Things are really starting to heat up along the shores of Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. In Northern Sarasota Bay, early to mid-morning trout and redfish action on Mirr-O-Lure topwater plugs is RED HOT!!! Depending on the wind conditions, your choice of Top Dog, Jrs., She Dogs and She Pups, or the new Mirro-Mullet is going to lose some paint on a day with good tidal flow. On an incoming tide, just follow the tide up to the mangroves (by poling your skiff) and work the mullet and baitfish pods. Once the tide gets high, work the potholes and mangroves with either a Mirr-O-Lure Mirro-Dine or a DOA Deadly Combo (DOA shrimp under a clacker float). On the fly, Heidi's Whitey (Andy Thornal Co.) is a great choice for working a topwater fly bite. It is a foam-head slider that when tied to a mono leader pushes a nice wake across the surface. Trout, reds, and snook will kill this fly. Using a clear floating fly line (www.monic.com) will keep you from creating any overhead line blast while blind casting these fish.
On the beach, it is a flyrodder's dream. Catch-and-release snook will hit any small white baitfish pattern with a stealthy approach along the surf. Some stretches of beach will have snook cruising by every minute!! Just off the beach, tarpon are making their annual migration up the coast. It is prime time to get a beach poon on fly before the insanity that is Memorial Day weekend and the "Hill Tides." These are the largest outgoing tides of the year that flush more than three feet of water out of the bays and with it, tons of small pass crabs. If you want to fish the Hill Tides, find a pass with good current, scoop up pass crabs and fish them on heavy spin gear. Be sure to respect the space of your fellow anglers because things could get crowded and dicey out there. If you wish to attempt the Hill Tide on fly, find an isolated area away from everyone else where you see tarpon rolling and pass crabs swimming by. Use a floating line and throw an EP Pass Crab in a tan color (Andy Thornal Co.). Just let the fly drift through the area and wait for it to get sucked up. Make that crab look as natural as possible. HANDLE ANY TARPON CAUGHT WITH EXTREME CARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Hill Tides begin this Saturday, Sunday, and Monday afternoons. Good luck!