Fast Action in Sarasota Bay & coastal Gulf of Mexico
<p>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, trout, redfish and flounder in Sarasota Bay and false albacore (little tunny), Spanish mackerel and tripletail in the coastal gulf off Siesta Key and Longboat Key on lures and flies during the past couple of weeks.
Outdoor writer Jan Maizler, from Miami, FL, fished Sarasota Bay and the coastal gulf with me on Friday and Saturday, 10/12 and 13. We had good action with snook on lighted docks before dawn, catching and releasing 6 or 7 snook to 29" on CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms and DOA Tiny TerrorEyz. We often "match the hatch" by duplicating the size and shape of baitfish with our lures and flies and the DOA Tiny TerorEyz is a great choice when fish are eating glass minnows. We also fished deep grass flats in several places on the east side of the bay and caught and released trout to 18" , jacks and a flounder on CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms. We fished the coastal gulf off Siesta and Casey Keys on Friday, 10/12 and caught and released numerous small mackerel on CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms and had a few shots at a tripletail.
We fished shallow water in north Sarasota Bay on Saturday, 10/13 and caught and released a "slam" including several snook, numerous trout and a red, also on CAL jigs with a variety of plastic tails. We finished with a bang, catching and releasing numerous Spanish mackerel in the 3 to 4-pound class and false albacore to more than 10-pounds on top water plugs and CAL jigs with shad tails off Longboat Key!
Brian Logun, from Marietta, GA, fished Sarasota Bay and the coastal gulf with me on Monday and Tuesday, 10/15 and 16. He caught and released a couple of snook to 27", a 19" flounder and a few trout on CAL jigs with grub tails in shallow water in north Sarasota Bay on Monday, 10/15. We also spent some time in the coastal gulf where he caught and released Spanish mackerel to 5-pounds on flies and top water plugs. His son, Sam, joined us on Tuesday, 10/16 and we headed straight for the fast action in the gulf. They caught and released numerous Spanish mackerel in the 4 to 5-pound class and a couple of false albacore to 10-pounds on top water plugs and CAL jigs with shad tails. Great action!
Billy Bleeker, from CO, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday, 10/17. He wanted to tune up his fly casting skills, so we worked on that while we cast to edges of bars in shallow water. He caught and released a 19" trout on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly near Big Pass.
The action continued on Thursday, 10/18 when fly anglers Cam Dilley, from Tampa, FL and John Green, from Clearwater, FL, fished Sarasota Bay and the coastal gulf with me. We fished shallow water in north Sarasota Bay where they each caught and released a snook on my Grassett Flats Bunny fly. We headed into the coastal gulf mid morning and found lots of Spanish mackerel and false albacore feeding on the surface. They caught and released numerous Spanish mackerel to 3-pounds and a pair of albies to 10-pounds on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly.
Orvis Rod and Tackle marketing director, Tom Rosenbauer, and Tom Bie, editor of The Drake fly fishing magazine, fished the coastal gulf off Longboat Key with me on Friday afternoon, 10/19 and Saturday, 10/20. Fish were picky, but we stuck with them and were successful. On Friday, 10/19 they caught and released about 10 Spanish mackerel, a false albacore and a tripletail. The mackerel and albie were caught with my Grassett Snook Minnow and epoxy glass minnow fly patterns. We also had shots at 3 tripletail, hooked 2 and landed 1on a brown and orange Grassett Flats Minnow fly. With stone crab traps plentiful in the coastal gulf, tripletail fishing is a good option when conditions are good.
With an approaching front, action was hot on Saturday, 10/20! We dodged mackerel schools in favor of the much larger and stronger albies. They caught and released 7 or 8 albies on epoxy glass minnow and Grassett Snook Minnow fly patterns. Tom Rosenbauer and I fished on Sunday, 10/21 following the front. As is often the case, fishing can be challenging immediately following a front. Spanish mackerel schools were up and down in a matter of seconds making them tough to get a shot at. We hunted until we found a few small schools of albies working in a small area. They were also tough to get on, but if you got a fly into the school they would eat. We caught and released 3 albies and had a couple of other hook ups on epoxy glass minnow fly patterns and my Grassett Snook Minnow fly.
On a scouting trip on Wednesday, 10/24 we found plentiful Spanish mackerel and albies in the coastal gulf but found them very tough to get to eat due to the tiny "snot baits" (tiny, clear minnows only about 1" long) that they were eating. We managed to hook a couple of albies and land 1 in a few hours of fishing. Fish had a change of attitude on Thursday, 10/25 when Sarasota winter resident, Tom Lamb, fished the coastal gulf with me. He caught numerous Spanish mackerel and an albie on CAL jigs with shad tails. The main difference that day was that predators had baitfish schooled into bait balls as they recklessly crashed through them.
Following the passing of Hurricane Sandy this weekend here will be a significant cool down.
Fishing for false albacore, Spanish mackerel, tripletail and more in the coastal gulf should continue to get better as the water cools and baitfish schools become more concentrated. Shallow water fishing for reds, trout and snook should also continue to improve as it gets cooler.
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
Capt. Rick Grassett Sarasota Bay DOA Tiny TerrorEyz 29
Tom Bie Sarasota Grassett Snook Minnow fly false albacore
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.