Good Tarpon Action in Sarasota
<p>Anglers fishing with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action, jumping and catching and releasing tarpon on a fly and on live crabs and a variety of baitfish in the coastal gulf in Sarasota during the past couple of weeks. Tarpon action was strong coming off the full moon. Large schools of tarpon were plentiful most days giving anglers lots of action.
I had a group of anglers' tarpon fishing with me during the week of 5/25, along with Capt. Andy Cotton and Capt. Jack Hartman. Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL was joined by Jack McCulloch, from Lakewood Ranch, FL for a day early in the week and Stephen Liska, from Naples, FL for a couple of days later in the week on my boat. The group had good action with multiple hookups, jumped fish and several fish caught and released on live crabs and a variety of baitfish in the coastal gulf in Sarasota. Conditions were great with an east wind pattern, good sunlight and fishing got better as the week progressed. Everyone finished strong on Friday with multiple jumped and landed fish. A great week!
Fly anglers Hal Lutz, from Parish, FL, and Jeb Mulock, from Bradenton, FL, tarpon fished with me on Mon and Tues, 6/1 and 2. It was slow to start but the action picked up in the afternoon and Jeb hooked up with a nice tarpon. He successfully fought the fish through numerous jumps until he had her at the side of the boat. His first tarpon landed on fly!
We were rained and clouded out on Tuesday, 6/2's fly fishing trip after a couple of hours and fly anglers on Wednesday, 6/3 had numerous shots and a bite, but didn't hook up. Dave Reinhart and Domenick Raschella, both from VA, tarpon fished with me on Thurs and Fri, 6/3 and 4. They had good action both days with numerous bites, several jumped tarpon and one tarpon landed on live crabs.
With tarpon fishing in full swing, it's a good time to talk about etiquette. When I started doing this almost 30-years ago, anglers hunted for and found their own schools of tarpon. You never fished a school of tarpon that another angler was fishing unless invited in and if they were fly fishing, not at all. We leap-frogged schools of tarpon with everyone getting their shots and if it was a slow moving school, we yielded to the angler already working the school.
In addition to those principles, here are a few other rules that I follow. When fishing in shallow water, usually 6' or less, I don't run an outboard at all unless going to or leaving a spot or following a hooked fish. Tarpon are extremely sensitive to outboard and even trolling motor noise in shallow water. I may use a trolling motor sparingly, usually only as an assist to a push pole and never within a couple of hundred feet of tarpon. Give other anglers 200-yards or more in a "lane" where tarpon may be traveling, keeping in mind that tarpon may be traveling both south and north. The most productive technique in shallow water is usually to anchor, be quiet and adjust your spot if necessary.
When fishing deeper water, 10' to 25', I don't get between other anglers and the tarpon they are working. Give other anglers 200-yards or more of space when picking a spot to intercept tarpon. Don't run an outboard within a hundred yards or more of tarpon, especially if other anglers are working them (a four-stroke outboard is no substitute for an electric trolling motor) and lastly, if a school of tarpon is moving slowly enough that another angler is moving at the same speed with them, I stay off them until the tarpon school moves past them. If everyone treats other anglers with the same respect that they would expect, everyone will have an enjoyable experience and a fair chance at catching a tarpon.
Tarpon fishing in the coastal gulf should be strong as we head into June and the heart of the tarpon season. Catch and release sight fishing for snook in the surf with flies or DOA Lures should also be a good option. You may find trout, Spanish mackerel, blues or pompano on deep grass flats, particularly close to passes. Look for reds, snook and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats and edges of bars.
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
Jeb Mulock, from Bradenton, FL, with his first tarpon caught and released on a fly while fishing the coastal gulf in Sarasota with Capt. Rick Grassett.
Domenick Raschella, from VA, with a tarpon cuaght and released on a live crab while fishing the coastal gulf in Sarasota 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.