Good Action in Sarasota and Tampa Bay
<p>Fishing can be good in late August and September as long as you fish smart. For most species this usually means fishing early in the day, before heat is an issue. There are also some seasonal things that start to happen now, such as false albacore (little tunny) and tripletail, which could be a good option later in the day when visibility is better. Although his is an "in between" time of year when there aren't a lot of people around, it gives me a chance to fish personally.
I spent some time recently scouting and found baitfish plentiful in the coastal gulf with Spanish mackerel feeding in them. I also found a tripletail that pounced on my DOA Shrimp! Bill Fox, from GA, fished a couple of pre-dawn snook/coastal gulf trips with me on Thursday and Friday, 8/18 and 19. He had good action both days but Thursday was the better morning when he caught and released 8 or 10 snook and a bonus redfish on my Grassett Snook Minnow and shrimp fly patterns on the pre-dawn portion of the trip. With the hardest 2/3 of a slam under his belt, we moved to some deep flats where he caught a couple of trout on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly to complete his slam! He also had steady action catching and releasing Spanish mackerel to 18" in the coastal gulf on Ultra Hair Clouser and glass minnow fly patterns.
Rusty Chinnis, from Longboat Key, FL, invited Steve Traves, owner of Anna Maria Island Outfitters and me to fish with him on Monday, 8/22. Conditions were great; not much wind and sunny. We had fast action with false albacore in Tampa Bay, each catching and releasing several albies on a variety of Clouser, EP and my Grassett Snook Minnow flies. There were also lots of Spanish mackerel in the mix but we avoided them in lieu of their larger cousins, some of which were as big as 12-pounds.
With baitfish being the key, it could be an early fall season for us. Baitfish are plentiful in the coastal gulf now and it is usually just a matter of time before this kind of action is happening up and down our coast. False albacore are one of my favorite fly rod species; right up there with tarpon, snook, bonefish and reds. They hit hard and easily strip off 100-yds or more of backing on smoking runs. It's also very visual, with these speedsters annihilating tiny baitfish on the surface!
Although structure isn't that plentiful this time of year, I also find some tripletail in various places. Look for them around channel markers, buoys, crab trap floats or floating debris, such as palm fronds. Once you've found one, it's a sight-fishing game with them, too. An accurate cast with a DOA Shrimp or a variety of fly patterns usually works well.
Action should be good with Spanish mackerel and false albacore (little tunny) in the coastal gulf and Tampa Bay depending on conditions. Snook season is closed now on the west coast of Florida, but catch and release night snook fishing around lighted docks and bridges in the ICW with flies and DOA Lures should also be good. You might also find a few juvenile tarpon and reds in the lights along with snook. In addition, there should be good action with trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay.
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB's Saltwater Outfitters
Orvis Outfitter of the Year-2011
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.snookfin-addict.com, www.snookfinaddict.com and www.flyfishingflorida.us
Bill Fox, from GA, with a snook caught and released on a fly while fishing dock lights in Sarasota Bay with Capt. Rick Grassett.
Rusty Chinnis, from Longboat Key, FL, with a false albacore caught and released on a fly while fishing Tampa Bay.
About The Author: Captain Rick Grassett
Company: Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
Area Reporting: Soutwest Florida
Bio: Capt. Rick Grassett, owner of Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc., is a full time fishing guide and outdoor writer based in Sarasota, FL. He has been guiding since 1990 and is an Orvis Endorsed Outfitter fly fishing guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters in Sarasota. Specializing in fishing with flies and lures on light spinning tackle, Capt. Rick fishes the bays, back country and coastal gulf waters from Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor in his 18’ Action Craft flats boat. He is a Federation of Fly Fishers certified fly casting instructor. Destination fishing trips are another specialty of Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service. Capt. Rick has lead groups of fly anglers to remote fishing locations around the world. Crane Meadow Lodge, MT, Los Roques, Venezuela, Andros Island Bonefish Club and Bonefish Bay Club in the Bahamas are several destinations where he has hosted groups in the past. Capt. Rick is a field editor for Saltwater Angler magazine and a monthly columnist for the Tampa Tribune. He has written articles for The Fisherman magazine and Orvis News. In addition to writing for these publications, he has been featured in articles in Florida Sportsman, Sportfishing, The Fisherman and Fly Fishing in Saltwater magazines. Capt. rick's web site, www.snookfin-addict.com features weekly fishing reports, current photos and and monthly fishing forecasts. He also maintains a second website that is specific to fly fishing and fly casting instruction, www.flyfishingflorida.net.