Fishing Lido Key with Capt Jim Klopfer

Call Capt Jim at (941) 371-1390


Lido Key is located just west of downtown Sarasota, over the Ringling Bridge.  It is a fantastic destination for visitors, offering a wide variety of fishing opportunities.  Anglers can choose to go out on a charter or to fish from one of the many spots on Lido Key.  Surf fishing is productive year round from the beaches as well as Big Sarasota Pass to the south and New Pass on the north side.  Public parks abound on Lido Key, providing anglers and beach lovers access to this remarkable natural treasure.  Charters depart daily from boat ramps and bait shops and offer trips for anglers of all experience levels.


Lido Key is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico to the west and Sarasota Bay to the east.  Big Sarasota Pass and New Pass connect the Bay and Gulf.  Fishing in Sarasota Bay is outstanding!  Snook, redfish, speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, pompano, bluefish,mangrove snapper, sheepshead, flounder, jack crevelle, ladyfish, sharks, and sea bass are all commonly caught at one time of year or another.  In the Gulf of Mexico just off the beaches Spanish and king mackerel, false albacore, cobia, and sharks are caught in the warmer months.  Giant tarpon are targeted May through July.  Further offshore, anglers bottom fish for tasty grouper and snapper.  Surf fishermen catch snook, whiting, flounder, mackerel, trout, and more right off the shore!


While anglers can experience good fishing on their own, going out on a fishing charter is a great way to increase the odds of success.  Local charter boat captains and guides have years of experience, safe comfortable boats, and are out there every day so they are current on conditions and species activity.  Capt Jim Klopfer runs Adventure Charters. A fishing guide since 1991, Capt Jim spends the majority of his time fishing around Lido Key. He is very much tuned in to the local fish migrations and conditions. That 20 years experience fishing these waters will help you catch more fish. Many visitors are novices and families with young children, Capt Jim is patient, easy-going, and friendly, ensuring a quality, relaxed angling experience. He can also accommodate seasoned anglers seeking more of a challenge such as snook, redfish, and tarpon.  To arrange a charter, Call Capt Jim at (941) 371-1390


Along with fishing adventures, Lido Key offers tourists plenty of other things to see and do.  St.Armands Circle is worls famous for it's fine dining and unique shopping.  Downtown Sarasota and it's shops, restaurants, and theatres is a short drive away.  Lido Key is a great family vacation destination, offering everyone something to do!

Photo: Fun morning fishing with the Walker family from Colorado.  Bill treated his daughter Kim and grand daughter Mariah to a trip.  The highlight was this shark that took all three to land.

Lido Key Fishing Charter

   Lido Key, FL offers visitors a wide variety of angling opportunities.  Freshwater river trips, inshore bay charters, and offshore excursions in the Gulf of Mexico are all options while on Lido Key.  While anglers can go at it on their own, the best way to experience the terrific fishing that this area offers is to go out on a Lido Key fishing charter with an experienced captain.  His knowledge and years of experience will pay off in action and fun!  Captain Jim Klopfer has been a full time guide, offering Siesta Key fishing charters for over twenty years.  He can be reached at (941) 371-1390 or

Photo: Capt. Jim Klopfer<br />
May 18, 2013<br />
Sarasota - Saltwater Fishing Report</p>
<p>Fishing was steady again this week, improving towards the end of the week. Friday and Saturday were both VERY good. Speckled trout to 26", silver trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, sea bass, ladyfish, jacks and more hit live shrimp, Gulp! Shrimp, and flies on the grass flats in Sarasota Bay. The deep grass north of Siesta Key to New Pass were the most productive for my clients this week. Silver trout continue to provide action and meals.</p>
<p>Bob Veierstahler, Larry Foeckler, and Allan Foeckler from Wisconsin had a good mixed-bag trip on Monday. The special caught included speckled trout to 18", silver trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, jack crevelle, ladyfish, and sailcats. Gulp! Shrimp and live shrimp worked equally well at the Radio Tower and Marina Jack flats.</p>
<p>Joel Herbert and Sammy Taylor from Pendleton, SC caught a lot of fish on Tuesday morning near Bird Key. We started off at the Radio Tower, where action was fair, with the boys landing a few trout and ladyfish. A move to a deep grass flat near Bird Key and free lining shrimp resulted in non-stop action on ladyfish, speckled trout to 18", and a couple of big mackerel that bit us off. We finished up at a nearby flat, landing several nice silver trout and a 17" speckled trout on Gulp! Shrimp.</p>
<p>On Wednesday and Thursday, Emmaly and Aaron Crouse from Park City, Utah did some fly fishing. Both are excellent anglers and good casters. On Wednesday we hit the Radio Tower, Marina Jack, and Bird Key flats, catching speckled trout, ladyfish, silver trout, and a snapper using chartreuse/white Clousers. On Thursday we header up north; the best spot was Helicopter Shoal, where several slot trout and large ladyfish took dark green/white and chartreuse/white Clousers. We finished up at the Marina Jack flat with several trout, ladyfish, and a Spanish mackerel.</p>
<p>The silver trout bite was terrific on Friday! Denise and Jim Markovic from Atlanta, GA caught a mess of these feisty fish using Gulp! Shrimp near Bird Key. They also caught a bunch of ladyfish, speckled trout, and sea bass free-lining live shrimp and casting Gulp! near Bird Key and in Big Pass.</p>
<p>Phil Steward, his wife Deb, and daughters Kate and Bethany fished with me on Saturday morning and had a great trip both in numbers and in quality. We made a quick drift at the Radio Tower, not much happening. A move to the Bird Key flats resulted in steady action on ladyfish, speckled trout to 18", and a Spanish mackerel. Action slowed, so we moved to a nearby reliable silver trout spot. Bethany had never used artificial lures before, but after a few minutes she started wrecking the silvers using Gulp! on a jig head. She also caught a 25" speckled trout! Kate added a 20" trout and a couple of silver trout. We finished up in Big Pass with non-stop action on ladyfish, mostly on shrimp but Phil caught several on fly.

   An inshore Sarasota Bay charter is by far the most popular Lido Key fishing charter.  It provides anglers with the best chance for both action and variety in calm, protected waters.  This is a great family trip and neither experience or skill is required to be successful.  Speckled trout, silver trout, Spanish mackerel, pompano, bluefish, flounder, sheepshead, sea bass, black drum, redfish, jack crevelle, ladyfish, and more are regular catches depending on the season.  Live bait and artificial lures are used on these Siesta Key fishing charters.  Clients seeking a fish dinner usually go home with enough filets for dinner.  The fish are cleaned and bagged at the end of the trip.

Photo: Capt. Jim Klopfer<br />
February 9, 2013<br />
Sarasota - Saltwater Fishing Report</p>
<p>Fishing was good during the first part of this week then slowed a bit after the front passed. John Lovely has "fish of the week" honors with a big snook he caught on Monday using a small live shrimp. The Middlegrounds, Country Club Shores, Marker # 5, and the Field Club were all reliable spots for mackerel, trout, bluefish, and ladyfish. Gold Cotee jigs produced a lot of fish, as did flies, Gulp!, and live shrimp. Creeks and canals are holding snook, snapper, drum, sheepshead, trout, and flounder.</p>
<p>On Monday afternoon John Lovely and Jay Lalley, both from Chicago, IL went out fishing. The charter went from decent to fantastic on the last cast as John hooked and landed a 38" snook on a live shrimp and 10 lb spinning tackle. The fish almost got back in the mangroves but somehow John turned it and brought it to the boat for a quick photo. Earlier they had sporadic action on bluefish, ladyfish, and Spanish mackerel using live shrimp at the Middlegrounds, Yacht Club Channel, and Field Club flat.</p>
<p>Earl Sharmon and Larry Mothershead from Wisconsin fished a 6 hour trip on Tuesday. We left the dock at 8:00 a.m. and since there was very little wind and tide I decided to give New Pass a try. Action was steady on Spanish mackerel and bluefish using gold cotee jigs. Action slowed after a couple of hours so we moved inside to the Middlegrounds and caught speckled trout to 17", ladyfish, mackerel, and a remora on jigs and Gulp! Shrimp. After a lunch break we worked some canals on Longboat Key and caught a pair of flounder to 15", several more trout, and lost a decent redfish using Gulp! Shrimp.</p>
<p>Ben Ciliberto from Philadelphia, PA did some fly fishing on Wednesday. We did not catch a ton of fish, but action was steady on Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, and speckled trout. Chartreuse Clousers caught fish at the Middlegrounds, Marker #5, Bird Key, and Field Club.</p>
<p>Jim Mitchell and his brother John from Minneapolis, MN had a great day on Thursday. We started off catching fish on every cast using Cotee jigs at the Middlegrounds and Country Club Shores. Most were ladyfish, but there were a few speckled trout and jack crevelle mixed in. We moved to the Bird Key flats and caught silver trout, speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, whiting, and ladyfish free-lining live shrimp. The wind kicked up so we found some protection from the breeze in canals on Siesta Key catching mangrove snapper to 12" and sheepshad to 2 pounds on shrimp.</p>
<p>Friday morning found me on the Myakka River with Mike Christman from Wisconson. A front had just passed and we were greeted with blue-bird skies and the snook were a bit fussy. We caught a few and missed one nice one. Still, great scenery and company make it a fun trip. </p>
<p>Gil Fitzgerald from Chicago and his buddy Mike fished with me on Saturday morning. A stiff northeast breeze and dirty water made for tough fishing. We worked hard for a pair of bluefish, several speckled trout, a Spanish mackerel, and some ladyfish using jigs, Gulp!, and live shrimp. The Field Club flat was the best spot.

   More experienced anglers may opt for a trip targeting snook, redfish, or even giant tarpon.  Mangrove shorelines, oyster bars, docks, and shallow flats will hold both snook and redfish.  Artificial lures are cast out towards likely fish-holding structure and retrieved back in a seductive manner, with hopes of eliciting a strike.  Live bait can also be used, particularly when large pilchards ( a shiny baitfish ) are available.  Tarpon school off of Siesta Key beaches in May, June, and July.  This is truly big game fishing and not for the faint of heart!  Fish to 200 pounds are sight cast to using heavy spinning and fly tackle.

Photo: Capt. Jim Klopfer<br />
May 25, 2013<br />
Sarasota - Saltwater Fishing Report</p>
<p>Fishing was good this week on a multitude of species using a variety of techniques. Trip of the week went to Chaz Boyter who caught a 10 lb false albacore and a 90 lb tarpon on Thursday. Along with those two species, silver trout, speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, jack crevelle, bluefish, sea bass, mangrove snapper, and ladyfish were caught by anglers using Rapalas, flies, Gulp! Shrimp, Cotee jigs, and live shrimp this week. This week was a great example of the diverse angling opportunities that Sarasota offers!</p>
<p>Jim Cooke and Jim Sluss from the Orlando, FL area booked an afternoon charter on Monday. Action was very good for silver trout. Using Gulp! Shrimp they put 16 in the box along with a 17" speckled trout near the Radio Tower. We finished up near Birk Key with sporadic action on trout and ladyfish.</p>
<p>Newlyweds Polly and Jimmy Braddy from Metter, GA experienced steady fishing on a variety of species on Tuesday morning. The silver trout bite was a bit slow, but we still caught a half dozen using Gulp! A move to the Radio Tower flat produced ladyfish, slot trout, and small trout using Gulp! and live shrimp. We finished up near Bird Key with a nice flurry of trout, bluefish, jack crevelle, and ladyfish free lining shrimp.</p>
<p>Bart Brass and his son Dr. Abe Brass from Peabody, MA used live shrimp and Gulp Shrimp to catch speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, sea bass, mangrove snapper, jack crevelle, and ladyfish near Big Pass on Wednesday.</p>
<p>Chaz Boyter from New Jersey caught two fish on Thursday. The first was a VERY large false albacore. We were on a tarpon trip and saw some bait fish fleeing. I decided to have Chaz troll a Rapala X-Rap and in short order he hooked and after a tough battle landed a big albie. Around 10:30 we spotted a small school of tarpon. After working the school for nearly an hour, we got a bite and Chaz landed a nice 90 pound tarpon. Great morning!!</p>
<p>Phil Steward from Pepperell, MA had a good trip on Friday morning. We headed up to Long Bar in search of a redfish, but the water was full of weeds and moss and it was blowing harder than forecast. Imagine that! We worked our way back south, just picking at small trout and ladyfish. We hit the jackpot at Bishop's Point as a bunch of tiny baitfish were being ravaged. For two hours Phil caught a fish on nearly every cast using an 8wt fly rod and various flies, the pattern really didn't matter. Anything small and white got crushed. Trout, ladyfish, bluefish, and jacks were all landed.</p>
<p>Chuck and Gretchen Green from Michigan, their son Tom, and Chucks dad David had an excellent trip on Saturday, despite breezy conditions. They wanted enough fish for dinner, so I hit my reliable silver trout spot near the Ringling Bridge. They put 10 in the box along with a keeper speckled trout and a pair of flounder using Gulp! Shrimp. Free lining live shrimp near Bird Key produced very steady action on ladyfish, jack crevelle, speckled trout, and three Spanish mackerel.

   Offshore fishing charters in the Gulf of Mexico provide anglers with the opportunity to catch tasty bottom fish such as grouper and snapper troll for king and Spanish mackerel.  Depending on the season and conditions, these fish can be as close in as one mile, but normally a run of around ten miles or so is required.  Several artificial reefs just a few miles off of Lido Key provide excellent action in the spring and fall for mackerel and bottom fish.

Photo: They aren't big, but they are tasty!!

   While saltwater fishing gets most of the attention, the area offers excellent freshwater river fishing charters for snook, bass, and other species.  The Myakka River, Peace River, and Manatee River offer outstanding fishing in the cooler months when the water is low and fish migrate up to keep warm.

Photo: Capt. Jim Klopfer<br />
January 26, 2013<br />
Sarasota - Saltwater Fishing Report</p>
<p>Another week of good, and diverse fishing in Sarasota! I started off in the Myakka River catching several snook near 30" and a bunch of smaller ones from 18" to 25" on gold Rapala X-Raps and Husky Jerks with my wife Christine. Monday was a bit breezy as a front was approaching but ladyfish bit good in Robert's Bay and near Midnight Pass. Tuesday and Wednesday were cool and breezy, no fishing or me. I finished up the week doing well at the Middlegrounds, Helicopter Shoal, and Buttonwood catching nice Spanish mackerel and keeper trout. Shrimp, Cotee jigs, Gulp!, and Rapalas all caught fish this week.</p>
<p>The week started off good fishing the Myakka River on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. I took a day off and my wife Christine and I fished and camped on the river. Snook to 30" hit Rapala X-Raps and Husky Jerks, gold was the best color. Chris also caught a decent bass and I missed another.</p>
<p>On Monday Tim Wilhelm from Ann Arbor, MI took out his son Zach, daughter Georgia, and nephew Leo out. It was a bit breezy but they caught a bunch of ladyfish in Robert's Bay and the flats near Midnight Pass free lining live shrimp and casting gold Cotee jigs. They also caught sheepshead and mangrove snapper in Phillippi Creek.</p>
<p>Dave Buckley and his cousin Jerry from Gettysburg, PA fished with me later this week. On Thursday we went north from Centennial Park, hitting the Middlegrounds, Moorings, Bishop's Pt, and Helicopter Shoal. Action was steady on speckled trout to 18", big ladyfish, a flounder, and a nice Spanish mackerel landed and a couple more that bit us off. Gold Cotee jigs and Glow Gulp! Shrimp on 3/8 ounce jig heads fooled them.</p>
<p>On Friday Greg Pratt, his wife Patty and their friends Kristi and Chuck Barton, all from Middletown, OH had a good day fishing the flats in north Sarasota Bay. Things started off a bit slow with a few small trout and a couple of ladyfish at the Middlegrounds and Moorings. It was slick calm and there was no drift at all. We worked our way north and got into some good action off of Buttonwood Harbor. 4 Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds and 3 slot trout went in the box. They also caught small trout, ladyfish, and a bluefish. Trolled Rapalas, Cotee jigs, Gulp! Shrimp and live shrimp all produced. Great fun and a nice mess of fish for dinner!