Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bream Fishing with a Pro

I had the good fortune of fishing with Steve Gibson of Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing this week. Steve has been fishing the west coast of Florida for many years and provides a wealth of knowledge on all types of fishing found in our area. He offers kayak fishing charters targeting many different species, and his website can be found at

We set out to target bream on the Coco Plum waterway in North Port. We used fly rods exclusively and struck early with #10 poppers. My largest bluegill of the day came right after sun up, and measured in at 9 and 3/4 inches.

Paddling along the way and exchanging information with Steve, I kept pointing out a specific palm tree on the shoreline that I had caught my personal best bluegill for this body of water underneath. Slowly but surely I made my way there, and like clockwork had a nice hand sized fish swallow my popping bug on my first cast to that spot. He measured 9 and 1/4 inches.

Almost immediately after that fish I hooked up with my only largemouth bass for the day, a small but scrappy fish that put up a fun fight on a light fly rod.

After the topwater bite subsided, the fish became very selective. Steve found good success after downsizing to a #14 scud. I had a hard time being convinced to downsize as I generally tend to stick to popping bugs and wooly buggers and other various #8-#10 size flies for bluegill. However, the proof was in the pudding when Steve continued to catch fish while I struggled, and finally I joined in on the finesse tactics with a #14 bead head nymph. The fish got smaller throughout the day but still kept our rods bent consistently. 

I finished the day with 26 bluegill, 5 stumpknockers, 1 shellcracker, and 1 largemouth bass for a total of 33 fish. Steve had an even better day than I did catching more of the same assortment of species plus one surprise tilapia. Schedules permitting we will be taking a trip in the next few weeks to fish along either the Manatee River or Lake Manatee targeting all of the same species, so look forward to a report on that!