Siesta Key Fishing Report

Captain Jim Klopfer’s Fishing Forecast May 2020
Adventure Charters 941-371-1390

   May is a transition month in Sarasota.  Although the calendar says it is still spring, by late May it will definitely feel like summer time.  Pelagic species such as king and Spanish mackerel will have migrated north, inshore fishing will be best early and late, and giant tarpon will invade the inshore Gulf of Mexico, a sure sign that summer is here!

   Speckled trout fishing should be good in May, especially with the catch and release regulations.  The flats near Big Pass should be productive.  Casting Bass Assassin 4” Sea Shad baits on ¼ ounce jig heads in front of a drifting boat will produce speckled trout and some ladyfish.  A live shrimp under a noisy cork is a deadly technique for catching trout.  Pinfish, grunts, and pilchards will produce less fish, but generally larger ones.

   The shallow flats will be very active as they flood with bait.  A low, incoming tide is the best time to search for reds and snook in the skinny water.  Fish will stage in holes and deeper water then move up onto the shallow flats as the tide floods.  Scented soft plastics, weedless gold spoons, topwater plugs, and live bait are all effective.  Lures work best when looking for fish, water can be covered quickly.  Live bait is best once the fish are located.  Some of the largest trout will also be found in shallow water.

   Snook will be moving out to the beaches and will be scattered out all over.  Mangrove points and bars near the passes should hold snook, as will structure in both Big Pass and New Pass.  Outgoing tides are preferred, but as long as the water is moving, fish can be caught.  Plugs are great baits that cover a lot of water quickly and are great fun to fish.  Jigs and other soft plastics work well, too.  Anglers who are proficient with a cast net will load up the well with pilchards and catch a lot of fish.

   Surf fishing should be excellent and by the end of May there will be decent numbers of snook in the surf line. Small white jigs and flies work well on snook, as does live bait fish. Silver spoons cast out and retrieved in quickly will fool mackerel and ladyfish. Live shrimp will fool a variety of species.

   By the middle of the month, many guides and recreational anglers will be focusing on one of the most exciting angling challenges found anywhere, light tackle casting to giant tarpon!  This is truly world class big game fishing.  Tarpon that migrate up our coasts are large fish that average 80 pounds, but reach over 200 pounds.  25-30 lb. spinning tackle and 12 weight fly rods are used most often.  A live crab is the preferred bait, but live pinfish and other bait fish work well, too.  These baits are fairly light and spinning tackle works best to cast and present baits. 

Giant tarpon arrives off of Siesta Key in May

Capt. Jeffri Durrance
CB’s Outfitters

   Spanish Mackerel are getting thick along the area beaches and lots of fun to catch with the occasional shark crashing the party.  On light tackle, it makes for exciting fishing. 

   King mackerel are also beginning to show up inshore as well.  Both mackerels as well as the sharks readily eat shrimp, threadfins, pilchards and pinfish which can be caught with sabiki rigs in the same areas you find the mackerel. 

   We are finding black seabass on hard bottom areas and catching them on live shrimp.  Remember, the best time to go fishing is when you can and be sure to save some for seed!  

Pictured is Solomon Holton with a nice Spanish mackerel.

Capt. Kelly Stilwell
CB’s Outfitters

The fishing in Sarasota Bay has been consistently good. Last week, the Faveta family had a good trip. They caught lots of nice spotted seatrout, shark , spanish mackerel, and ladyfish . all were caught on jigs and live shrimp.