Late Season Tarpon Rally in Sarasota
<p>Tarpon are thinning out in the coastal gulf off Sarasota although they got aggressive as we approached the new moon on July 30th. Fly anglers fishing the coastal gulf off Sarasota with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, jumped 5 tarpon and landed 2 to 75-lbs recently. However, tarpon action slowed during the past week as tides weakened as we headed away from the new moon, but we still averaged 5 or 6 shots at tarpon per trip. Fish were a little deeper in the water column, requiring quick casts to get the fly deep enough. We had several follows, a couple of bites and one brief hook up during the past week.
My brother, Kirk Grassett from Middletown, DE, and friend Nick Delle Donne, from Lancaster, PA, fished with me from 7/28 through 7/30. Rusty Chinnis, from Longboat Key, joined us to fish in his Hells Bay skiff on Thursday, 7/28 (2 boats). It was rough on Thursday due to a tropical wave that passed through on Wednesday, but despite that Nick jumped and landed a 90-lb tarpon on a fly with Rusty that day.
We fished Sarasota Bay near Whale Key on Friday and Saturday morning,7/29 and 30 where we caught and released trout to 17", a bluefish and a pompano on Clouser and Nick's Motion Minnow flies. Tarpon action heated up those days as the numbers of fish increased and they got aggressive. Kirk and Nick each jumped a tarpon on Friday, 7/29 and Nick fought his fish for about 40 minutes before the hook pulled close to the boat. The action reached a peak on Saturday, 7/30 as we jumped 3 fish and landed 2 of them, each about 75-lbs. Kirk jumped and landed a fish late in the day that almost broke us off while he cleared his fly line. The fly line grabbed a zinger pinned to his shirt, almost ripping his shirt off and then wrapped around his foot. After making it past those hurdles, he battled the fish in rough seas. Despite all that, the fish was alongside the boat and DNA sampled within about 30 minutes. A memorable fish!
In addition to tarpon, we also fished Sarasota Bay a couple of days during the past week where we caught and released trout to 17"on DOA Deadly Combos and Grassett Deep Flats Bunny flies. We focused on glass minnow schools at Stephens Point and near Whale Key and Bishop Point to find feeding fish. Due to very warm water in the bay, the best action was early in the day.
Tarpon numbers in the coastal gulf are dwindling as fish move to inside waters. In addition to the coastal gulf off Sarasota you may also catch them around bridges or find them feeding in bait schools in deeper areas of Sarasota Bay, Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor. Action should also be good on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay for trout, blues and more and around lighted docks and bridges close to passes and in the ICW for snook.
Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com
Kirk Grassett Sarasota fly tarpon jump
Capt. Rick Grassett with Kirk Grassett's Sarasota fly tarpon
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.