Good Action on Sarasota Bay Grass Flats and Coastal Gulf of Mexico
<p>Action exploded in the coastal gulf early in the week of 12/20 as a variety of species gorged themselves in bait balls. Anglers fishing with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released snook, redfish, trout, blues, Spanish mackerel and jacks in Sarasota Bay and tripletail, cobia, Spanish mackerel and false albacore in the coastal gulf on flies, CAL jigs with shad tails, DOA Shrimp and top water plugs during the past couple of weeks. Sea conditions in the coastal gulf were tough with wind and rough water some days, but when we've been able to get out there we had good action with false albacore and tripletail.
Dylan Lewis, from CO and his dad, Gary Lewis, fished the coastal gulf with me on Sunday, 12/20. This trip was rescheduled from the previous Friday due to rain, wind and rough water but it was worth it. They had good action catching and releasing numerous Spanish mackerel, several tripletail, a couple of cobia and false albacore on flies, CAL jigs with shad tails, DOA Shrimp and top water plugs.
My personal best day ever guiding for false albacore, and also my clients personal best, was in the coastal gulf on Tuesday. 12/22 with John Collins, from CA, Greg Weatherby from RI and Peter Weatherby, from Jupiter, FL. They had fantastic action catching and releasing false albacore on Ultra Hair Clouser flies, my Grassett Snook Minnow and epoxy glass minnow fly patterns. The action, which included several doubles, got better and better as the day went on and we left them biting. A great day!
We were met with winds blowing more than 20-mph on Wednesday, 12/23, so that trip was rescheduled. I fished Sarasota Bay with Jerry Roth, from Orlando, FL, on Christmas Eve day, 12/24. Jerry loves to fish with top water plugs and with overcast conditions and a flood tide when we started, conditions were good for that. He fished a surface walking plug, had numerous "blow ups", hooked 3 snook and landed 2 to 30". Great action!
Tom Neal and his dad, Jim, from Ontario, Canada fished Sarasota Bay and the coastal gulf with me on Monday, 12/28. With a big swell conditions weren't great in the coastal gulf, but we found a few tripletail and Tom caught and released his first on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly. We moved to Sarasota Bay, where they had some action catching and releasing trout and ladyfish at the Middleground flat on Ultra Hair Clouser flies and CAL jigs with shad tails.
I was the speaker at the newly formed Pine Island Fly Fishing Club at the Matlacha Community Center on Monday evening. It was refreshing to speak to a group of about 60 enthusiastic fly anglers that also included a couple of clients. Bill Anderson and his son Sam, from OH, had good action catching and releasing nice jacks on flies, fly poppers and top water plugs while fishing a deep grass flat just inside Big Pass with me on Tuesday.
Keith McClintock and his grandson Garrett Anderson, both from IL, had good action in Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday, 12/30. Garrett started the day with his first snook, caught and released on a CAL jig with a shad tail while we worked some docks along the east side of the bay. We moved to a deep grass flat where they had some action catching and releasing trout and bluefish on CAL jigs with shad tails. Garrett finished the day by catching and releasing his first red, also on a CAL jig with a shad tail, while we worked the edge of a bar at the bottom of the tide. Great job! Bob Feldman, from Las Vegas, NV, joined Keith for the afternoon and they had some action catching and releasing trout on CAL jigs with shad tails fishing deep grass flats on the west side of the bay with me.
Dylan and Lindsey Lewis, from CO, fished the coastal gulf and Sarasota Bay with me on the last trip of the year on Thursday, New Year's Eve day. 12/31. After a couple of rough water days in the coastal gulf we were pleasantly surprised to find good conditions, so we took advantage of it. We hunted tripletail, cast to 5 or 6 fish and caught and released 1 on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly. We moved to the bay where, after fishing a few spots, they had good action catching and releasing numerous blues, Spanish mackerel and trout on Ultra Hair Clouser flies. A great way to finish the year!
With water temperatures in the mid 70's, false albacore, tripletail, cobia, Spanish mackerel, blues and more should still be a good option in the coastal gulf when sea conditions are good. Catch and release snook fishing around lighted docks and bridges with flies and DOA Lures should also be a good option. Look for reds, snook and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats and edges of bars in Sarasota Bay and backcountry areas of Charlotte Harbor and lower Tampa 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
Jerry Roth, from Orlando, FL, with a 30
Lindsey Lewis, from CO, with a Spanish mackerel caught and released on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly while fishing Sarasota Bay with Capt. Rick Grassett.
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.