Hot 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 very good action, jumping and catching and releasing tarpon on live baits and DOA Baitbusters on spinning tackle in the coastal gulf in Sarasota during the past couple of weeks.
I was also over at River Palms Cottages & Fish Camp, in Jensen Beach, on the east coast of Florida, for a few days early in the week of 6/7 for the annual DOA Guide & Outdoor Writer Festival. DOA guides from Florida and other areas of the southeast were matched up with outdoor writers, magazine editors, TV show hosts and sponsors to fish for a couple of days.
Outdoor writer Pete Barrett, from Jupiter, FL and Michael "Mookie" Wilson, outdoor writer for the Lakeland Ledger, fished the Indian River near Ft. Pierce with me on Monday, 6/7 and Florida Outdoor Writers Association (FOWA) executive director, Capt. Tommy Thompson, fished the Indian River near Jensen Beach with me on Tuesday, 6/8. The action wasn't fast but we caught and released trout to 4-pounds, bluefish and snapper on DOA Shrimp, CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms. The best action was working bait schools around spoil bars and docks.
A special thanks to Mark Nichols, Capt. Ed Zyak, Chris and everyone at DOA Fishing Lures that helped make this happen. Also, thanks to Rufus Wakeman for hosting us at River Palms Cottages and Fish Camp and the other sponsors of the event, Costa Del Mar sunglasses, Tailing Toads, Eagle Claw, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Shimano, Power Pro, Custom Gheenoe Boats and Hoo Rag (apologies to anyone left out but I probably forgot someone).
A huge rain storm before dawn on Thursday morning, 6/10 left the coastal gulf too rough to fish, but Cliff Ondercin, from Sarasota and his dad Dennis Ondercin, from OH, made up for it on Friday, 6/11. With overcast conditions and a big swell to start, we weren't seeing many fish at all, just an occasional single here or there. However, tarpon were there in numbers and we had great action jumping 6 tarpon, landing 2 and getting a few other bites by drifting live crabs or baitfish behind the boat. Dennis's first fish of the day taped out at a 34" girth X 68" length for an estimated weight of 115-lbs. A great day!
Cliff Ondercin, from Sarasota, FL and his dad Dennis Ondercin, from OH, tarpon fished in the coastal gulf with me Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 6/15, 16 and 17 and picked up where they left off with the banner day that they had on Friday. The pattern of not seeing many tarpon schools and just an occasional single here or there continued.
However tarpon were there and they had great action jumping 10 and catching and releasing 5 of them. Two of the tarpon were jumped with DOA Baitbusters and the others by drifting live crabs and baitfish. Dennis caught and released his personal best tarpon, which taped out at a 38" girth X 72" length for an estimated weight of 145-lbs! A fly angler also had good action getting lots of shots at tarpon later in the week.
Tarpon fishing in the coastal gulf should continue to be strong as long as conditions remain good. 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
Cliff Ondercin, from Sarasota, FL , jumps a tarpon caught and released on a live bait in the coastal gulf in Sarasota while fishing with Capt. Rick Grassett.
Capt. Rick Grassett leaders a tarpon caught and released in the coastal gulf in Sarasota on a live pinfish while fishing 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.