Hot Tarpon Action in Sarasota
Tarpon fishing in the coastal gulf along Sarasota beaches is still good. Fly anglers fishing 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 tarpon during the past couple of weeks. Although tarpon are thinning out and large schools have given way to singles doubles and small schools, they are aggressive.
Fly anglers fishing with me 4 days during the week of 7/10 had 9 bites and hooked or jumped 4 tarpon. Accuracy is very important when sight fishing for tarpon. The fly must be in the right place for the right fish for it to work. Happy fish are high in the water column and meandering as they travel. Fish that are deep in the water column or moving fast are tougher, but it may work if you get the fly down to them fast enough.
Palmetto, FL winter resident, Jerry Poslusny, and Jay Peck, a fly fishing guide from Spencerport, NY, tarpon fished with me on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 7/10, 11 and 12. They had 8 bites and hooked or jumped 4 of them. Jon Yenari, from Sarasota, FL, fished with me on Friday, 7/15. Sea conditions were rough that day, but the fish were there. He had more than 20 shots at tarpon and had one eat. There are many variables when it comes to fly fishing for tarpon. Even when everything else is right if the fly is in a boney part of the fish's mouth, it may jump off. The most fun is the bite and the fight!
One of the most exciting scenarios during the week of 7/18 was when tarpon corralled glass minnows into a bait ball and almost devoured the whole thing over a period of time as they repeatedly crashed through it gorging themselves on the fry. We had a couple of bites and jumped one tarpon out of the fray.
Sarasota winter resident, Mike Perez, fished a couple of days with me earlier that week and was joined by Dean Hanneman, from Sarasota, on Wednesday, 7/20. They had 3 bites and jumped 2 tarpon on flies. Dean fought one of the fish for more than 30 minutes and had the fish close to the boat before a knot in the fly line caused a break off.
Rusty Chinnis, from Longboat Key fished with me on Thursday and the action continued. We had 6 bites and jumped 3 fish. Tarpon were very aggressive that day, feeding on glass minnows and porpoising out of the water to eat our flies. Light conditions were poor and fish were deeper in the water column as we approached the end of the week and the action slowed on Friday and Saturday. We saw very few fish those days and didn't have many decent shots.
Tarpon action should continue next week as we approach the new moon on July 30th. Strong out going tides in the afternoon should be best. As the number of fish in the coastal gulf declines they will move to inside waters of Sarasota Bay, Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor where you may find them around bridges, on deep grass flats or in deep holes. Action should also be good in Sarasota Bay on shallow and deep grass flats for trout, reds, Spanish mackerel, bluefish and more. The best action on the flats will be early in the day before heat affects the action.
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com
Jay Peck's Sarasota fly tarpon jump caught with Capt. Rick Grassett.
Rusty Chinnis Sarasota fly tarpon jump caught with Capt. rick Grassett. www.rustychinnisimages.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.