Sarasota Bay or Tarpon Good Options Depending on Conditions
<p>Anglers fishing Sarasota Bay with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released trout and snook on CAL jigs with plastic tails and top water plugs and jumped several tarpon on live pinfish and crabs in the coastal gulf during the past 10 days. Although a persistent west wind kept us from tarpon fishing in the coastal gulf on most days, we found protection from the wind on the west side of Sarasota Bay and had some action.
A group of 8 anglers consisting of Keith McClintock and Barry Slee, from Lake Forest, IL, Paul Browring, from the UK, Dave Kinnamon, from Milwaukee, WI, Dan Kinnamon, from Miami, FL, Greg Short, from OH and Steven Liska and his friend, Matt, from NJ, fished Tuesday through Friday, 5/29-6/1 with Capt. Andy Cotton, Capt. Kelly Stilwell, Capt. Jack Hartman and me. The week started off with west wind from tropical storm Beryl and with an approaching front the wind continued out of the west all week long. Some of the group spent some time tarpon fishing in a couple of areas in Sarasota Bay and Tampa Bay and had a few bites on live crabs and pinfish but no hook ups. Capt. Jack's boat caught and released a 24" grouper in Tampa Bay one day. Capt. Kelly ventured out onto the beach the same day off Anna Maria with Barry while the rest of us fished the inside waters of Tampa Bay. Although conditions were tough, they doubled on tarpon with a threadfin and a crab and landed one of the fish. The group also caught and released snook, trout, bluefish, jacks and a red on CAL jigs, flies and top water plugs during the week in Roberts Bay and near Bishop Point and Buttonwood Harbor.
Although the wind continued out of the west, it dropped enough to allow us to get out into the coastal gulf a couple of days earlier this week. Everette and Sherry Howell, from Nashville, TN, tarpon fished with me on Sunday and Monday, 6/3 & 4. They had good action on Sunday, jumping 4 tarpon on pinfish and live crabs and fighting one for almost an hour before it wore through the 80-pound fluorocarbon leader. Tarpon were plentiful and moving fast, but by setting up in their travel lane and keeping baits in the water we were successful. We also spent some time in shallow water that day where Everette had numerous shots at tarpon with a fly. Conditions weren't as good on Monday as west winds increased and sea conditions deteriorated. Tarpon didn't show as well, although we jumped one on a live crab that day.
Although a normal weather pattern this time of year is an east wind in the morning switching to an afternoon sea breeze, occasionally the wind will shift to a westerly flow. Usually this is the result of a tropical disturbance or a late season cold front. However, when conditions aren't good in the coastal gulf to tarpon fish, we can usually find some protected waters to fish for other species in Sarasota Bay. There are also a few inside areas to find tarpon in Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor when conditions aren't good in the gulf.
When conditions allow us to get back into the gulf to tarpon fish, they should be hungry. Look for schools of tarpon at first light in the morning in deeper areas along beaches. Spin anglers may hook up with live crabs, pinfish, DOA 4" shrimp, Baitbusters and Swimming Mullet. Fly anglers should do best in shallower water with baitfish fly patterns such as Lefty's Deceiver and EP flies in dark colors fished on intermediate sink tip fly lines.
Capt. Rick Grassett
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis- Endorsed Outfitter Guide
CB's Saltwater Outfitters-2011 Orvis Outfitter of the Year
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com
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.