Captain Shawn Crawford: Sarasota
First of all, Happy New Year!!! I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday Season. 2012 has been a year to remember to say the least, and here we go with another one to put into the books. This past year was a great year of catching and I can only hope that this year will be as good or even better. The past month or 2 have been kind of strange to say the least, as the water was colder in Nov. than in Dec. This really made for some great fishing in Dec. with some really nice snook being caught just about every trip. We were getting snook on average of several up to 34" all the way up to a solid 40" monster, and a lot of upper 30" snook as well. What happened was the weather cooled the water down enough in Nov. to send these bigger snook heading to their winter time spots to ride out old man winter. But then when Dec. came around we started to have a warm up and just like clock work as soon as the water temp. hit the low to mid 60's they started poking their heads out on the surrounding flats and were more than cooperative to eat a bait anywhere they could find one. We had days with 30-40 snook in one spot or another, along with some huge trout mixed in. It is funny though, a lot of the places I was catching these snook and trout produced no reds at all! This is kind of strange since these places are where I usually go to catch reds. Well, I guess that is fishing and yes I did find my reds in other places. Some days we would kill the reds and other days I could not find one to save my life. As for the trout, it has been insane with limits on just about every trip. It truly was some great fishing in December.
Now here we are in Jan. and with the last few cold fronts it seems as if winter has finally set in, at least for now. This is really what we needed to happen so the fish could settle down and figure out where they want to be for the next month or so depending on the weather. But remember, this is Florida and that could change next week! As for now, I am still getting some bait although depending on the day it sometimes is better to forgo the bait and just use shrimp. It really all depends on the day and what weather pattern we are in at the time. However, don't be afraid to go out with shrimp, at this time of year it can be one of the most productive baits you can use with the water being as cool as it is. Pretty much everything that eats white bait will also eat a shrimp and it will even catch some fish that we won't get on the shiners. For example, just the other day I broke my neck to have a few hundred baits in my well and after fishing in the bay for a couple of hours we had only caught one fish for the box and it was a flounder.
My phone was ringing off the dash with other guides calling me saying the same thing. I knew after seeing this I had to change my plan. I pulled my anchor and headed out off the beach to a reef where we sat there and caught a fish with every drop. Yes they weren't all good fish but I went through 15 dozen shrimp in about 2 hours and had a box of nice sheepshead and flounder to clean at the dock! Another successful day was had. These are some good fighting fish and about as good to eat as anything else out there. This time of year can go either way depending on the weather and the water temp. so don't be afraid to get out there right now. Our biggest problem is the weather and getting blown out, but that is just the nature of the season and as many of you know, if it is blowing too bad we may have to pick another day, but if that is the worst thing I can live with it! Therefore if you want to get out, get with me and let's plan a day and get out there. Again, Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Capt. Shawn Crawford
About the Captain: Capt. Shawn Crawford is a fifth generation native and has been guiding in his local waters for over 15 years as a full time guide. Capt. Shawn offers everything from nearshore to backcountry trips for just about everything that swims. He can fish 1-4 people per boat and can set up multiple boats, if needed. He can provide accomadations for one person to as many as you have in your party. He also has gift certificates for that special someone for their birthday, Christmas or for whatever reason. Check out the photos on his website and compare for yourself. Make sure to only book with a 100% full time guide for your next fishing adventure!