Hot Catch and Release Night Snook 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, caught and released snook, reds, trout, Spanish mackerel, pompano, blues, flounder, tripletail and albies (little tunny) during the past couple of weeks. We have had great fall weather this year, causing water temperature to fall slowly keeping migratory species around longer.
I spent a couple of days in the coastal gulf fly fishing for albies and tripletail. Steve Gibson, of Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing, and I went on a scouting mission on Monday, 12/12. Since I had a trip later in the week, I wanted to check conditions and see if the albies were still there. The water was still a little dirty from last week's front, but the bait and predators were there. We found lots of Spanish mackerel and they were easily caught with a fly. We only found one school of albies and Gibby caught one on his Albie Duster fly. We ran some crab trap lines hunting tripletail, found a couple and he caught one on the same fly.
Larry and Maritta Levenberg and their grandson Nati, from Sarasota, FL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Wednesday, 12/14. They caught and released pompano, flounder, ladyfish and trout on CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA Deadly Combos at Stephens Point.
Conditions were good on Friday, 12/16 when Doug Suddaby, from Sarasota, FL and Cary Ward, from Bradenton, FL, fished the coastal gulf with me. There were fewer mackerel and a lot more albies than earlier in the week. They were being picky, as they sometimes can be, but we were on fish most of the time. They caught and released 3 albies to 10-pounds on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly and they had a shot at a tripletail on the way back. Tripletail are a good option this time of year. It's a great sight fishing opportunity, but it will require covering some water to locate them. They are usually aggressive, pull hard and jump too!
Catch and release night snook fishing was on fire early last week! The best action was fly fishing for snook at night in the ICW near Venice. Snook gorged themselves on glass minnows around lighted docks and ate my Snook Minnow fly just as well. In addition, we also caught trout and reds around docks on the same fly.
Bruce McLean, from Sarasota and his son, Gray McLean, from Charlottesville, VA, fished the ICW near Venice with me on Monday evening, 12/19. They caught and released more than 15 snook to 23", 6 trout to 18" and 4 reds to 22" on my Grassett Snook Minnow fly. Not only did Gray catch his first snook on a fly, he also caught and released several slams!
The action got even better on Wednesday evening, 12/21, when Bill Rhodes from Hernando Beach, FL, fished the same area with me. The bite was so good at quitting time that we decided to turn it into a 6-hour trip. Bill also had a fly rod slam catching and releasing more than 40 snook to 23", 6 trout to 19" and a 22" red on my Snook Minnow fly! Exercise caution when snook fishing this time of year. I always using tackle and leaders heavy enough to land them quickly with minimal handling. If water temperatures plummet following a strong front, I won't fish for them at all until conditions stabilize.
Bill fished Sarasota Bay with me on Thursday morning, 12/22. The action was slow, but he managed to catch and release a couple of trout and a bluefish on a Hansen Glass Minnow fly near Whale Key. He fished a tandem fly rig with a smaller fly about 24" ahead of a larger fly on an intermediate shooting head fly line creating the illusion of schooling bait fish.
Jerry Roth, from Longwood, FL, fished Sarasota Bay with me on Friday morning, 12/23. Despite beautiful conditions it was slow to start. We had a negative low tide with good sunlight and mullet so thick you could walk on them, but we covered a lot of water before we scored. Jerry finished the day with 4 reds to 24" caught and released on a CAL jig with a shad tail near Buttonwood Harbor.
Negative low tides early next week as we head away from a new moon should concentrate reds and trout in potholes. Fish deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay for trout, blues, Spanish mackerel, pompano and flounder. As long as it stays mild, we should also have action with false albacore, Spanish mackerel and tripletail in the coastal gulf when conditions are good. Have a Merry Christmas!
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com
Bill Rhodes Sarasota night fly snook caught and released with Capt. Rick Grassett.
Cary Ward's Sarasota fly false albacore 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.