Good Tarpon Action in Sarasota
<p>I have been off the water for the last couple of weeks, so I don't have a local fishing report. However, tarpon fishing has been strong in Sarasota as schools of fish have increased in size and numbers during that time frame. Tarpon will head offshore to spawn on this weekend's new moon and will return to the beach within a few days as singles, doubles and smaller schools giving fly anglers good opportunities.
Use tackle heavy enough to land them as quickly as possible. When using conventional tackle, I use 7', 30 to 40-lb class spinning rods and Quantum Boca or Cabo 60 reels with 50-pound Power Pro braid. According to Florida law, tarpon longer than 40" must remain in the water. Dragging a tarpon up onto the gunnel of your boat could damage internal organs and result in their death. After landing a tarpon, they should be properly revived by pulling them slowly alongside your boat to move water through their gills until they are strong enough to swim away.
I travel well offshore of the beach at first light in the morning to avoid disturbing schools of tarpon that may be traveling or "laid up" close to the beach. Once I've reached the area I intend to fish, I'll ease into the beach with an electric trolling motor and set up in my spot, either anchoring or drifting, depending on conditions. Set up in travel lanes along the beach and cast live crabs, baitfish, DOA Baitbusters and Swimming Mullet to them. The new CAL 4" Shad Tail with an Owner Beast 6/0 weedless hook is a good tarpon lure, especially when sight fishing in shallow water. I often drift a couple of live baits under a float while waiting for tarpon schools to pass by.
When fly fishing, I use 12-weight rods and large arbor reels capable of holding at least 300-yards of backing and cast a variety of baitfish, shrimp or crab fly patterns fished on floating or intermediate sink tip fly lines. The shallower the water, the easier it is to get your fly in front of a fish when fly fishing. Stake out or anchor in travel lanes to get shots at them. Give other anglers at least 200-yards of space. Since fish may be moving both north and south, setting up too close to another angler may negatively affect their fishing.
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 or in the surf with flies and DOA Lures should also be good. Look for reds, snook and big trout mixed with mullet schools or cruising shallow flats and edges of bars in Sarasota Bay or backcountry areas of Charlotte Harbor and lower Tampa Bay. Trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and more should be good options 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
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 CBís 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 18í 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.