Good Red, Snook and Trout Action in Southwest Florida
<p>Shallow water action with reds and trout was good during the past couple of weeks. Anglers fishing Sarasota Bay, Gasparilla Sound, the ICW near Venice and the Terra Ceia Bay area with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action with catch and release snook, reds and trout on flies and jigs. We also caught a few scattered Spanish mackerel, blues and pompano mixed with trout on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay.
Glen Elia, from CT, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday afternoon, 2/20. The action wasn't fast, but he caught and released a few trout on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly along the east side of the bay. Wes Demmon, from Chicago, fished Terra Ceia Bay with me on Tuesday, 2/21. He caught and released 3 nice reds to 26" on CAL jigs with shad tails and about a dozen trout on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly. Tony Merlis, from NH, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday, 2/22. It was Tony's first time fly fishing in saltwater and he did well. He caught and released trout to 17" and Spanish mackerel on an Ultra Hair Clouser fly along the west side of the bay.
The best trip that week was when Keith McClintock, from Lake Forest, IL, and Gary Roberts, from Bradenton, fished the Terra Ceia Bay area with me on Thursday, 2/23. They caught and released 7 reds to 24", 3 snook and a few trout on CAL jigs with shad tails. A great trip! With water temperatures in the mid 70's on shallow flats, especially in back country areas, we are seeing snook moving onto shallow flats to feed.
Longboat Key and Sarasota winter residents, Nick Reding and Mike Perez, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday, 2/24. It was very windy, so we waded several flats and bars along the west side of Sarasota Bay and caught and released a pair of reds and a few trout on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly.
Longboat Key winter resident, Pat Decastro, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Monday, 2/27. We fished skinny water on the east side of the bay hunting reds and trout where Pat caught and released a 24", 5-pound trout on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly! He also caught a few other trout to 19" over deep grass near Buttonwood Harbor. Big trout have been plentiful in shallow water. Since these big fish are usually females that are full of roe this time of year, it is important to handle then gently and release them quickly.
Joe Stevens and his friend, Rob, from MI, fished Gasparilla Sound in Charlotte Harbor with me on Tuesday, 2/28. I poled a couple of sand bars where we had shots at numerous big trout, reds and snook but they were very spooky and hard to get a fly or jig in front of. However, they did well fishing deep grass near Sandfly and Three Sisters Keys where they caught numerous trout to 19" on CAL jigs with shad tails, DOA Deadly Combos and Ultra Hair Clouser flies.
Martin Marlowe, from NY, fished the ICW near Venice with me on Wednesday evening, 2/29. He caught and released 6 or 7 snook to 26", several trout and a bluefish. Blues will sometimes invade bridge fender lights at night in the winter months. Snook were being finicky that night, so I downsized the fly to an EP Micro Minnow fly, which did the trick. Downsizing the fly or leader is often the solution for picky fish.
Nick Reding, from Longboat Key, FL, and Sarasota winter resident, Mike Perez, waded a couple of flats on both sides of Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday, 3/1. The action wasn't fast but we caught and released a 4-pound trout on a Deceiver fly and a nice red and pompano on my Grassett Flats Minnow fly.
Next week's tides are favorable for reds, trout and more on both shallow and deep grass flats as we approach a full moon. Reds and trout should move over shallow grass at the top of the tide, especially on sunny afternoons. Catch and release night snook fishing in the ICW should also be a good option. Check the coastal gulf for Spanish mackerel, false albacore (little tunny), tripletail and more when conditions are good. I'll be doing a presentation on "Fly Fishing for Tarpon" on the AAA Casting Pond at 3:30 PM at the Tampa Tribune Outdoors Expo on Sunday afternoon, 3/3. I'll also be at the DOA Fishing Lures booth prior to speaking if you want to stop by to say hello to Mark Nichols and me and check out the latest DOA products.
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com
Martin Marlowe's Venice Grassett Snook Minnow fly night snook caught and released with Capt. Rick Grassett.
Wes Demmon's Terra Ceia Bay CAL jig red caught and released 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.