Launched from Placida Park at about 10am. Such a nice day, I was surprised there were empty spots at the ramp. Tried my favorite Pompano hole on the incoming tide but no go today. Zipped down the ICW to Devilfish Key and caught lots of short trout in the 12-14" range on Deadly Combo corks rigged with both live shrimp and artificials. Both caught fish. Moved around a lot looking for the bigger ones. Found the short ones all around the island. Went to the West end of Bull Bay and finally landed a nice one at 16" and put him on ice. So funny how big the keepers seem after you catch a dozen short ones. Kept moving, kept catching but all shorts. Landed areal nice size sail cat and decided this would be the one I try the taste with. Fishin Frank says the saltwater, Gaff Topped, Sailcats are very good eating. Anyone have any prep and cooking suggestions for that? Not into breading and frying.
Moved back to Gasparilla Sound on the outgoing tide and looked for my Pompano but they were still somewhere else. Used the iPilot to set the boat over the top of the 32' hole in Little Gasparilla Pass and the bite was on. Caught and released dozens of Gag Grouper, which were too short even if they were in season, and dozens of mangrove snapper. Was catching on every cast and getting 2-3 fish on the same bait at times. Caught my limit of mangrove snapper and then gave up the position to a family with kids, who were catching nothing 50 yards away.
The waters of Placida Harbor and the Gasparilla Sound are separated by the many miles long Cape haze peninsula. This separation also puts Placita far away from the tannin stained water of Charlotte Harbor, fed by the peace River and the Myakka River. That distance, coupled with the white sandy bottom's near Placida, make for much bluer water. Although both areas have excellent fishing opportunities the distance from the boat ramp at Placita Park to the little Gasparilla pass and the Gulf of Mexico is no more than 10 minutes. A far cry from the hour or more ride it takes to get to the Boca Grande Pass from Port Charlotte or Punta Gorda. This is why, even though I live on a canal with a lift, I value the use of my trailer so much. Save gas, save time, save money.
The intercoastal waterway from Placida to Stump Pass and Venice further north off a wonderful sightseeing opportunities (mansions to mangroves) for boaters of all kinds. One of my favorite apps on this route is Don Pedro state park. It's tucked away off of the intercoastal via a well hidden cut through the mangroves with a sign that is even better hidden in the trees. There are bayside boat slips here where you can tie up and self-pay two or three dollars to enjoy the park. The park features clean restrooms cabana covered tables and barbecue grills suitable for picnics. Out-of-town guests will marvel when you walk them two minutes up the path and they see the Gulf of Mexico.
Diverse boating opportunities such as this, added with Charlotte Harbor, the rivers, and points further south towards Matlacha and Sanibel make this area paradise found.
Although last Sunday's cold front had me dressed in snow gear, today's weather was absolutely perfect, all day. Great day on the water.