BarHopp'R Times

by Capt. Butch Rickey

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Volume 1, Number 1, July 1995

Introduction

I have made many changes in the way I fish in the past year or so. One of the biggest is the switch to live bait fishing. The use of live pilchards, which are castnetted first thing in the morning, has allowed me to dramatically increase the numbers of fish my clients catch.

The second change is the area I fish. I now fish mostly in Pine Island Sound, the body of water lying between Pine Island and the islands of Sanibel, Captiva, North Captiva, and Cayo Costa. It is one of the most fertile fishing grounds in the state, and it's where I grew up. It's about an hour and a half from Sarasota, but is almost always well worth the drive.

Typical trips to Pine Island Sound have averaged around 40 fish per 6-hour day. There have been some days when we've caught many more than that, and days when we've caught that many out of one hole. There have also been some stinkers thrown in along the way to keep me humble.

This is the first of what I hope will be a series of monthly newsletters. Hopefully, it will allow me to stay in contact with all of the great fishermen who are helping to build my business, and give me a chance to brag on them to everyone else. It's an opportunity for you to see how the other guys are doing. It will also let you see the catchy patterns and may help you better decide when you want to make your next trip.

Who Caught What?

It wouldn't be practical to try to recount the first half of the year in this first issue, so I'll begin with the month of May.

During May, Chuck Freeman of Bradenton, caught 12 snook, 7 reds, and missed lots of hits. He had a great day, and got his biggest snook. I took Bev and Richard Kaczmarek, of North Port, on their first Florida trip. Bev got 12 snook and 8 reds. Chris Wasilewski and her brother Matt, of Sarasota, got several nice reds in Sarasota Bay a few days later. Terry Bair of Sarasota, made a notable catch of 22 nice reds on spoons in Sarasota Bay.

Later in the month Rolf Kopp, Vice President of Mictron, Inc., in Sarasota, treated a couple of his star employees to a trip to Pine Island. They got 20+ snook, 4 reds, and 3 trout. Later Dan Drefus, manager of Azure Tides on Lido Key, took his best friend Paul for a day on the water. It was a day of stagnant tides, and they only got 2 snook and 1 red, but had fun in spite of the slow fishing. During the holidays, Bill Krell and his boss from Billings, Montana, caught 70+ snook, 6 reds, and 9 trout over three days of fishing.

June was an incredible month. About mid-May the snook move to the passes and beaches to spawn, and the action gets hot if you know where they stack up. JUne 1, Bev Kacmarek was back for another trip. She wanted to catch reds, but the snook action was just too hot to ignore. She and her brother-in-law Frank got over 50 snook in 4 hours. A fish was hooked for every bait in the live-well. Then we went to the backcountry and Bev got herself 1 nice red before going home. Later, Stoney Denver, winner of the free trip I awarded at the Handicapped Olympics Show earlier, along with his friend Kevin Chamberlain of Sarasota, got approx. 70 snook in about four hours. We ran out of bait and went home. Next were David Rist, a Delta Airlines pilot, and David Hall, an attorney, of Georgetown, Texas, who racked up a total of nearly 60 snook and 1 trout in a morning of fishing. the largest was 9.5 pounds. The following day Ed Lemarbe of Ballwin, MO., got nearly 40 snook and 1 trout.

Next up was Dick Kochanski, a Circuit Court Judge of Linden, NJ., who got 30+ snook up to 5.5 pounds. Later, Ed Cummings, of Gold's Gym in Sarasota, who had been rained out the week before, caught 20+ snook and a couple fo lil' Tunnys to about 10 pounds. There were lots of weather cancellations the third week of June, while we had some wild weather. After the weather settled, my old friend Dr. Jeff Stewart, of Bowden, GA., got over 20 snook and 1 red during a short morning of fishing. Finally, Joel Miller, of Riverdale, GA., canceled his second 2-day trip at the last minute. Too bad, Joel, you probably would have scored high on the snook, as Joe Perry of Bristol, VA., did the day after your trip. Joe and his two buddies hooked a snook for every one of the 12+ dozen pilchards in the live well, and landed close to 100! To end the month Chester and Carol O'Bara of St. Petersburg, went on their first live bait trip with me. They caught nearly 50 snook, and are now believers.

Parting Thoughts

The tarpon season is winding down now, but the snook action should continue red-hot through July. Also, the schools of big reds should be moving into Pine Island Sound any time now. We should be able to catch impressive numbers of reds right on into winter, once they arrive in the sound.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to everyone who has given me the opportunity to guide them this year. Thanks also to everyone who has responded to my ads, but did not book. I hope you will consider booking in the future. Finally, thanks to Joyce and Mike Rehr of Salty Angler Guide Service in Ft. Myers, FL., for their support and for the trips they've sent my way. They are very much appreciated.


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