Hot Action in Sarasota Bay and coastal Gulf
<p>Action was good in Sarasota Bay and in the coastal gulf during the past couple of weeks. 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 trout, reds, flounder, bluefish, pompano and Spanish mackerel on DOA and CAL lures and flies. Fly anglers had great action with albies (little tunny) in the coastal gulf.
"What is an albie?" a couple of people have asked recently. They are little tunny, known as false albacore or albies to anglers from the Carolinas to New England and called bonito in Florida. There is a pilgrimage of fly anglers every fall to Harker's Island, NC (Cape Lookout) where hundreds of anglers gather to fly fish for false albacore or albies, which is where I was introduced to fly fishing for them. They are one of my favorite fish to catch on a fly and we also have a great fishery for them here in the fall and spring. Unlike some other areas, we also have good options for bay and flats fishing if sea conditions in the coastal gulf are rough.
Tony Ryan, from Osprey, FL, and Rich Carroll, from North Port, FL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Saturday, 11/12. Following a front the day before, it was cool to start but it warmed up quickly. They caught and released trout, blues, flounder and a nice red on CAL jig with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos at Stephens Point and near Buttonwood Harbor. Bill Moore and his son Mark Moore, from the Chicago area, fished the same areas with me on Sunday, 11/13. They had good action with trout, blues and Spanish mackerel on CAL jigs and DOA Deadly Combos.
Wes Demmon, also from the Chicago area, fished Sarasota Bay with me on a foggy morning on Tuesday, 11/15. We caught and released trout on CAL: jigs with shad tails near Bird Key while we waited for heavy fog to lift enough so we could go into the coastal gulf. He caught and released a few mackerel on flies and Diamond jigs and had some shots at albies. Wes also had a shot at a big tripletail as we ran a crab trap line on our way back.
Denis Clohisy, from WI, and Pat DeCastro, from OH, fished several days with me from Thursday through Saturday. With an approaching front, we were still able to get out into the coastal gulf on Thursday, 11/17. They had good action with Spanish mackerel and ladyfish on Ultra Hair Clouser flies in Big Pass and then we went and hunted albies in the coastal gulf. We located some feeding fish but they were still being picky like they were earlier in the week. We stuck with them and they had 3 hookups, one on a Clouser, one on a Crease fly and one on my Snook Minnow fly and landed one that day. The action ended that day with 2 or 3 big bait balls being crashed by mackerel, albies and sharks. An awesome sight!
Friday, 11/18 was very windy and we weren't able to fish the gulf that day so we fished the east side of Sarasota Bay. Despite winds gusting more than 20 mph they still had decent action. They caught and released numerous trout, 4 reds and a couple of flounder on Ultra Hair Clouser flies and CAL jigs with shad and grub tails. Conditions improved on Saturday, 11/19 and we were able to get back into the coastal gulf. Albies were plentiful and in a better mood that day, staying up longer and giving us a chance to get a fly in front of them. They hooked 6 fish and landed 4, all on a tan Grassett Snook Minnow. The fish were mostly in the 10-lb class and went deep into their backing. A good day!
Albies were picky at first on Monday, 11/21 but as the day went by they stayed up longer and got more aggressive. We hooked 7 or 8 and landed 5 or 6 up to 10-lbs on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. Norm and Francie Boardman, from Sarasota, fished with me on Tuesday, 11/22. Macks and albies churned the water to a froth yet were very picky due to the size of the glass minnows they were feeding on. They hooked a couple and landed an albie and several Spanish mackerel on my Snook Minnow fly and CAL jigs with shad tails.
Everything came together on Weds, 11/23 when Everette Howell, from Nashville, TN and his son, Kirk Howell from NYC, fished the coastal gulf with me. An approaching front had macks and albies on a feeding binge and they ate our flies almost as well as the glass minnows they were feeding on. They hooked 14 or 15 albies and landed 10 or 11 up to 12-pounds on my Snook Minnow fly. A great day!
Bill Beauchamp, from Bradenton, FL, son-in-law Brian Earnest, from TX, and Dakota Tracy, from Bradenton, FL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday, 11/25. Conditions were good although the wind came up in the afternoon. We fished the east side of the bay and near Buttonwood Harbor where they caught and released numerous trout to 4-lbs, several flounder, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, pompano and a red on CAL jigs with a variety of plastic tails and DOA Deadly Combos.
Next week's negative low tides in the morning should concentrate reds and trout in potholes of Sarasota Bay. Fishing the coastal gulf should continue to be hot until there are significant changes in conditions.
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com
Tony Ryan's Sarasota Bay CAL jig red caught and released with Capt. Rick Grassett.
Kirk Howell's Sarasota fly albie 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.