Terry Byce of Lakewood Ranch battles a feisty oscar along Alligator Alley on fly rod.

This unseasonably warm winter is both good and bad. It’s good because you can get out on the water and enjoy yourself in warmth.

It’s bad because it isn’t the norm for fish.

Snook are still on the flats and under the mangroves which isn’t normal this time of year. We should be finding most of the snook up creeks and rivers, but that’s just not the case.

Fishing has been pretty good in both fresh and salt waters.

In salt water, we’ve been getting spotted seatrout, snook, ladyfish, jack crevalle and pompano.

Burt Benjamin of Connecticut joined me for an outing on Palma Sola Bay. We managed to catch 20 seatrout to 23 inches, three flounder and a pompano on Popovics Jiggy Flies.

If you think you’re too old for kayak fishing realize that Benjamin is 81.

John Weimer of Sarasota fished with me on several occasions. We fished Palma Sola Bay and caught 22 seatrout to 19 inches and several ladyfish on Popovics Jiggies and Super Hair Clouser Deep Minnows.

Terry Byce of Lakewood Ranch spent a day along Alligator Alley and wasn’t disappointed. On his first trip, Byce caught “more fish in a day than I’ve ever caught.” He managed oscar, Mayan cichlid, bluegill, stumpknocker, warmouth perch and largemouth bass. All fish were caught on Gibby’s Mighty Myakka Minnow.

Weimer and I fished Alligator Alley and had similar results. We caught an estimated 200 oscar, Mayan cichlid, bluegill, stumpknocker, warmouth perch and largemouth bass.

Interestingly enough, we caught a majority of our fish while employing a method we dubbed “the non-working technique.” We’d cast out Myakka Minnows and allow them to sink. We wouldn’t retrieve them at all. Sooner or later, a fish would inhale the offering and the battle was on.

The non-working technique paid off in many fish.

Speaking of the Myakka Minnow …

I developed the fly more than 10 years ago. And it has resulted in many fresh and saltwater fish over the years. One of the main materials used is Bodi-Braid by Spirit River.

However, Spirit River was recently bought by Haerline Dubbin. And the new parent company has decided not to carry Bodi-Braid.

That caused me concern. However, after a visit to a local needlepoint shop, I have come up with a substitute. Actually, I’m better off because the shop carries not only the colors I need, but also addtional colors that were previously unavailable.

I now tie Myakka Minnows in a variety of colors.

If you’re interested in purchasing Myakka Minnows, they’re $60 a dozen (plus shipping).  Minimium order is a dozen.

I tie them in sizes No. 12 to No. 6 for freshwater. In addition, I tie them in No 4 to No. 1 for saltwater. They make great night snook flies.

Over the years, the Myakka Minnow was caught oscar, Mayan cichlid, peacock bass, stumpknocker, warmouth perch, largemouth bass, sunfish, pumpkinseed, speckled perch (black crappie), white crappie, channel catfish, blue tilapia, spotted tilapia, barramundi, brown trout and others.

In salt water, they have resulted in spotted seatrout, snook, ladyfish, jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, tripletail, bonefish, tarpon, mangrove snapper and others.

The Myakka Minnow is not magic, but a great fly whenever fish are feeding on small minnows.

I fished Lake Manatee on a couple of occasions and did well. On one trip, I caught 20 bluegill, two bass, one speckled perch and a stumpknocker on Myakka Minnows, popping bugs and Snymphs. The other trip was virtually the same.

February looks promising and is booking up quickly.

FEBRUARY FORECAST: Spotted seatrout action should be very good over the deep grass in Sarasota Bay, Little Sarasota Bay and Palma Sola Bay. In addition, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and jack crevalle should please. Redfish action should perk up on the flats and around mangroves. Snook are still in the bay, but will move to creeks and rivers if we get a sustained cold front. In fresh water, Lake Manatee and the Manatee River should produce bluegill, largemouth bass, channel catfish, shellcracker and speckled perch. Alligator Alley should produce loads of oscar, Mayan cichlid, bluegill, largemouth bass, stumpknocker, warmouth perch and an occasional peacock bass.

If you’re interested in a fishing trip or purchasing Myakka Minnows, please give me a call (941-284-3406) or email me (steve@kayakfishingsarsaota.com).

Hope to hear from you soon!

Steve Gibson

Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing