice red BA. I'm thinking about heading to the river this Saturday if the weather cooperates. The tide will be moving good so that's a plus
  • RAPNJARRAPNJAR Posts: 108 Officer
    Nice report...I was about to give up on Manatee because its been so slow. Good to know there are a few fish out there.

    Thanks...great report as usual!
  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,712 Captain
    Hi Dave, I was there last month but didn't get to fish much, working on the trailer. The furthest I went up the river was to the Braden River and it wasn't very good. One day I saw several small tarpon chase my lure and caught a couple of small snook. I did catch a bunch of ladyfish close near the trestles. You always seem to eke a few out. I'll be back in March. Maybe the stripers will bite in Lanier for the time being.
  • dieselbeefdieselbeef Posts: 652 Officer
    be there in the am..going upriver to places ive never been
    16 ccf wellcraft.....
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