Don and I were overdue for a weekend getaway. We have been boatless for a while so fishing needed to be part of the trip. We are also scouting areas to move to when we retire. We have already checked out most of Pinellas County and wanted to look over HWY 41 south of Tampa to Bradenton.
It also included $100 off a guided fishing trip with Captain Danny Guarino from Fishing Guide Tampa Bay. I wasn’t so sure about shelling out the money to fish. After all the resort was on the river and we were so close to the gulf and we have always enjoyed wade fishing. Plus those of you who know me also know how frugal I am. If I put out over $50 on something I had better be able to reach out and touch said purchase for the next 10 years. And, the thought of being on a boat with a smart ass ninja mask wearing guide whose fishing clothes cost more than my take home pay didn’t sit well either. This guy also has a radio show on ESPN Tampa 1040AM Sunday mornings. I didn’t want to have to experience “superior attitude” arrogance. I decided to surprise Don with the trip anyway and booked it. You only live once!
Friday the 13th we arrived at Pirates Point. WOW!!!!! This place is just incredible. Great landscaping awesome swimming pool and cute fully furnished Key West style cottages with gas grills on every porch. Nice dock and a great ice machine. Perfect!! You need to check this place out. We fished from the dock some that evening. Low tide and a lot of fresh water influx produced nothing for us but a couple of mosquito bites. Captain Danny Guarino was picking us up from the dock at 6:30 in the am so it was an early night.
Next morning we are dressed in our Goodwill bought Columbia fishing shirts to meet our guide. Captain Guarino was at the dock in his 2300 custom built Canyon Bay boat rigged with a 250 hp Yamaha motor, Rhodan marine GPS trolling motor and an 8 foot power poll. Very nice set up. AND, he wasn’t wearing a Columbia fishing outfit and no stupid ninja mask!! Just a plain t-shirt and shorts. That was a pleasant surprise.
We ran out to the gulf and across the bay to south St. Pete to catch bait. That influx of fresh water can wreak havoc on bait. Couple of throws of the cast net and we had enough sardines for the day. We anchored up between the Little Manatee River and Port Manatee over a deep grass bed. High tide was around 9:45.
As soon as our bait hit the water we had fish on!! Trout and Spanish Mackerel all day. Several times Captain Danny asked if we wanted to move. Don and I didn’t see the point of moving, if you are catching keeper fish why move? That is kinda of the purpose of fishing. And we sure were catching fish. Lots of just undersized trout. I’m talking several at ¼” short. And the Spanish just kept on coming. End of the day take home count was 10 Mack and 4 trout.
Turns out Danny grew up in the area and has been fishing it since he was 6 years old. Let’s just say he has over 45-50 years of experience! Just a regular guy who knows all the sweet spots to catch fish. Not at all pretentious. The kind of guy you want to set around drinking a few beers with [Or in his case rum] and eat the catch of the day with. Great trip and a great experience!! Thank you Danny!
Don and I had such a great time. Big kudos to Jonathan Shute and his staff at Pirates Point Resort and to Captain Danny Guarino for keeping us on the fish. Although it was weird having someone bait our hook all the time. But, I didn’t have a problem with him cleaning the fish!!