Light Tackle Fishing Florida’s South Central West Coast

Light Tackle Fishing Florida’s South Central West Coast

For the holidays (late 2018), I enjoyed some family time down in the Sunshine State visiting family. Not knowing our exact plans I did not book a guide in advance. I managed to score a last minute light tackle trip with Captain Jim Klopfer of Adventure Charters out of Sarasota, conveniently only 15 minutes from in law’s house.

The day started off slow due to dense fog. Looking for game we worked some mangrove lined creeks with small Rapala X-Rap Swimming Plugs but we came up short. Live bait might have made the difference but we stayed away from the dark side. Captain Jim kept us moving and on the hunt with a hit and run mentality.

On The Hunt For Game

It paid off! On the way to check out another area we came across jack crevelle crashing on top. It was a frothy feed! My cousin Mike struck first and enjoyed the fight on a 20# braid, Penn Conflict 2000 Spinning Reel and St. Croix 6’6″ Medium Action Rod. The feed dispersed.

Here’s Mike enjoying the fight, hooked up with a Jack Crevelle. The Penn Conflict Reel and St Croix Rod make a perfect light tackle inshore rod and reel setup.

We continued to work the area and our patience paid off. I managed a hook up on the 7wt fly rod blind casting a sink tip line with an Olive/White clouser minnow. During my tug of war, Mike hooked up again on the X-Rap. Before we knew it the jacks were smashing on top again.

Boat Side Top Water Take

Above all other, the next couple of minutes are ingrained in my brain for awhile. I punched out a good cast but was a little bit short of the target. One strip and then I let it settle. Second guessing my placement I quickly stripped the line to clear and recast. Five feet from the boat a big jack half out of the water fright trained my clouser. One solid strip set and he took off, clearing my line and into backing. These challenging close encounters is why I’m hooked on saltwater fly fishings!

Here’s a short video from our day light tackle fishing Sarasota Bay with Captain Jim…

We finished the day working some flats (grass and oyster beds) with Berkley Gulp Shrimp on a lead head jig. Using a snap jigging technique similar to fluke fishing at home we caught a couple ladyfish.

In the end we had a great day with a ton of fun. The jacks (three on fly, five on spin) and ladyfish kept our line tight for the majority of the four hour trip. 

Highlight Note: While pulling into the ramp at the end of the day a very rare jet engine powered boat was leaving the dock. It’s shown at the end of the video. Have you ever seen a boat like this before? Let us know in the comment section.

Here’s a link to a short fishing report from Captain Jim as well as a blog post he wrote about Fly Fishing Jack Crevelle. Also stay in the loop with Jim’s reports here.

Anyone looking for a light tackle guide in the Sarasota Area? Call Captain Jim Klopfer of Adventure Charters, 941-371-1390

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